RALEIGH — A prominent Raleigh attorney is giving Campbell University’s School of Law a quarter of a million dollars to support the work of the Blanchard Community Law Clinic, Dean J. Rich Leonard has announced.
Robert Zaytoun is a principal in the Raleigh law firm of Zaytoun Ballew & Taylor, where for the past 35 years his practice has focused on a wide range of litigation areas, including catastrophic personal injury, medical negligence, commercial litigation, health care fraud and regulatory compliance liability, representation of physicians in various contract and non-compete disputes, maritime law litigation and 1983 Civil Rights cases.
“I am thrilled to support the Blanchard Community Law Clinic through this gift as they continue to give voice to the diverse populations coming into contact with our civil justice system,” Zaytoun said. “It’s also an honor to continue the legacy of Charlie Blanchard, one of my heroes, through the clinic his generosity established, which allows law students the opportunity to obtain real-world trial experience. Additionally, I have always admired Campbell Law School for its pragmatic approach to legal education and community involvement. Dean Rich Leonard, who I have known and admired for over 30 years, along with his capable and dedicated faculty and staff, do incredible work in educating students to become outstanding trial lawyers who go on to become leaders throughout our state’s urban and rural communities.”
Leonard added, “Our vision for this clinic, which offers pro bono legal services to residents facing legal challenges including housing, expunctions and driver’s license restoration, is ambitious. We have big goals for what we want to do, and this generous donation allows us to meet them.”
The BCLC partners with community non-profit agencies to provide solutions to legal problems encountered by their clients. The clinic, which was launched in September 2016 with a grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, has made a tremendous impact in the Raleigh community and beyond helping nearly 1,600 clients to date. Legal services are provided by Campbell Law students, under the supervision of Clinic Director Rick Glazier and other clinical professors. Students handle cases with a high level of independence and conduct client interviews, prepare motions, oversee case management and make court appearances.
Glazier said, “Robert’s extraordinarily generous gift to the Blanchard Community Law Clinic epitomizes decades of unwavering commitment to the profession, to training the next generation of civil rights attorneys and to serving some of the most vulnerable citizens of our state at the times they most desperately need and can benefit from counsel. His contribution speaks volumes about Robert’s passion for social justice, equal access to justice for all North Carolinians and programs that actually help achieve both. Generations of students and impacted citizens will benefit from this enormously thoughtful and vital gift.”
The clinic is located in the Warehouse District at 311-200 Martin St., the beautiful and historic former home of Clearscapes artist Thomas Sayre’s famed architectural firm. In 2018, the clinic was renamed in honor of legal pioneer and major donor Charles Fuller Blanchard, a founding member of the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers, who died in 2021.
“With his generous contribution, we have trained more than 100 lawyers, and have attempted to imbue them with the qualities that Charlie exemplified – character, intelligence, professionalism, kindness and leadership,” said then-Clinic Director Ashley Campbell, now CEO of Legal Aid of North Carolina. “With Charlie’s gift, we have changed the lives of hundreds of low-income people for the better. We have engaged volunteer lawyers in service to their community, as Charlie encouraged us to do.”
Zaytoun began his legal career in 1976 with Salem & Salem, a litigation firm in Tampa, Florida. He became a member of the North Carolina Bar in 1975 and the Florida Bar in 1977. He returned to his native North Carolina in 1978, taking a position as an Assistant District Attorney for Wake County. After four years of intense trial work as a prosecutor, trying more than 100 cases in front of juries as lead counsel for the state, Zaytoun entered the private practice of law in Raleigh in 1982, focusing on criminal defense. His practice soon evolved into representing injured people in personal injury cases.
Zaytoun earned his law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1975, after having earned his bachelor’s degree in 1971, also at UNC-CH. He earned his Mediation Course Certification from the Duke Private Adjudication Center in 2002.
Zaytoun feels strongly that serving his community is part of the calling as a lawyer. He has served on the North Carolina Health and Wellness Trust Fund Commission as its only attorney member for the 10 years of its existence, the Board of Trustees of the North Carolina Symphony, the Judicial Nominating Commission, the Board of Directors of Farm Pilot Project Coordination, the Board of Directors of New Vision Renewable Energy, as a member of the Tryon Palace Council of Friends, as chairman for six years of the annual UNC Law Alumni Golf Tournament raising funds for scholarships for needs-based UNC law students, as a member of the N.C. Film Commission, on the Board of Directors of the Martha Capps Family Foundation and, most recently and proudly, on the Board of Directors of SPCA of Wake County.
ABOUT CAMPBELL LAW SCHOOL
Since its founding in 1976, Campbell Law has developed lawyers who possess moral conviction, social compassion and professional competence, and who view the law as a calling to serve others. Among its accolades, the school has been recognized by the American Bar Association (ABA) as having the nation’s top Professionalism Program and by the American Academy of Trial Lawyers for having the nation’s best Trial Advocacy Program. Campbell Law boasts more than 4,700 alumni, who make their home in nearly all 50 states and beyond. In 2024, Campbell Law will celebrate 45 years of graduating legal leaders and 15 years of being located in a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of North Carolina’s Capital City.