Law schools are constantly battling the myth that law school applications are down each year.
For Carolina Law, this simply isn’t true. And we have the numbers to prove it.
“The Class of 2023 is one of the strongest classes Carolina Law has seen in years,” says Martin H. Brinkley ’92, dean and Arch T. Allen Distinguished Professor of Law. “We have an amazing group of students from a variety of backgrounds including military, engineering and science. They have brought their life experiences and passion for the law with them and are experiencing a first year of law school like no other class has in 175 years.”
This year, UNC School of Law received 1,767 applications, an increase of 36.7% from last year. The median LSAT score was 163 and the median GPA was 3.68, both increases from the previous year.
Other increases include the number of Chancellors Scholars, non-residents, women and students of color. Available scholarship funding increased from $2.2 million in 2019 to $2.8 million in 2020.
The members of the 1L class range in age from 20 to 42, come from 87 undergraduate institutions, 26 states and Washington, D.C.
In August, Carolina Law welcomed 182 members of the Class of 2023 via the school’s first virtual orientation. Following just a week of in-person classes, the law school transitioned to remote learning due to COVID-19.
Recruiting an incoming class during a pandemic while classes were being taught remotely is no easy task. LSAT testing was delayed or cancelled, there were no school visits, no admitted students days and no traveling to recruitment events.
“Carolina Law is fortunate that our reputation and ranking allows us to attract smart, ambitious students who want to be at Carolina because of our public mission, our incredible faculty and the experiential opportunities we can offer students,” says Bianca Mack, assistant dean for admissions. “
Even with these challenges, Mack and her team were able to remotely connect with admitted students and advise them on their path forward at Carolina Law.
“We were able to conduct virtual Q & A sessions where students could ask questions and get the reassurance that even during a pandemic, a legal education is a good investment,” says Kelly Podger Smith ’02, associate dean for student affairs. “Even without a pandemic, we saw a year marked by civil and racial unrest which I’m sure inspired prospective students to apply.”
Although law school looks different this year, the Class of 2023 is in good company. Carolina Law’s 2020 graduates ranked No. 1 in the state with a 96% July North Carolina bar exam passage rate. Carolina Law’s 2019 graduates had 91.2% of the class employed in full-time, long-term jobs dispelling another myth that there are too many lawyers and not enough jobs.
“The world needs good, ethical advocates of justice right now,” says Brinkley. “Carolina Law excels in training lawyer-leaders who then serve in many different capacities in their communities. I’m extremely proud of our admissions staff for recruiting the next generation of these lawyer-leaders.”
Visit the class profile (PDF) for more details.