Carolina Law Jumps to No. 24 in the U.S. News & World Report

March 30, 2021

UNC School of Law cracks the Top 25 ranked law schools this year. Carolina Law moved up three spots to No. 24 out of 193 law schools ranked in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 edition of “America’s Best Graduate Schools,” released on March 30.

Over the last three years, Carolina Law has jumped 21 spots to land in the Top 25 law schools.  Of the public university law schools listed in the top 50 schools as ranked by U.S. News, Carolina Law is No. 8.

In the specialty areas rankings, the law school’s Research, Reasoning, Writing and Advocacy (RRWA) program, now in its tenth year as a full-year, six-credit program, ranks No. 9 in legal writing.

Infographic says: UNC School of Law is 2022 Best Law Schools, number 24, US News & World Report. Number 8 in public law schools.

Carolina Law also ranked in the Top 25 of four additional specialty areas:

  • Contracts-Commercial Law, tied for 18th
  • Criminal Law, tied for 18th (up four points)
  • Constitutional Law, tied for 20th (up five points)
  • Tax Law, tied for 25th (up one point)

Carolina Law has consistently held steady in reputation among law school peers and among lawyers and judges. This year, Carolina Law’s peer assessment went up a point to be ranked No. 23 among faculty at all law schools. Carolina Law’s reputation among lawyers and judges continues to be ranked No. 21.

“Becoming a Top 25 ranked law school is not possible without the unwavering support from our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Our excellent bar passage results and our outstanding employment numbers are another reason we have ranked so highly and that is a group effort,” says Dean Martin H. Brinkley ’92. “We owe a lot of gratitude for the financial support we have received from our generous donors, North Carolina’s taxpayers, and the leadership of UNC-Chapel Hill. We have such talent at our law school and are we are honored to prepare the next generation of lawyers.”

Carolina Law’s bar passage rate for first time test takers in July 2019 was 93.9%. Carolina Law was number one for overall bar passage rate among North Carolina law schools. For the Class of 2019, Carolina Law’s employment rate was 91.3% ten months after graduation.

In other rankings news, members of Carolina Law’s Black Law Students Association (BLSA) led the nation in calling on the management of U.S. News to revise its law school ranking methodology to include criteria that measure racial diversity in law schools in September of 2020. The lack of diversity of students and faculty in law schools has long been an issue for the legal profession. In an extraordinary collaboration that testifies to the strength of the Carolina Law community, Dean Brinkley, dedicated alumni, faculty members, and concerned members of the community had the privilege of supporting BLSA leaders in this cause. U.S. News replied in October stating the organization agreed that racial diversity is important.

For the rankings this year, diversity was to be included in the rankings. For the first time, the “Most Diverse Law Schools” ranking was to be based on the percentage of a law school’s enrollment who are underrepresented minorities: Black, Hispanic, Native American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander. After 162 law school deans requested a revision to the diversity ranking to include Asian students and multiracial students, U.S. News postponed the diversity ranking.

“The leadership of BLSA saw racial disparities in higher education and in the law profession. They spoke up and showed that our law school shouldn’t have to choose between having a diverse student body or a high ranking,” says Brinkley. “In their letter to U.S. News, our students said that excellence and diversity are not in conflict and that diversity is a quality of excellence. They are right. Increasing diversity at Carolina Law is a high priority for us. We know there is much work to be done and we are up to the task.”