Law-school leaders say UNC risking its reputation in Center for Civil Rights dispute

Barring the UNC Chapel Hill law school’s Center for Civil Rights from representing clients would “needlessly tarnish the reputation of UNC in the national legal education community” should UNC system leaders go through with it, a group including the deans of the Wake Forest and Campbell University law schools says.

The warning came in a letter organized by the American Association of University Professors and signed by about 600 law-school deans, professors and administrators from around the country.

Notably, the local signers included Wake Forest law dean Suzanne Reynolds and Campbell law dean Rich Leonard. North Carolina has but seven law schools. Four are housed at private universities like Wake and Campbell, and another is a standalone institution based in Charlotte. The state’s only public law schools are at UNC-CH and N.C. Central University.

The Chapel Hill law school’s Center for Civil Rights is under fire for supplying attorneys to people and organizations involved in land-use, inheritance, school-desegregation and environmental disputes in several down-East communities. The center’s critics on the UNC system Board of Governors, led by member Steve Long, argue that a state university law school shouldn’t be involved in suing other arms of the government.

They would enforce that by forbidding the…

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