DURHAM, N.C. — The North Carolina Central University School of Law has been elected to membership in the Association of American Law Schools (AALS), a nonprofit group that works to improve the legal profession by improving legal education. The AALS’s House of Delegates approved NCCU’s membership at its annual meeting in Washington on Jan. 5.
To qualify for membership in the association, a law school must demonstrate “a culture of research and scholarship,” said Raymond Pierce, Dean of the NCCU School of Law. “It is a very rigorous process,” he added. “Clearly our faculty deserves this recognition.”
Chancellor Charlie Nelms also hailed the membership vote. “NCCU’s approval for membership in AALS is reflective of the university’s unswerving commitment to excellence, the strong leadership of Dean Pierce and the scholarly contributions of our faculty,” he said.
The NCCU School of Law is only the third law school at a historically black university to join the association, joining those of Howard University and Southern University. And among the seven law schools in North Carolina, the NCCU School of Law is just the fourth to gain AALS membership, joining the schools of UNC–Chapel Hill, Duke University and Wake Forest University.
The law school has long been noted for its focus on public service and on meeting the needs of people and communities that are underserved by the legal profession. The school offers 12 clinical programs in which law students, supervised by practicing lawyers, provide low-income residents with free legal help ranging from paperwork to representation in court.
In recent years, the school also has been recognized as a “best-value” law school by preLaw magazine, a National Jurist publication, in rankings based on affordability, bar passage rates and job placement.