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Best Law Schools in North Carolina

by Brown University
September 9, 2023
8 min read
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North Carolina is home to a diverse legal community, with opportunities for legal professionals ranging from corporate law in the bustling city of Charlotte to environmental law in the picturesque Appalachian Mountains. When it comes to pursuing a legal education, North Carolina's law schools reflect this diversity, offering a wide range of programs and specializations to meet the needs of aspiring lawyers.

In this article from, we'll explore the best law schools in NC, providing insights into each school's strengths, programs, and unique attributes. Whether you're an undergraduate student considering a J.D. program or a law school graduate seeking specialized legal education, this guide will help you make an informed decision about which North Carolina law schools should make it onto your school list.

Attending law school in any state is a significant financial investment, and North Carolina law schools are no exception. Most aspiring lawyers take on massive student loans to finance their legal education. Applying for scholarships for law students is one way to reduce the financial burden of attending law school.

Law school scholarships on award thousands of dollars to future lawyers each month. Create a free profile to start browsing and applying to hundreds of exclusive scholarships as you continue your law school application journey.

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Best Law Schools in North Carolina

Duke University School of Law - Durham, NC

Duke University School of Law, often referred to as Duke Law, consistently ranks among the top law schools in the United States. Known for its rigorous academic programs, prestigious faculty, and commitment to interdisciplinary studies, Duke Law attracts students from around the world who aspire to excel in the legal profession.

Duke University School of Law's commitment to academic excellence is evidenced in its distinguished faculty and small class sizes, which foster an intimate and intellectually stimulating learning environment. The faculty lineup includes numerous renowned legal scholars, practitioners, and experts in various fields of law who provide students with comprehensive and up-to-date legal education.

Duke Law's curriculum emphasizes the theoretical foundations and practical applications of the law. Students can explore a wide range of legal subjects. They can also choose from various specialized courses and concentrations to personalize their education, including corporate law, environmental law, and international law. This breadth of options allows students to tailor their education to their specific interests and career goals.

Duke Law offers a range of dual-degree programs that allow law students to earn both a Juris Doctor (J.D.) and another advanced degree simultaneously. Popular joint degree programs include the J.D./M.B.A. (Master of Business Administration) program, the J.D./M.P.P. (Master of Public Policy) program, and the J.D./L.L.M. (Master of Laws) program.

One of Duke Law's standout features is its commitment to interdisciplinary studies. Law school students at Duke have the unique opportunity to collaborate with other schools within Duke University, including the prestigious Fuqua School of Business and Sanford School of Public Policy. This interdisciplinary approach to legal education equips Duke's law students with a broader perspective on the legal field and diverse skills to tackle complex legal issues.

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University of North Carolina School of Law - Chapel Hill, NC

The University of North Carolina School of Law, commonly known as UNC School of Law, boasts a rich history as one of the oldest public law schools in the United States. Located in the picturesque town of Chapel Hill, the law school is known for its outstanding faculty and robust clinical program that provides hands-on legal experience to its graduates. Law students at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill benefit from a curriculum that combines longstanding legal tradition with innovation, providing students with a comprehensive legal education that prepares them for a wide range of careers.

One of the hallmarks of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Law is its strong commitment to experiential learning. The school offers diverse clinical programs that allow law students to gain hands-on legal experience while providing valuable services to the community. Whether students are interested in civil litigation, entrepreneurship, immigration law, or environmental advocacy, a clinical opportunity at UNC suits their interests.

UNC School of Law also significantly emphasizes public interest and pro bono work. The Pro Bono Program allows students to engage in meaningful community service and public interest projects throughout the state, fostering a spirit of social responsibility and civic engagement.

Moreover, the law school offers a broad spectrum of concentrations and specialized programs, enabling students to tailor their education to their specific interests and career aspirations. Whether it's environmental law, intellectual property, health law, or civil rights advocacy, law students at UNC Chapel Hill can delve deep into their chosen field and gain expertise before graduating.

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North Carolina Central University School of Law - Durham, NC

North Carolina Central University School of Law (NCCU Law) is another distinguished legal institution committed to promoting diversity and providing access to legal education. As one of the historically black law schools in the United States, NCCU Law plays a vital role in training a diverse group of lawyers who go on to make significant contributions to the legal profession and their communities.

One of the strengths of NCCU Law is its robust clinical program, which provides students with the opportunity to gain hands-on legal experience while serving the community. North Carolina Central University School of Law offers a variety of clinics, including civil rights, criminal defense, entrepreneurship, and intellectual property. These programs prepare NCCU Law students for legal practice and instill a sense of social responsibility.

NCCu Law has a particularly strong tradition of producing lawyers dedicated to public interest work. The law school's commitment to public service is reflected in its extensive pro bono and community outreach initiatives, through which students can work on cases that impact underserved populations and advocate for social justice causes.

In addition to its full-time J.D. program, the law school offers a part-time evening program, making legal education more accessible to students with work or family commitments. This flexibility in the range of options for pursuing legal study enables nontraditional students to earn their law degree while balancing other responsibilities.

Browse scholarship opportunities for law students that can make your legal education more accessible and affordable!

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Wake Forest University School of Law - Winston-Salem, NC

Wake Forest University School of Law, situated in the vibrant city of Winston-Salem, is a distinguished institution known for its strong emphasis on ethics, professionalism, and community engagement. With a commitment to producing well-rounded lawyers, Wake Forest Law offers a comprehensive legal education that prepares students not only for the practice of law but also for leadership roles in their communities and professions.

