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UNC School of Law has adopted the rules and standards of the Associated Press Style Guide for web publication and the Carolina Law magazine. The school communications office defers to the Merriam-Webster dictionary for first preferred spellings. The rules below clarify school-specific issues and provide information about common issues. Contact with any questions or concerns.

UNC School of Law

On first usage, refer to the institution as UNC School of Law. On second and additional uses, refer to the school, the law school, or Carolina Law. When necessary, it is appropriate to write the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Capitalize proper nouns, not common nouns. Contact Dean Martin Brinkley; Brinkley became dean in 2015. The first U.S. president was Washington; President Bush was succeeded by Obama.

Centers, Initiatives and Offices

On first usage, refer to the institution by its full name, i.e., Center for Climate, Energy, Environment and Economics, Center for Civil Rights. On second and additional uses, refer to the center.


The UNC style guide recommends capitalizing University on subsequent references.


Always use Arabic figures, without st, nd, rd or th.

Phone Numbers

Use periods as delimiters in phone numbers. For example, 919.962.5106.

Academic Abbreviations

In news stories and press releases, avoid abbreviations (B.A., M.A., and Ph.D., etc). Instead, refer to John Doe, who has a degree in history. When necessary to identify degrees, lowercase and use an apostrophe for bachelor's degree, master's degree, and so forth; capitalize full degree titles such as Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science; and, when necessary to abbreviate, use periods: B.A., M.A. and J.D.

Alumni Years

Identify law school alumni as Jane Doe '78. If you must refer to an alumnus who earned a degree at the beginning of the 1900s, you may write the graduate's year in running text to avoid confusion: John Doe, who earned his law degree in 1906, rather than John Doe '06.

Student Years

Identify a law student's current class year after their name, i.e. John Doe 2L. Do not use parentheses or commas around the class year.

Endowed Professorships and Chairs

The first time you refer to the holder of an endowed professorship or chairship, provide the full endowment title, such as Lissa Broome, Wells Fargo Professor of Banking Law.

Endowed Spaces

The first time you refer to the following areas, provide the full endowment title, such as the Sherwood H. Smith Reading Room.

Living Legacy Campaign Named Spaces

  • Sherwood H. Smith Reading Room made possible by a gift from Carolina Power & Light
  • Entry in first section of Library level 4: Richard Boles - George Beischer Library Main Entrance made possible by a gift from George and Susan Beischer
  • Main Entry room 5001: Marion A. Cowell, Jr. Board Room made possible by a gift from the First Union Foundation
  • Level 5 - Faculty area: Frank R. Strong Faculty Library made possible by a gift from C. Boyden Gray
  • Level 5 room 5057 - Quiet Study: John Manning, Henry Brandis, J. Dickson Phillips, Daniel Pollitt - Quiet Study Area made possible by a gift from J. McNeill and Louise Smith
  • Level 5 room 5035: Parker, Poe, Adams & Bernstein L.L.P. Interview Room made possible by gifts from UNC Law alumni at Parker Poe
  • Level 4 room 4080: Clary and Bertha Merrill Holt Student Conference Room
  • Level 5 room 5066: Mr. and Mrs. Charles P. Brown and C. Palmer Brown Jr. Faculty Conference Room
  • Level 5 room 5063 WLRC: Frederick K. Gilliam Director's Office-Research and Writing made possible by a gift from J. Lee Lloyd
  • Level 5 room 5067: Roger Smith and Wade Smith Faculty Conference Room

Areas named by gifts of alumni and friends who are recognized on plaques in each of the areas

  • Chancellor William B. Aycock Main Lobby / Class of 1948 Portico
  • Judith W. Wegner Alumni Courtyard

Other named spaces

  • Room 5069: Mildred M. & William Johnson Faculty Lounge
  • Room 5005: John T. Manning Dean's Suite
  • Room 4051: Moore & Van Allen PLLC
  • Room 5139: Spencer Love Foundation - Dispute Resolution Center (Professor Blakey's old office)
  • Room 4081: Graham Kenan Courtroom (old)
  • Room 5018: Wade & Sandy Hargrove Student Services
  • Room 4004: William Graham Jr. Classroom
  • Level 5 Study area: Hugh Lobdell Study Area
  • Level 5 Main Entry Library: Kathrine R. Everett Library


On first reference, fully identify an individual by full and formal name. On second reference, identify by last name only. When text has multiple individuals with the last name, use first names on second reference.

Surnames and Commas

Don't add commas after a surname that is followed by Jr., Sr. or a number: Mr. Brian Davis Sr., John Bryan III.

Alumna, Alumni

When referring to alumni: one woman, alumna ; two or more women, alumnae; one man, alumnus; two or more men or a mixed group, alumni.

Seasons and Semester References

Capitalize the season and year when you refer to a specific semester and year, Fall 1994, but not when you are referring to a season of the year, in spring 2008. Don't use a comma to separate the semester and year or season and year. Don't capitalize "semester" when you are referring to a general semester: Applications accepted only during the fall semester.


Avoid jargon, slang, euphemisms, acronyms, and phrases that your audience may not understand.


Use only widely recognized and understood abbreviations, such as U.S., F.B.I., Ph.D., NASA. Omit spaces and periods between letters when possible. Don't use apostrophes for plural abbreviations: Only Ph.D.s are invited to the gathering. You may use UNC in headlines for local distribution only.


Spell out an acronym on first usage, and include the acronym in parenthesis. Remember that even internal publications may be read by external audiences. The same acronym in a different context or readership can mean very different things. Don't let the language have the potential to be confusing. Do not use acronyms in headings. Remember that first-year students and other newcomers may not know many school acronyms and abbreviations.

United States

Spell out the nation's name when using it as a noun: The United States needs more lawyers. Abbreviate the name when you use it as an adjective: Enrollment of U.S. law students was up last year.

State Names

State names are spelled out when they stand alone in text: The students are from California. When a state name follows a city, town, or military base, the state name is abbreviated. However, eight states are never abbreviated: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah.

Credits and Publication

The school credits writers in print publications with their full name, no by. Photography credits are Photo by Jane Smith. When school photos are provided to external outlets, permission should read as Photo by Jane Smith, Courtesy UNC School of Law.

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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