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The University of North Carolina School of Law

published July 25, 2011

By CEO and Founder - BCG Attorney Search left
( 250 votes, average: 4 out of 5)
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The University of North Carolina School of Law at Chapel Hill offers its students open study spaces, high-technology classrooms, enlarged library facilities, clinical teaching venues, writing laboratories, and placement operations. The classes as well as faculty-student ratios are small, which facilitates innovative and disparate educational opportunities. The student body is considered to be highly credentialed and intellectually diverse. The law school is known for its civil rights, banking, intellectual property, entrepreneurial and securities law, critical studies, bankruptcy, and constitutional inquiry offerings. It has a strong alumni network, and its pro bono efforts have achieved national distinction.

The University of North Carolina School of Law takes seriously the obligations of public education. Accordingly, commitments to access and equality reside at its core. Its new series of externship and clinical programs provides practical experience essential to rigorous professional training. Its curriculum provides students with the courses required for a Juris Doctorate degree as well as several dual-degree programs.

Partnerships with Duke University School of Law and North Carolina Central University School of Law make it possible for UNC law students to take the classes they want if they are not offered here.

The Kathrine R. Everett Law Library houses a rich collection of law and law-related materials to support the research and teaching of the law school community. The library is also open to lawyers and other members of the public. There is also a rich and growing collection of legal information available online.

Student-Faculty Ratio 14.7:1

Admission Criteria

25th-75th Percentile 161-165 3.33-3.69
Median 163 3.51

The above LSAT and GPA data pertain to the fall 2011 entering class.

Medians have been calculated by averaging the 25th- and 75th-percentile values released by the law schools and have been rounded up to the nearest whole number for LSAT scores and to the nearest one-hundredth for GPAs.

Admission Statistics

Approximate number of applications 2,576
Number accepted 462
Percentage accepted 17.9%

The above admission details are based on fall 2011 data.

Class Ranking and Grades

The law school does not provide class ranks for individual students, with the exception of the top 10 students in each class. Students and employers will receive information about the grade-point-average cutoffs for the top 10 percent, top third and top half of each class, however.

The University of North Carolina School of Law uses the following grading scale:

A 4.0
A- 3.7
B+ 3.3
B 3.0
B- 2.7
C+ 2.3
C 2.0
C- 1.7
D+ 1.3
D 1.0

An A+ (4.3) may be awarded in exceptional situations. There is no D-. A failing grade is F (0.0).


Faculty members may award a grade of “Incomplete” (designated “IN” on a transcript) in instances in which they believe the award of such a grade is warranted. Incompletes should generally be cleared by the end of the semester following the semester in which a grade of Incomplete is awarded.

Pass/Fail Courses

Some courses are designated as Pass/Fail courses. Students may not change a graded course to a Pass/Fail course.

Grade normalization (Curve)

First-Year Curve

First-year classes (other than first-year research and writing classes) are subject to a mandatory curve. The curve has two aspects: a distributional requirement and a mean requirement. The distributional requirement does not apply to first year small sections, although grading in small sections must still meet the mean requirement.

Distribution Requirement

Percent Grade
35% (31-39%) A,A-
55% (51-59%) B+,B,B-
10% (6-14%) C,C+

A deviation of 4% is permitted in each letter grade category. A grade of A+ is considered part of the 35% of grades to be awarded in the A to A- range. Grades below C will be considered part of the 10% of grades to be awarded in the C+ to C range.

The mean requirement for the first-year courses is 3.25 with a permissible range of 3.2 to 3.3. A grade below a C is considered a 2.0 for purposes of determining the required mean.

An A+ is counted based on its actual value (4.3) for determining the required mean.

Upper-Class Mean

In each upper-class course, the mean GPA should fall within a relatively narrow target band. The mean GPAs should vary by no more than 0.1 from one class to another in order to ensure fair treatment of all students.

In small-enrollment upper-class courses (fifteen or fewer students), a variance of 0.3 is permitted. In upper-class writing courses (WE or RWE), the mean GPA is somewhat higher, and a variance of 0.2 is permitted. The bands for upper-level offerings are as follows:

Type of Class Target Band
Courses (Small-15 or fewer students) 3.1-3.4 mean GPA
Courses (Larger-more than 15 students) 3.2-3.3 mean GPA
RWEs and WEs 3.4-3.6 mean GPA

A ratcheting system for upper-class courses is used (upwards or downwards) if the overall mean GPA of enrolled students in the course (prior to enrolling for the course) is higher or lower than the mean GPA for upper-class students.

