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School of Law
University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill
Van Hecke-Wettach Hall
Van Hecke-Wettach Hall
Established 1845
Location Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Dean John ("Jack") Charles Boger

Coordinates: 35°54′31.08633″N 79°2′32.73056″W / 35.9086350917°N 79.0424251556°W / 35.9086350917; -79.0424251556

The University of North Carolina School of Law is a professional school within the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 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. 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.[1] At least 75% of each incoming class is from North Carolina, although roughly 75% of applications are from out-of-state.[2]



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.[3]


The 1999 addition to Van Hecke-Wettach Hall commonly referred to as the "Rotunda"

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.[4] 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.[5]

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:

  • Center for Banking and Finance - Lissa Broome, Director
  • Center for Civil Rights - Julius L. Chambers, Director. Charles Daye, Deputy Director
  • Center on Poverty, Work & Opportunity - Gene Nichol, Director.
  • Center for Law and Government - Michael J. Gerhardt, Director

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


  • 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[6] 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 Court justices (Parker, Martin, Edmunds, Newby, Timmons-Goodson, and Hudson), and a number of former and current U.S. Senators and Congressmen.


  • William Horn Battle, 1845-1868; 1877-1879 (as professor of law)
  • John Manning, Jr., 1881-1899 (as professor of law)
  • James Cameron MacRae, 1899-1909 (as dean)
  • Lucius Polk McGehee, 1910-1923 (as dean)
  • Merton Leroy Ferson, 1924-1926
  • Charles T. McCormick, 1927-1931
  • Maurice Taylor Van Hecke, 1931-1941
  • Robert Hasley Wettach, 1941-1949
  • Henry Brandis, Jr., 1949-1964[3]
  • James Dickson Phillips, Jr., 1964-1974
  • Robert Gray Byrd, 1974-1979
  • Kenneth S. Broun, 1979-1987[7]
  • Judith Welch Wegner, 1989-1999
  • Gene Nichol, 1999-2005
  • John "Jack" Charles Boger, 2006-


  1. ^ Student Body Profile (accessed 9 June 2008)
  2. ^ Application Process (accessed 3 September 2008)
  3. ^ a b Coates , Albert, The Story of the Law School of the University of North Carolina, North Carolina Law Review 47, Oct. 1968 Special Issue
  4. ^ Boger, John, From the Dean, Carolina Law Alumni News, Fall 2006
  5. ^ See announcement of Carolina Law relocation decisions at
  6. ^ Carolina Law Alumni Association (accessed 21 November 2006)
  7. ^ The University of North Carolina School of Law: A Sesquicentennial History, North Carolina Law Review 73.


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