Campbell Law School announced Sep. 21 that it has received an $8 million gift, the largest in the school’s history and one of the biggest in the history of Campbell University. The gift, bestowed by Raleigh attorney Gene Boyce, will be dedicated to the school’s advocacy center, which has been renamed in Boyce’s honor.
Rich Leonard, dean of Campbell Law School, said that the funds would go toward the installation of state-of-the-art technology for the advocacy center, which will be housed in the space formerly occupied by the North Carolina Business Court. The money will also help expand opportunities for the school’s competition advocacy team to stand in more national, and potentially even international, competitions.
Boyce said he was attracted to Campbell’s advocacy program as a means of providing a well-rounded legal education to students, many of whom may not have any desire to pursue careers as litigators. The program is one that Leonard has championed since he became the school’s dean.
“What [Leonard] proposed, and I agree with him entirely, is that law students need to learn how to be a good advocate for a cause or a case that has little prospect of ever going into litigation,” Boyce said. “There’s a lot of legal practice that doesn’t involve the subject of litigation, and those people, as much as litigators, need to know the principles of good advocacy. And law schools have not been focusing on that to any extent and [Leonard’s] idea really appealed to me and stuck with me, and my desire is help him promote his idea.”
Most of the gift comes in the form of interest in land along the Neuse River in northern Raleigh. Leonard declined to specify the school’s plans for the land, but said that “It’s not terribly good for the law school just to hold it, so the plan is to figure out in some way how to turn it into some resources.”
Leonard, who described the gift as the culmination of a long process, called the advocacy program one of the school’s greatest strengths and said that the bequest would allow the center to replicate some of the most advanced evidence presentation technology that exists in courtrooms across the country and engage students in some of the most up-to-date interactive teaching techniques.
“We want all of our graduates coming out of here to be able to take an oral position, hold the floor, and win the day. Part of that is traditional courtroom advocacy, but it’s certainly not limited to that. We’re not training you just to go to the podium in a courtroom,” Leonard said. “We want people to be able to immediately recognize the skill set we gave you. I think that’s a critical part of what we teach here.”
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