Thomas A. Kelley

Print This Page (PDF) Paul B. Eaton Distinguished Professor of Law and Interim Director of Clinical Programs


  • J.D., Northeastern University (1991)
  • A.B., Harvard University (1984)

Thomas Kelley is the faculty supervisor for the Community Development Law Clinic ("CDL Clinic"). In that capacity, he works with third-year law students who provide legal counsel to community based nonprofit organizations across North Carolina.

Kelley also teaches and writes on the Law of Nonprofit Organizations, and on International Law and Development. His Nonprofit Law scholarship focuses on the emerging 4th sector: hybrid for-profit/nonprofit organizations that are changing the face of American charity and philanthropy. His international work focuses on emerging legal systems in Africa, an interest that grew out of his service as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Republic of Niger. His scholarly work has appeared in such publications as the Fordham Law Review, Global Jurist, and the American Journal of Comparative Law, and his essays have appeared in popular journals such as The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, and American Diplomacy.

After law school at Northeastern University, Kelley clerked for James Dickson Phillips, Jr. on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. He spent two years as an associate at Foley, Hoag & Eliot in Boston, then entered the nonprofit world as the director of community programs at the Center for Documentary Studies and counsel to DoubleTake Magazine.

In 2003-2004, Kelley was a Fulbright Scholar and visiting professor at Abdou Moumouni University (University of Niamey) in Niger. In 2009, he was honored with Carolina Law's Chadbourn Award for a "full length academic journal article published during the preceding year and showing scholarly achievement, special creativity and insight, and /or the promise of great impact." In 2013, he led a summer study-abroad program in Rwanda and The Hague focusing on Genocide, Human Rights, and International Criminal Law.

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Selected Publications

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  • Maintaining Power by Manipulating Memory in Rwanda, 41 FORDHAM INT'L L.J. 79 (2017). [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, Hein, BEPress]
  • North Carolina Charter Schools (Non-?) Compliance with State and Federal Nonprofit Law, 93 N. C. L. REV. 1757 (2015). [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, Hein, BEPress]
  • Apples to Oranges: Epistemological Dissonance in the Human Rights Case Hadjatou Mani v. Niger, 32 QUINNIPIAC L. J. 311 (2014). [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, Hein]
  • Corruption as Institution Among Small Businesses in Africa, 24 FLA. J. INT'L L. 1 (2012). [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, Hein, BEPress]
  • Government and Nonprofit Organizations (with L. Altman and M. Henderson), in COUNTY AND MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT IN NORTH CAROLINA (2012). [KFN7830 .C68]
  • Teaching Nonprofit Law at UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law, 33 NOTES BEARING INTEREST 15 (NC Bar Association, April 2012).
  • Transactional Teaching at Carolina Law, NOTES BEARING INTEREST (N.C. Bar Assoc., Sept. 2011).
  • Wait! That's Not What We Meant by Civil Society!: Questioning the NGO Orthodoxy in West Africa, 36 BROOK. J. INT'L L. 993 (2011). [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, Hein, BEPress]
  • Beyond the Washington Consensus and New Institutionalism:  What is the Future of Law and Development?, 35 N.C. J. INT'L L. & COM. REG. 539 (2010). [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, Hein, BEPress]
  • Law and Choice of Entity on the Social Enterprise Frontier, 84 TUL. L. REV. 337 (2009). [Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, SSRN, Hein, BEPress]
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