Carolina Law Climbs to No. 27 in the U.S. News & World Report

March 17, 2020

UNC School of Law moved up seven spots to No. 27 out of 194 law schools ranked in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 edition of “America’s Best Graduate Schools,” released on March 17.

Of the public university law schools listed in the top 50 schools as ranked by U.S. News, UNC School of Law is in the top 10.

In the specialty areas rankings, the law school’s Research, Reasoning, Writing and Advocacy (RRWA) program, now in its ninth year as a full-year, six-credit program, ranks No. 7 in legal writing, up 11 spots since the 2018 rankings.

Carolina Law also ranked strongly in seven specialty areas, making first time appearances in four areas*:

  • Legal Writing, tied for 7th (up one point)
  • Contracts-Commercial Law, tied for 18th*
  • Health Care Law, tied for 22nd (up five points)
  • Criminal Law, tied for 22nd*
  • Constitutional Law, tied for 25th*
  • Tax Law, tied for 26th
  • Business-Corporate Law, tied for 26th*

“Coming on top of last year’s 11 spot rankings rise, this year’s increase is largely attributable to Carolina Law’s excellent bar passage rates and outstanding employment numbers. We at Carolina Law are dedicated to ensuring that students are well prepared for the bar and have employment lined up before graduation,” says Dean Martin H. Brinkley ’92. “Our faculty and staff’s devotion to the success of our students is second to none. I’m also grateful for the financial support of North Carolina’s taxpayers, the leadership of UNC-Chapel Hill, and our generous donors. Everyone working together to sustain a preeminent public university law school will make UNC-Chapel Hill a stronger university across the board.”

According to U.S. News, Carolina Law held steady in reputation among law school peers and among lawyers and judges.

“Our reputational assessments have consistently named Carolina Law as one of the nation’s top 20-25 law schools,” says Brinkley. “This year, that consistent judgment is reflected in our overall ranking. We are pleased that the two are in alignment. This solidifies Carolina Law’s status as one of the great public law schools in the country.”

In other rankings news, named Carolina Law as one of the top 20 law schools with the highest bar pass rates in 2019. Carolina Law’s first-time bar pass rate of 92.5% propelled the school to rise to the top of the list of the 203 ABA-sanctioned law schools.

The National Law Journal also recently ranked the top “50 Go-To Law Schools” according to the percentage of the schools’ 2019 graduates who took associate jobs at the largest 100 firms in the country. Carolina Law moved up three spots to be ranked No. 28. Among 2019 grads, 17% went to large firms, which is up from 15% in 2018.

“Rankings are important to the school because they are important to people we care about – our alumni and prospective students,” says Andy Hessick, professor of law and associate dean for strategy. “A ranking in the 20s adds incredible value to all Carolina Law degrees. It helps us recruit top-performing students and faculty to strengthen our school and what we have to offer.  As we move forward, we will continue to identify areas where we can improve.”