Nathan M. Crystal is a scholar and a practicing attorney. He has advised individuals and entities, including major law firms, on matters of contract law and professional ethics and has lectured throughout the world on these subjects. He frequently serves as expert witness or consultant in multimillion dollar cases.

Nathan Crystal is a Distinguished Research Scholar at the Charleston Law School. He taught for 32 years at the University of South Carolina School of Law until he retired in 2008. On his retirement from South Carolina he was named the Distinguished Class of 1969 Professor of Professional Responsibility and Contract Law Emeritus. Professor Crystal concentrates in the areas of professional responsibility and contract law.

He has been a member of the South Carolina Bar Ethics Advisory Committee for more than 20 years and served as chair of the Committee from 2002-2003. Professor Crystal was associate dean of the USC Law School from 1987-1992 and director of its Center on the Legal Profession from 1991-1999. He has held visiting appointments and lectureships at Arkansas (Little Rock), Florida State, Hastings, Indiana (Indianapolis), Luiss (Rome), Scuola Superiore Santa’Anna (Pisa), Suffolk, Sydney (Parsons Visiting Scholar), Nankai University, Tianjin, China.

He has consulted on matters of Contracts and Professional Responsibility for almost 40 years.
In 2011, he co-founded, together with Francesca Giannoni-Crystal, Crystal & Giannoni-Crystal LLC.

He holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton School), Emory Law School where he was second in his class and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Public Law (now the Emory Law Review). He has a LLM degree from Harvard Law School.


Professor Crystal is the author or coauthor of four books, three on legal ethics and one on contract law:

  • Professional Responsibility – Problems of Practice and the Profession (Aspen Law & Business 5th ed. 2011)
  • An Introduction to Professional Responsibility (Aspen Law & Business 1998)
  • Annotated South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct (S.C. Bar 2010 ed.) (with Robert M. Wilcox)
  • Problems in Contract Law: Cases and Materials (with Charles Knapp and Harry G. Prince) (7th ed. 2012)

His books on contracts and ethics are widely adopted by law schools around the US.

In addition to his books, Professor Crystal has published numerous articles in scholarly journals, including the Akron Law Review, Fordham Law Review, Global Jurist, Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, Illinois Law Review, Kansas Law Review, Kentucky Law Journal, Mercer Law Review, Notre Dame Journal of Law Ethics and Public Policy, NYU Annual Survey of American Law, Saint Mary’s Law Journal, Saint Louis Law Journal, South Carolina Law Review, Wake Forest Law Review, and Washington Law Review. He authors a bimonthly column, “Ethics Watch,” for the South Carolina Lawyer. Among his publications on ethics & technology:


Professor Crystal lectures frequently on matters of professional ethics to national, regional, and local organizations, including the American Bar Association and the United States Justice Department. Among Professor Crystal’s presentations are the following:

  • “Clawback Agreements”, panel “Ethical Challenges in E-Discovery: Passwords, Privilege, Profiles, & Beyond”, inside the symposium “The Practice of Law in the 21st Century: The Intersection of Law & Technology”,, February 28 & March 1, 2013
  • “Ethics & Technology in the Practice of Law”, organized by the Charleston County Bar Association, Charleston Music Hall, February 1, 2013
  • “Confidentiality & Technology”, video CLE for the SC Bar, January 2012

Award and Recognitions

In August 2014, Nathan Crystal was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2015 in the fields of Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law.

In March 2014, Nathan Crystal awarded Leadership in Law by SC Lawyers Weekly, which honors those in the SC legal community who have achieved success in their law practice, made contributions to society and had an important impact on the legal industry.