Campbell Law Dean J. Rich Leonard heads to Bhutan as Fulbright Specialist Scholar

Photo of Law Dean J. Rich Leonard

RALEIGH — Campbell University’s Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law Dean J. Rich Leonard was awarded the prestigious designation of a Fulbright Specialist Scholar in August 2020.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. State Department delayed the designation by three years, but on Sept. 2, Leonard will finally head to Bhutan for five weeks to teach an international comparative bankruptcy course to law students. He will cover bankruptcy laws in the U.S., China, India and the EU using real case examples with a focus on cross border insolvency laws in each jurisdiction.  

“I chose this topic due in large part to my expertise in bankruptcy law and the lack of a bankruptcy culture in Bhutan coupled with their desire to modernize their legal system,” explained Leonard, who is a former United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina. “They are also acutely aware that their neighbors China and India have new bankruptcy codes.” 

Bhutan is a Buddhist kingdom on the Himalayas’ eastern edge located between China and India. With an estimated population of less than 800,000, the country is known for its monasteries, fortresses (or dzongs) and dramatic landscapes that range from subtropical plains to steep mountains and valleys. In 2008, Bhutan adopted a constitutional monarchy with a king, Druk Gyalpo, or Dragon King, as the head of state and a prime minister as the head of government. Fulbright Scholars are administered by the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi.

On the heels of a long and storied career on the bench, Leonard, who is celebrating his 10th anniversary of leading the law school, is the longest-tenured law school dean among North Carolina’s six law schools and 13th in tenure in the nation. His recognition as a Fulbright Specialist Scholar is the culmination of his extensive legal and academic experience. 

“I was delighted to learn that I was selected as a Fulbright Specialist Scholar,” Leonard explained. “Unlike the regular Fulbright program that requires you to teach abroad for a semester or year, the Specialists are a small group that responds to specific requests for short-term consultations from academic and other institutions.”

The Fulbright Specialist Program, part of the larger Fulbright Program, was established in 2001 by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). The program pairs highly qualified U.S. academics and professionals with host institutions abroad to share their expertise, strengthen institutional linkages, hone their skills, gain international experience and learn about other cultures while building capacity at their overseas host institutions, according to the website.


The Fulbright Specialist Program aims to provide a short-term, on-demand resource to international host institutions, giving them greater flexibility in how they participate with Fulbright. Specialists are strongly encouraged to continue to work with host institutions in the years following their initial exchange, creating opportunities for ongoing cooperation and consultancies. Upon returning to the U.S., program participants are able to contribute their newly gained knowledge and intercultural competencies to their home institution or organization. Program participants will also become part of a network of thousands of accomplished Fulbright alumni, opening the door to additional grant possibilities, enhanced career development, and alumni networking and leadership opportunities.


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 2023, Campbell Law is celebrating 45 years of graduating legal leaders and 14 years of being located in a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of North Carolina’s Capital City.