Ruth Ann McKinney

Clinical Professor of Law, Emerita

Areas of Expertise

  • Academic Support
  • Legal Education
  • Legal Writing


Ruth Ann McKinney is an Emeritus Clinical Professor of Law and former Assistant Dean at the University of North Carolina School of Law where she directed the first-year legal research and writing program and the academic success program for more than twenty years. Her primary academic interests include exploring the connections between proficiency in critical reading and writing skills, self-efficacy beliefs, and success in law school. Professor McKinney is the author of Legal Research: A Practical Guide & Self-Instructional Workbook (West 5th ed. 2008), and Reading Like a Lawyer (CAP 2d ed. 2012), and she is the original senior editor of the national Law School Academic Support Professional website, Professor McKinney co-authored Core Grammar for Lawyers (CAP 4th ed. 2019) and Core Grammar for College (CAP 2013). Professor McKinney received the 2014 Section Award from the ASP Section of the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) and the Outstanding Service Award from the UNC Law Faculty in 2012. Professor McKinney earned her J.D. from UNC-Chapel Hill where she was a member of the Order of the Coif, her M.Ed. in Guidance & Counseling from UNC-Chapel Hill, and her B.A. from Duke University with high honors. After graduating from UNC School of Law, she clerked for the Honorable Harry C. Martin at the N.C. Supreme Court and practiced law at Maxwell & Hutson in Durham, NC.


  • J.D. (honors, Order of the Coif), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1988)
  • M.Ed., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1976)
  • B.A. (magna cum laude), Duke University (1972)

Selected Publications

CORE GRAMMAR FOR COLLEGE (Carolina Academic Press, 2013).
Document Link

CORE GRAMMAR FOR LAWYERS (Carolina Academic Press, 2011).
Document Link

KF240 .M35 2008

How To Read Law Like an Expert: Save Time and Improve Your Understanding By Picking Up on Valuable Clues from Your Casebook and Other Sources, STUDENT LAW., Sept. 2006, at 36.

READING LIKE A LAWYER (Carolina Academic Press 2005) (with Teacher's Manual).
KF283 .M398 2005

Depression and Anxiety in Law Students: Are We Part of the Problem and Can We Be Part of the Solution?, 8 J. LEG. WRITING INST. 229 (2002).
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