An annual cumulative grade point average of 2.20 is required to continue in the law school at the end of the first year, and a cumulative GPA of 2.25 is required to continue after the second year and to graduate.


Honor Criteria
Order of the Coif Top 10%
Highest Honors GPA of 3.9 or higher
High Honors Top 10%
Honors Top one-third
Dean’s List Top 50% of the class in any semester


Name of Award Description
Order of Barristers Membership offered for outstanding achievement in moot court service
James E. and Carolyn B. Davis Society Membership offered to 3L students for excellence in academics, leadership, and other areas
Block Improvement Award Awarded to the 3L student who has demonstrated the most improvement since his or her first year
William T. Joyner Awards Awarded to 3L students for excellence in law journal writing
James W. Morrow III Award Awarded to 2L and 3L students for outstanding service to the Holderness Moot Court Bench
Certificate of Merit Awarded for the highest grade in each course
Pro Bono Publico Awards Awarded for the outstanding pro bono service of students, student groups, and faculty


The North Carolina Law Review, is a student-edited journal. It publishes the scholarship of judges, attorneys, scholars, and students. Through its collaboration with the legal community, the law review provides timely and thought-provoking commentary for people of North Carolina and the country. In addition, the law review trains its members in intensive legal research, analysis, and writing, thereby preparing them for the rigors of legal practice and public service.

The North Carolina Banking Institute Journal is a student-edited legal journal. Its annual volume is published in the spring in conjunction with the Annual Banking Institute CLE Program. It publishes the most current and practical topics related to the banking industry and welcomes articles, notes, and comments from all segments of the banking community.

The North Carolina Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation publishes issues on international law and commerce and provides practical information in the area of international law, international trade, and commercial regulation. Published three times per year, it features articles, comments, case notes, recent developments, and book reviews by students, professors, and practitioners. In order to foster discussion of international legal issues, the journal also hosts an annual symposium that brings together the legal community for academic and public discourse on an important issue in international law.

The North Carolina Journal of Law & Technology is a student-edited journal. It focuses on the many intersections between law and technology. The journal is a forum for the publication and exchange of ideas and information about the relationships between law, science, and technology. It covers the issues in intellectual property, science, cyberspace, environmental law, criminal law, etc. It publishes two print issues each year, at the conclusion of the fall and spring academic semesters. Its Online Edition is published on a rolling basis throughout the academic year.

The First Amendment Law Review is a student-edited legal journal that seeks to promote and protect the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States through publishing scholarly writings on and promoting discussion of issues related to the First Amendment. It publishes professional and student articles for the benefit of scholars and practitioners. Its professional contributions include scholarly articles, symposium papers, and novel, interesting essays on a variety of issues touching the First Amendment. Its student contributions include scholarly examinations of discrete First Amendment topics and recent developments in First Amendment law.

Moot Court

The Holderness Moot Court Bench at the University of North Carolina School of Law gives law students the opportunity to develop practical skills in legal research and writing, client counseling, appellate oral advocacy, and negotiation. The bench primarily advances these goals through sponsoring teams that participate in competitions held throughout the United States.

The Holderness Moot Court Bench also coordinates the J. Braxton Craven Memorial Moot Court Competition. Students can become members of Holderness Moot Court via the William B. Aycock Intraschool Moot Court Competition, which is now held in the spring semester of their 1L year. Prospective members may be selected for membership on one of seven competition teams: the National Team, the Negotiation Team, the Client Counseling Team, the Invitational Team, the International Team, the Environmental Appellate Advocacy Team, and the Environmental Negotiation Team.

Clinical Programs

The University of North Carolina School of Law offers the following clinical programs:

The Civil Legal Assistance Clinic, a two-semester clinic in which third-year students represent low-income clients in a variety of civil matters, including but not limited to landlord/tenant and other housing law issues; family law cases, including domestic violence cases; and unemployment benefits, consumer law, and public benefits issues. The Civil Legal Assistance Clinic also works with the University of North Carolina School of Law’s Center for Civil Rights and other statewide and national legal advocacy organizations on complex litigation in state and federal courts regarding a broad range of matters involving civil rights.

The Juvenile Justice Clinic, in which third-year students represent children accused of crimes. Cases are assigned to individual students who research, draft, and prepare witness examinations as well as arguments. Pre-trial and pre-sentencing investigations are also conducted wherein regular contact with the client is maintained. Students in this clinic appear in court and also handle appellate matters. This is a one or two-semester clinic.

