What North Carolina Needs Is More Lawyers

ram note:

We have now hit a slack period as far as UNC sports are concerned. The men's lacrosse team, baseball team the men's and women's tennis teams have some unfinished business to attend to, but other than that, there isn't much ongoing activity. I may try to slide down to Chapel Hill for a visit to one of the summer football camps since I have never attended one, but that will be later in the summer. In the meantime, articles on this site will oftentimes be on subjects other than UNC related, but I will try not to stray too far afield. This article, while not about UNC per se, does involve UNC, but to a greater extent, concerns the state of North Carolina. That's close enough until we make it to the dog days of summer, and then, pre-season football and we're back into an academic cycle again.

What North Carolina Needs Is More Lawyers

Just when you thought you had heard everything, I have to hit you with what, at first glance, looks like an idiotic statement like "What we need is more lawyers." What I have heard from my acquaintances is the exact opposite. They feel that one of the biggest problems in contemporary society is that we have too many lawyers, and they are definitely tired of the constant advertisement bombardment we all receive from the personal injury merchants. Let me say at the outset that I have some good friends who are attorneys, and I don't question the need for lawyers in a civilized society. The rub comes when the public perceives lawyers as being principally responsible for us becoming a litigious society with a battle cry of "sue the bastards. Apparently, in North Carolina, the problem with lawyers is that the state does not have enough lawyers so there are plans by several institutions to explore the possibility of opening the state's sixth school of law.

Currently, there are five law schools in the state of North Carolina. They are UNC, Duke, Wake Forest, North Carolina Central, and Campbell University. There is a total of 2629 students enrolled in these five schools. The sizes of these schools of law range in enrollment from 337 at Campbell, the newest of the group to 794 at UNC.

At first glance, one might think that these figures should supply the number of lawyers needed in the state but a comparison with other states indicate that is not the case. North Carolina ranks next to last in the ratio of lawyers to population with a ratio of 1 lawyer to every 502 persons. The national figure is 1 to 268. Another surprising figure is that approximately half of the individuals who sit for the N.C. bar exam attended law schools in other states.

So, there is movement afoot to establish another school of law in N.C. and the current leader appears to be Elon, formerly the Fighting Christians, now the Phoenix. There are other contenders such as UNC Charlotte ( I'm pretty sure that is still their legal name even though their athletic teams use the name Charlotte ) and Queens College in Charlotte. Only Charlotte and El Peso, Texas of the 50 largest cities in the U.S. are without a school of law. Apparently others have taken notice because now Florida Coastal University has indicated they plan to open a for profit school of law in Charlotte in the next few years. I don't know what El Peso plans to do.

But Elon has the jump on the other North Carolina contenders, and it is based largely on the support the idea is getting from the city of Greensboro. You see, the plan is to locate the Elon School of Law in downtown Greensboro in a building formerly used as the city Library. In addition to the financial benefits to be realized by the city as a whole, the idea of a law school in downtown Greensboro fits right in with the city's downtown revitalization plans.

So, don't be surprised if you hear soon that Elon has definitely decided to proceed with the establishment of a law school. They will need approximately 8.75 million but they are well on their way to raising the money needed.

It may have come as a surprise for you to learn that N.C. was so disadvantaged when it comes to the number of lawyers residing and employed in the state. Of course, you could argue that this fact is one of the things that makes living in N.C. so attractive. I won't touch that one because I have already said enough about lawyers to create tension between me and my lawyer friends. Hope I don't need one anytime soon or they might get the last laugh.