J.D. Program

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The J.D. program at UNC School of Law provides students with a broad legal education that will prepare them to begin their legal careers at a high level of readiness to pursue their professional goals. In recent years, law schools nationwide have been responding to the legal community's need for students to obtain additional practical skills while in school, and Carolina has responded with curriculum changes and additional extracurricular skills-training programs and offerings.

An Introduction to the J.D. Curriculum

First-Year Students

The first-year curriculum has mandatory requirements in which students:

  • Are introduced to legal method and legal analysis
  • Begin to develop legal skills, including legal research and writing and oral arguments
  • Study with a small section course in a substantive area of law in the fall semester to foster active discussion and frequent teacher-student interaction
  • All students must take Civil Procedure, Contracts, Criminal Law, Property, Torts, and Constitutional Law

Second- and Third-Year Curricular Requirements

Students should keep in mind the requirements for graduation when setting their schedules. The faculty recently voted to change the J.D. degree requirements starting with the Class of 2021.  Courses formerly designated as “Skills” courses are now called “Experiential” courses.

Upper-Level Course Requirements for the Class of 2020:

  • One course in Professional Responsibility (PR)
  • Three Rigorous Writing Experience (RWE) credits
  • One additional Writing Experience (WE) which can be satisfied as follows:
    • a second RWE
    • A course that does not meet the RWE requirements but requires students to complete one or more short writing assignments (these courses are labeled WE)
    • a paper completed for an independent study
    • a note or comment written for a student-edited journal
    • a writing project for inter-school moot court competition administered by the Holderness Moot Court Bench, or writing completed for a clinic designated by the Director of Clinical Programs. (Written work for the journals' writing competition or try-outs for moot court teams do not satisfy a writing requirement.)
  • Six Experiential credits (Courses formerly labeled as "Skills" satisfy the Experiential requirement)

Upper-Level Course Requirements Starting with the Class of 2021:

  • One course in Professional Responsibility (PR)
  • Four Rigorous Writing Experience (RWE) credits
  • Six Experiential credits
Professional Responsibility, Writing, and Experiential Requirements:
Professional Responsibility (PR)
Second-year students must take a course in Professional Responsibility, which covers the legal ethics and rules governing the conduct of lawyers. Students get to choose which PR class they take.
Rigorous Writing Experience (RWE)
RWE courses require close faculty supervision of legal writing. Professors teaching RWE courses provide students with significant individualized feedback on both the student’s ideas and writing product, including a substantial draft. Students in RWE courses are required to revise their writing in light of the feedback they receive throughout the writing process.
Experiential (formerly Skills) Requirement (E)
Students must take six experiential learning credits prior to graduation. These classes are simulation courses, clinics, or field placements. Classes that satisfy this requirement are designated with an “E".
UNC School of Law | Van Hecke-Wettach Hall | 160 Ridge Road, CB #3380 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 | 919.962.5106 | Accessibility


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