Campbell Law alumni increase N.C. Court of Appeals dominance after election

Photo of outside of NC Court of Appeals

RALEIGH – North Carolina voters helped Campbell Law School alumni increase their dominance of the North Carolina Court of Appeals during the Nov. 8 mid-terms.

With the election of Michael Stading ‘06, a Mecklenburg County District Court judge, and the re-election of Chief Judge Donna Stroud ’88 and Judge John M. Tyson ’79, Campbell Law School will soon have six alumni – or 40 percent – serving on the N.C. Court of Appeals, more than any other law school in the state. 

Rounding out Campbell Law alumni serving on the N.C. Court of Appeals bench are Judge Allegra Collins ‘06 and Judge Tobias (Toby) Hampson ’02, who were elected in 2018, and Judge Jeffery K. Carpenter ’03, who was elected in November 2020. 

“It is an enormous tribute to the school that 40 percent of the Court of Appeals are our graduates,” said Dean J. Rich Leonard, who commissioned a wall celebrating the number of alumni judges who graduated from Campbell Law, which also boasts having the most judges of any other N.C. law school.

So, what is it about a Campbell Law education that produces such great candidates for judges? Stroud, who teaches as an adjunct professor at the law school, credits her professors at Campbell Law for helping her understand the obligation attorneys and judges have to the community and legal system at-large.

“As a student at Campbell, I had the honor and privilege to serve as a research assistant for Professor (and then-Dean) Leary Davis and Professor Thomas Anderson. In working with them, as well as in my classes with other professors, I learned the legal profession requires more than hard work, attention to detail, and faithfulness to the law in a particular case. Attorneys and judges also have an obligation to work to improve our legal system and our communities and to exemplify the highest ethical standards.”  

Stroud was elected to the North Carolina Court of Appeals in November 2006 and re-elected without opposition in 2014. She beat Campbell Law alumnus Brad Salmon ‘11 with 55 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s election. 

In her role as Chief Judge, Stroud is the state’s second-highest ranking judge after N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Newby, who is also an adjunct professor at the law school. She was appointed as Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals effective Jan. 1, 2021. Prior to joining the Court of Appeals, she served as a Family Court Judge in Wake County District Court, where she was elected in 2004.

Stroud added, “Campbell Law school strives to cultivate lawyers who will be ‘servant-leaders.’ For judges, ‘leading with purpose’ means working to serve the people of North Carolina by faithfully applying the law and striving to provide justice for everyone who comes before our courts.”

Tyson was elected to the North Carolina Court of Appeals in 2014. Tyson, who also teaches as an adjunct professor at the law school, previously served as an elected judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals from 2001 until 2009 and as a Recall Judge from 2009 to 2014. His more than 40 years of professional experience also includes serving the private practice of law and senior level corporate real estate development and counsel positions with three national corporations.

Tyson says he believes Campbell Law’s commitment to offering rigorous courses taught by professors who are expert practitioners in their fields results in the competency of the law school’s alumni and their ability to become Court of Appeals judges.

“Campbell Law insisted upon rigorous courses for students to master core competencies essential to represent clients and practice law,” Tyson said. “These courses were taught by faculty, who were experienced and expert practitioners in the areas they taught. Campbell Law graduates were competent to immediately represent clients. This foundation is essential for a judge on the Court of Appeals, whose job requires review of a wide range of civil, criminal, and administrative laws and procedure.”


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 2021, Campbell Law celebrated 45 years of graduating legal leaders and a dozen years of being located in a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of North Carolina’s Capital City.