The Community Development Law Clinic, in which third-year students provide corporate and transactional counsel to North Carolina nonprofit community development organizations. The clinic helps students develop skills in corporate and transactional law and allows them to serve the legal needs of under-resourced communities in North Carolina. This is a two-semester clinic.

The Immigration/Human Rights Policy Clinic, in which students represent clients in immigration cases and work on legal projects addressing human rights initiatives. Working in teams of two or three, the students prepare claims and advocate on behalf of immigrant clients, including refugees applying for asylum, battered immigrants applying for Violence Against Women Act relief, immigrants eligible for U (crime victim) visas, immigrants eligible for T (trafficking) visas, and immigrants with claims to US citizenship and other claims for permanent residency status. This is a two-semester clinic.

Placement Facts

Starting Salaries (2010 Graduates employed Full-Time)

Private sector (25th-75th percentile) $71,000-$141,250
Median in the private sector $107,500
Median in public service $55,000

Employment Details

Graduates known to be employed at graduation 51.,9%
Graduates known to be employed nine months after graduation 84.9%

Areas of Legal Practice

Graduates employed In Percentage
Law Firms 48.8%
Business and Industry 13.3%
Government 10.3%
Public Interest Organizations 10.3%
Judicial Clerkships 15.3%
Academia 1.5%
Unknown 0.5%



At the University of North Carolina School of Law, third-year law students, as well as second-year law students in their spring semester, can receive three units of academic credit for working in an approved externship placement for approximately 10 to 11 hours per week during a 14-week semester. Judges at the federal and state levels and lawyers from government agencies, public interest groups, and corporate counsel offices serve as mentors and on-site supervisors for students. The law school’s externship program directors serve as the students’ faculty supervisors, guiding and facilitating their exploration of their externship experience through tutorials, journal writing, and group discussion.

The Summer Program offers 50 placements, both at judicial and non-judicial sites. First- and second-year students interested in summer placement earn 5 credits during the session and are on-site 32 hours per week.

The law school also offers a limited number of opportunities to spend the fall semester of their third year in law school as a full-time (40 hours per week) extern with a select number of sites in Washington, DC, Chapel Hill, Asheville or New York City. Full-semester placements receive 12 credit hours for completion of the program.


World Intellectual Property organization Internship - The law school offers internship programs and creates opportunities for students to use their intellectual property skills to serve the public interest.

Berkman Summer Internship Program - Each summer the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University offers an internship program for ten weeks. Internships are open to students enrolled across the spectrum of disciplines and do not have to be affiliated with Harvard University.

Public Knowledge offers unpaid internships during the school year and summer to students studying either law or public policy.

Other internship programs offered by the law school:

  • EFF - Electronic Frontier Foundation Internships
  • Ilene B. Nelson Internship
  • National Association of Record Industry Professionals - Music Industry Intern
  • Summer Internship Program offered by Academy of Television Arts & Sciences

The Gibson Desaulniers Smith Public Interest Internship

Student organizations

  • The American Civil Liberties Union
  • The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy
  • The Asian American Law Students Association
  • The Attorney General Staff
  • The Black Law Students Association
  • Broun National Trial Team
  • The Carolina intellectual property Law Association
  • The Carolina Law Ambassadors
  • The Carolina Public Interest Law Organization
  • Carolina Street Law
  • The Carolina Teen Court Assistance Program
  • Child Action
  • The Christian Legal Society
  • The Center for Civil rights- Civil Rights Appellate Advocacy Team
  • The Community Legal Project
  • The Conference on Race, Class, Gender, and Ethnicity
  • The Death Penalty Project
  • The Disability Law Organization
  • The Domestic Violence Advocacy Project
  • Education Law and Policy Society
  • The Environmental Law Project
  • The Federalist Society
  • First Amendment Law Review
  • The Hispanic/Latino Law Students Association
  • Holderness Moot Court
  • The Honor Court
  • The Immigration Law Association
  • The Innocence Project
  • International Law Organization
  • The Jewish Law Association
  • The Lambda Law Students Association
  • The Latino Legal initiative
  • Law Students for Reproductive Justice
  • The National Lawyers Guild
  • The Native American Law Students Association
  • The North Carolina Banking Institute Journal
  • The North Carolina Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation
  • The North Carolina Journal of Law & Technology
  • The North Carolina Law Review
  • Parents Active As Law Students
  • The Phi Alpha delta Law Fraternity
  • The Sports and Entertainment Law Association
  • The Student Bar Association
  • Volunteer income Tax Assistance
  • Women in Law



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