One of the standout features of Wake Forest University School of Law is its unwavering commitment to ethics and professionalism in the legal field. From day one, the law school has instilled these values into its law students, emphasizing the importance of integrity, responsibility, and civility in legal practice. Graduates of Wake Forest Law are not only legal experts but also ethical and principled advocates.

Wake Forest Law takes pride in its strong tradition of community engagement. The Pro Bono Project and the Public Interest Law Organization (PILO) allow students to apply their legal skills to serve those in need. These initiatives run by the law school benefit the community and equip students with valuable practical experience.

Furthermore, students at Wake Forest Law can pursue various dual-degree programs, allowing them to combine their J.D. with other advanced degrees, such as a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) or a Master of Divinity (M. Div.). These programs offer a unique multidisciplinary approach to legal education and open doors to diverse career paths for its graduates. In addition to the traditional full-time program, the law school also offers a part-time program that allows students to balance their studies with work or other responsibilities.

Browse these North Carolina scholarships to minimize the costs of college!

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Elon University School of Law - Greensboro, NC

Elon University School of Law, located in Greensboro, North Carolina, is known for its rigorous academic curriculum and strong emphasis on experiential learning. The school's innovative approach to legal education allows students to develop practical legal skills and gain real-world experience during their studies.

One of the standout features of Elon Law is its dedication to experiential learning. The school's mission is to produce "practice-ready" lawyers, and it achieves this mission through unique programs such as the accelerated 2.5-year J.D. program. This accelerated program compresses the traditional three-year Juris Doctor curriculum into a more intense schedule, allowing law students to enter the legal workforce sooner.

Check out this blog post to learn more about how long it takes to graduate from law school!

Elon Law's Preceptor Program is another hallmark of its experiential approach to legal education. Law students work closely with practicing attorneys and judges through the Preceptor Program, gaining mentorship and practical experience. This hands-on learning model helps students bridge the gap between theory and practice, preparing them for the challenges of legal practice.

Campbell University School of Law - Raleigh, NC

Campbell University School of Law, located in the state's capital of Raleigh, North Carolina, is known for its commitment to producing practice-ready lawyers. With a rigorous curriculum, strong clinical programs, and a dedication to ethics and professionalism, Campbell Law School prepares students for the challenges and demands of the legal profession.

One of the distinguishing features of Campbell University School of Law is its practice-ready approach to legal education. The law school's curriculum is designed to equip students with the practical skills and knowledge necessary to excel in legal practice from day one. This approach emphasizes the theoretical aspects of law and the practical application of legal principles.

Campbell Law also offers diverse clinical programs that provide students with hands-on experience in civil litigation, criminal law, and elder law. These programs allow students to work with real clients, engage in legal research and writing, and participate in court proceedings, helping them build the necessary skills to be effective advocates.

Browse the best law schools in the U.S. to see your options!

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Frequently Asked Questions About The Best Law Schools in North Carolina

How can I choose the best North Carolina school for me?

Choosing the right law school depends on your personal and career goals. Consider factors such as location, faculty, specializations, clinical opportunities, and the school's culture when deciding. Visiting campuses, talking to current students, and reviewing rankings and employment outcomes can also help you make an informed choice.

Learn more about choosing the best law school by examining how to get into law school.

Do law schools in North Carolina offer financial aid and scholarships?

Many law schools in North Carolina offer financial aid and scholarships to eligible students! Be sure to do your own research on each school's financial aid options, including scholarships, grants, and loans, and apply for financial assistance early in the admissions process.

Scholarships for law school students on can further supplement any financial aid and scholarships provided by law schools in North Carolina. Don't forget to create a free profile to start applying for scholarships!

Can I pursue specialized areas of law at North Carolina schools?

Yes, many of these law schools offer specialized programs and concentrations in various areas of law, such as environmental law, health law, intellectual property, and more. Check each school's curriculum and faculty expertise to find the one that aligns with your interests.

Whether you aspire to become a corporate lawyer, public interest advocate, or legal scholar, a law school in North Carolina can help you achieve your goals! Check out these blog posts on the best law schools in Texas and the best law schools in Florida from our Scholarship Blog as you continue your law school research.

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About Nicole

Nicole is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn, New York, who specializes in science and health writing, social justice issues, and nonprofit writing. Nicole graduated from Brown University with Bachelor’s degrees in English Literature and Ethnic Studies, receiving Honors in Ethnic Studies for her senior thesis on contemporary poet Ocean Vuong. During her time at Brown, Nicole served as a staff writer and section editor for The College Hill Independent (“The Indy”), New England’s largest alt-weekly publication. Notably, their contributions to the publication include news pieces analyzing complex social justice issues. 

Her piece Imagining Indigenous Futures: The Fight to Save the West Berkeley Shellmound received the Barbara Banks Brodsky Prize in Real World Writing from the Department of English. Nicole is also an experienced writing instructor, having served as a Writing Fellow at Brown University for three years, and is trained in anti-racist and accessible pedagogies of teaching writing. She currently works as a writing tutor and executive function coach with ConnectToLearn Tutors.

Nicole is no longer with the Writing Team, but we continue to value and appreciate her contributions.

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