The Pope Center for Higher Education Policy says North Carolina is "under-lawyered."
Robust growth and new businesses boost the need for lawyers in North Carolina, according to a center report released today. It cites data that North Carolina has fewer private-sector lawyers per capita than any other state (758 people for each lawyer).
But, the report says, state restrictions make the climate difficult for new lawyers to come here, reports Jane Stancill.
The reports says North Carolina allows only graduates of American Bar Association-approved law schools to take the state bar exam, and requires licensed lawyers from other states to have practiced for four of the past six years in order to "waive" in to the North Carolina bar. The rules prevent newly licensed lawyers and those who graduated from unaccredited law schools to practice here.
Read more after the jump.
The report also compares the state's law schools on key factors such as tuition, bar passage rate, debt after graduation and starting salaries. It says there is only one low-cost option for legal education in North Carolina — N.C. Central University's law school.
North Carolina has seven law schools, including two new ones — Elon University and Charlotte School of Law — that opened in 2006.
Here are some interesting findings from the report:
• 46 percent of UNC-Chapel Hill law graduates leave the state for their first job.
• The median starting salary for a Duke law graduate is $110,000; for UNC-CH graduates, it's $100,000; for Wake Forest grads, it's $70,000.
• N.C. Central law graduates have a low debt load of $17,215, compared to $90,929 for Campbell law grads.
The paper, "Legal Education in North Carolina: A Report for Potential Students, Lawmakers and the Public," is by Andrew Morriss, law professor at the University of Illinois, and William Henderson, law professor at Indiana University.