Cornerstone Club

Providing Foundational Support for Carolina Law

By committing to support the law school at the $10,000-level annually, Cornerstone Club members have an immediate and direct transformative impact on students, faculty and leadership at Carolina Law.

Impact on Students

  • Roughly half of Carolina Law students receive scholarships, and the average scholarship award is approximately $10,000. This means one gift at the Cornerstone Club-level can provide a scholarship to a deserving student who otherwise would not have one. It is imperative that we continue to increase our scholarship offerings to remain competitive with our peer law schools, as we lag in this category currently.
  • In recent years, unpaid and underpaid internships have become increasingly common. Bolstering scholarships enables students to take summer positions based on their interests, not their debt.
  • Increased scholarship support attracts more competitive applicants, which can raise the average LSAT score and GPAs of our student body. This, in turn, improves Carolina Law’s standing in national rankings, which enhances the post-graduation employment prospects for current students and strengthens the reputation of the Carolina Law degree for alumni.

Impact on Faculty

  • Increased unrestricted funds provide the dean with the flexibility to retain talented, sought-after junior faculty that are frequently recruited by peer institutions.
  • With increased support, faculty have the means to travel to and present at conferences, further establishing themselves as leaders in the academic community on the national and global stage.
  • Increased support ensures that faculty can conduct the rigorous research that keeps Carolina Law at the forefront of legal scholarship.

Impact on Leadership

  • Lowering debt allows students greater freedom to pursue careers as leaders in service to the state of North Carolina, as well as in other communities where they settle throughout the nation and world.
  • Increased summer grant funding and experiential learning opportunities offer students more chances to work with, and be mentored by, local lawyer-leaders.
  • Cornerstone Club members have taken a leading role in ensuring an exceptional, accessible legal education for Carolina Law students. Modeling philanthropic leadership is critical in training the next generation of lawyer-leaders.

What is the Cornerstone Club?

The “Cornerstone” in Cornerstone Club symbolizes the birth of the first national public University. More specifically, it references the laying of the Cornerstone of Old East on October 12, 1793, the University’s first building to be constructed.

The Cornerstone Club’s mission is to continue this tradition by ensuring Carolina Law remains truly great, and truly public. The Cornerstone Club provides critical funding to the dean to address Carolina Law’s most immediate needs and highest funding priorities.

Why Carolina Law?

Carolina Law prepares outstanding lawyers and leaders for the bar, the bench, all public and private law settings and public service. We are also producing community leaders who are serving on the boards of non-profits, on town councils, on committees within churches and schools. Carolina Law produces the glue that binds communities together. 

North Carolina is a state that’s always relied on lawyer-leaders, and the vast majority of them have come from Carolina Law – whether in private practice, serving in the legislature, helping build the economy, prosecuting lawbreakers in the courtroom, defending the innocent, or advocating for changes that make the world a fairer, better place for everyone.

Why now?

Carolina Law’s tuition has gone up 78% since 2009. Our median student debt is approximately $100,000. We can’t continue to rely on tuition revenue and public support as we have in the past. We must increase the success of our annual fund through private donations. These unrestricted dollars fund the scholarships we need to attract and recruit talented future Tar Heel lawyers.

Our future lawyer-leaders should not be making decisions that aren’t in their long-term interests just because of money.

Why $10,000?

We can support the ongoing excellence that is synonymous with a Carolina Law legal education. With $10,000, we can transform the life of a student and enhance the impact of a professor. With $10,000, we can increase scholarship amounts, create new experiential learning opportunities and provide the career development resources needed to attract the nation’s most promising students and faculty. Carolina Law has a proud tradition of offering a superb legal education at far lower cost than other national prominent law schools. This is a great challenge at a time of diminishing state support. 

In 2018, Carolina Law Annual Fund surpassed $1.4 million for the first time in the school’s history. We need to continue to build on that momentum.

How can I make a gift?

Gifts can be made between July 1 and June 30, by check, monthly bank or credit card draft, or stock transfer for inclusion in this year’s totals. Couples’ gifts can be combined, and corporate matching gifts may also be included. 

Members may structure their gifts in a variety of ways. Unrestricted support is currently the most critical need at UNC School of Law. These gifts will help the dean fund his top priorities, while simultaneously growing the endowment as a part of the University’s overall campaign. Members may also choose to designate their gift to a specific fund if that is preferable.

Next Steps

Please give serious consideration to this level of commitment. If you want to make a difference at your law school, contact the Office of Advancement.


Cornerstone Club members are invited to a May celebratory weekend hosted by Martin and Carol Brinkley. Invitations are extended in March.