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The University of North Carolina School of Law is a professional school within the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hillmarker. Established in 1845, Carolina Law is among the oldest law schools in the nation and is the oldest law school in North Carolina. It is consistently ranked in the top-tier of law schools, and its 2010 US News and World Report ranking is 30th.

With an average J.D. class size of 235, the law school has just over 700 students at any time, and retains a student-faculty ratio of 16.9 to 1. Attracted by the school's reputation and its affordable in-state tuition, admissions are highly competitive. For the Fall 2009 entering class, only 15.4% of applicants were accepted, with a median LSAT score of 162 and a median GPA of 3.60. Minorities represent 30% of the entering class, and over half of the class is female. At least 75% of each incoming class is from North Carolina, although roughly 75% of applications are from out-of-state.


Following discussion in the North Carolina legal community, on December 12, 1842, the Trustees of the University of North Carolina authorized the University President, David L. Swain, to review and establish a law professorship. In 1845, William Battle Horn was named the first professor of law, and legal instruction began at the university. In the years following, assistant professors and later an organized faculty and law library were added. The school began taking on much of the character of a modern law school in the 1920s, after the American Bar Association first published guidelines for schools. University President Harry Woodburn Chase was instrumental in leading the efforts for this reorganization over notable opposition, including the governor of North Carolina.


The law school is currently located in Van Hecke-Wettach Hall, towards the southeastern side of the Chapel Hill campus, neighboring the School of Government and several athletic facilities. Opened in 1968 and renovated in 1999, the facilities are nevertheless often regarded as too small for the ever-growing programs of the school. The school is, as of fall 2006, studying an expansion of roughly 40,000 sq ft, that may include a second courtroom, a larger gathering space, small classrooms, and added office space. Additionally, the school is pursuing a move to the new Carolina North satellite campus, several miles away. As of spring 2008, the school has decided to relocate to the new Carolina North satellite campus. The new facility could be complete as early as the fall of 2012.

Van Hecke-Wettach Hall includes the Kathrine R. Everett Law Library, located primarily on four floors on the back side of the building.

Centers and initiatives

The UNC School of Law is home to several centers that focus on issues of state and national interest:

Additionally, in the fall 2007 semester, the faculty approved an Intellectual Property Center, which will be organized in the coming months.


  • Community Development Law Clinic: third year law students counsel large and small nonprofit and community development organizations.
  • Civil Clinic: third year law students represent indigent clients in civil matters.
  • Juvenile Justice Clinic: third year law students defend and represent juvenile defendants.
  • Immigration Law and Policy Clinic

Law journals

The school is home to five student-edited law journals. The oldest, the North Carolina Law Review, was founded in 1922. This journal features an annual North Carolina issue reviewing developments in the state's law.

Notable alumni

The more than 9,300 alumni of the school have gone on to many notable roles, including countless government offices in North Carolina. Among these are several recent NC governors (Hunt, Holshouser, Moore, and Sanford), the current Speaker of the NC House, Joe Hackney, and (as of the 2007 term) six of the seven North Carolina Supreme Courtmarker justices (Parker, Martin, Edmunds, Newby, Timmons-Goodson, and Hudson).

Former United States senator and vice-presidential nominee John Edwards is an alumnus and former member of the faculty, and his wife Elizabeth Edwards is also an alumna. Former White House counsel to George H.W. Bush and current Special Envoy for European Affairs C. Boyden Gray graduated in 1968.



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