UNC School of Law is part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation's first state-supported university. The state constitution authorized a university in 1776, and the N.C. General Assembly chartered the university on December 11, 1789.
In 1793, the cornerstone of the first building was laid, and that building, Old East, is now a National Historic Landmark. The University's first student, Hinton James, arrived from Wilmington, N.C., on February 12, 1795, making this the only public university to confer degrees prior to 1800.
In 1845, William H. Battle became the university's first professor of law, and he oversaw the legal program that has grown into UNC School of Law. At the time, Battle was also a Superior Court judge, and he later sat on the North Carolina Supreme Court.
The School of Law became a charter member of the American Association of Law Schools in 1920, and has been approved by the American Bar Association since 1928. Also in 1928, the School of Law established its chapter of the Order of the Coif. UNC-Chapel Hill has been accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools since 1895.