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Foundation makes $1M grant to Campbell law school

Posted September 30, 2008

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— The A.J. Fletcher Foundation on Tuesday announced a $1 million challenge grant to help establish a legal clinic for low-income people inside Campbell University's law school, which is moving to Raleigh next year.

The foundation is led by Jim and Barbara Goodmon. Jim Goodmon is president and chief executive of Capitol Broadcasting Co., which owns WRAL.

"We are working in the area of social justice, (and) a legal clinic for this school could be a way to kick things off," Jim Goodmon said. "There are a lot of people that need legal assistance that can't afford it. Working with the (law school) professors and other lawyers, the students will get experience being advocates and working with clients."

Officials with Campbell's Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law said as many as 80,000 Wake County residents live at or below the poverty line and could be eligible for the pro bono service.

"This has a very pointed purpose to send a message (that) we want to be a different kind of lawyers," said Melissa Essary, dean of the law school. "(Our students are) always thinking about creating a better society."

Britt Davis, the law school's director of development, said the Fletcher Foundation's challenge grant would be made in four annual installments, and school officials are targeting alumni and other individuals and groups to raise the needed matching funds.

About 70 percent of the law school's 2,800 graduates practice in North Carolina, including about 500 in Wake County, they said.

The law school plans to move next year from Campbell's campus in Buies Creek to the former Hillsborough Place office building in downtown Raleigh.

Raleigh is the largest state capital in the U.S. without a law school.

"Raleigh is going to be knocked over when the law school moves in," Essary said.

The move from rural Harnett County will give Campbell's 400 or so law school students more access to internships with law firms and clerkships with judges, school administrators said.

Davis said the $2 million raised through the challenge grant would help pay down Campbell's debt on the costs associated with the move – keeping tuition as low as possible – and pay for the operating costs of the legal clinic.

"It's very good to have these positive things happening with all this (economic) uncertainty," Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said.


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  • swiminit125 Sep 30, 2008

    The entire building in being gutted and brought up to date. As a recent graduate of Campbell Law, I am extremely excited about this grant, as well as the law school moving to Raleigh. I would have loved to have been in downtown Raleigh during my time there and not have to drive upwards of 45 minutes to my internship.

    I believe the faculty all thought this was the best move for the future of Campbell Law to gain national recognition and be able to serve more people.

  • atc2 Sep 30, 2008

    I hope they change the look of that ugly building (change everything about the 1st floor)!

  • NC Reader Sep 30, 2008

    Pardon me. I should have said "It's not just SOME alumni ..."!

  • wrrgirl Sep 30, 2008

    I'm amazed that people are thinking of this as a bad thing. The move is to benefit students AND the University. Campbell's not LOSING the program, they're making it better! Elon did this same thing recently... It provides much more opportunity for the students!

  • itsnews2me Sep 30, 2008

    Its a smart move for the law school. Similar to Elon University placing their law school in Greensboro, and the establishment of the stand-alone Charlotte School of Law by Intilaw there in Charlotte.

  • sweetjess14 Sep 30, 2008

    Why is turning campbell into a law school and changing locations and importance now??

    In my opinion, we need to focus on what we can do as indiviuals to help the economy right now. Donating ONE MILLION DOLLARS to a school is kind of obsured!!

  • NC Reader Sep 30, 2008

    Actually, it's not alumni who are unhappy about the move. It's a number of the faculty, who will have to move, commute, or change jobs. It's the Buies Creek community, which will lose the institution, students, and professors (those that choose to move). That being said, I think it's a good strategic move for Campbell and will be a huge benefit to Raleigh's downtown and state government, particularly the courts. I do feel bad for the people of Buies Creek who have been so supportive of the school and feel so sad about this move.

  • dshell99 Sep 30, 2008

    alumni are funny. i was peeved when my school changed its name, but i got over it. it's called progress. the adminstrators figured a new name would be good. fine. whatever. but to say that a school needs to stay in a place where the students aren't receiving the access they want and need to the jobs they're working their behinds off to get is just silly. move it to raleigh. give the students a fair shake at getting the jobs they want and need post graduation. it makes the school look good. it's free PR for raleigh. how could this be a "bad" thing outside of shaking up the alumni's precious memories? get over it alumni! time moves forward. getting on board beats the alternative. without progress or growth, we die. and i like living! :p

  • What and Why Sep 30, 2008

    When is the press conference? And what could it be? Maybe an alumni, other than myself, paid off the cost of the building they will occupy. Who knows. I only wish the annoucement was that they changed their mind and decided to leave the law school right here in Harnett County where it belongs.

  • bluebird1075 Sep 30, 2008

    The Oracle: I hope you never need a stinking lawyer but, if you do, I hope you're fortunate enough to have a Campbell graduate on your side!!!