Campbell Law launches ‘Lawyers and Leaders’ forum on Friday, Sept. 4

Photo of Campbell Law School sign and entrance at night

RALEIGH — Under the direction of Campbell Law Dean J. Rich Leonard, the award-winning Campbell Advocacy Program is launching the “Lawyers and Leaders” initiative to help law students develop leadership traits along with advocacy skills to deal with current crises facing local communities, the country as a whole and the world beyond.

“Campbell Law prides itself on developing competent and professional advocates,” explains Professor Anthony Ghiotto, director of the law school’s Advocacy Program. “But as we do so, we’re faced with the realities of the world today.  The repeated police shootings and killings of African Americans followed by widespread civic unrest have left many of us struggling in unimaginable ways.  While these struggles speak to systemic questions of race, gender, privilege and poverty, they also speak to advocacy and the practice of law.  How do you advocate in the face of systemic exclusion?  How do you advocate in a sea of civic discord?  How do you use advocacy effectively to effectuate change both for your client and for society?  How do you use advocacy to lead yourself and the community around you?”

The truth is many of these questions don’t have answers, but they are worthy of conversation, discussion and mutual understandings, Ghiotto continued. 

“‘Lawyers and Leaders’ intends to provide a forum for that conversation, exploring the intersection of the practice of law, advocacy and leadership,” he said. “We will use leadership lessons to understand how lawyers can develop leadership and advocacy skills to work through the struggles many Americans are facing right now. Our communities deserve lawyers who are not just well versed in the law and advocacy principles, but who are also well versed in basic leadership principles: how to advocate to build trust and to build teams. ‘Lawyers and Leaders’ will be one step in that direction.”

In order to develop “Lawyers and Leaders” that will embody Campbell University’s motto “lead with purpose,” the Advocacy Program will bring together leaders from the private sector, government (to include military, judiciary, public interest, etc.) and academia to start conversations on how we can lead ourselves, how can we lead through advocacy and how we can lead the communities around us, Ghiotto added.  

“Lawyers and Leaders” will kick off with a monthly “Storytelling Series” featuring speakers who will discuss leadership principles and apply them to their life stories to show how they’ve incorporated those principles to lead in the legal profession. Ghiotto, as the first speaker in the series, will discuss the book and leadership lesson called “Leaders Eat Last” and discuss how that principle guided him as an attorney, as a military officer and now as law professor. 

The first forum in the “Storytelling Series” will be held at noon on Friday, Sept. 4. in Room 105 and the first 60 registrants can attend in-person with masks.  Lunch will be provided. Interested students can sign-up here. Students are also invited to attend virtually via Blackboard Collaborate here

In the upcoming months, speakers will include Riz Shah, the Organizational Culture Advisor for the U.S. Department of Energy; Gerald Walden Jr., Vice President and Head of Legal for Fresh Market Inc. and our own Niya Fonville, Director of the Campbell Law’s Externship Program.

“We hope to also announce other events such as panels, discussion forums, a leadership book club and movie nights over the next month,” Ghiotto said.  “If you’d like to receive additional information on ‘Lawyers and Leaders,’ please enroll in the Campbell Advocacy Program Blackboard site, which includes a module for ‘Lawyers and Leaders,’ or sign-up to be on our mailing list here

“Again, advocacy and the practice of law is one small step along the way of overcoming the struggles many of us face today.  But it’s an important step and we’re excited to begin the conversation of how we can all be ‘Lawyers and Leaders’ready to lead with purpose.”


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 4,300 alumni, who make their home in nearly all 50 states and beyond. Throughout 2019, Campbell Law celebrated 40 years of graduating legal leaders and 10 years of being located in a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of North Carolina’s Capital City.