Campbell Law to launch pro bono clinic focusing on family law litigation

Photo of Carole Gailor and Richard Leonard

RALEIGH – Campbell Law School Dean J. Rich Leonard is proud to announce the approval of the law school’s newest pro bono clinic — the Gailor Family Law Litigation Clinic.

The clinic will address challenging family law issues including divorce, property distribution, paternity, child custody and child support among other family law issues where it is often difficult to find representation for low-income individuals. The needs assessment just completed by the Chief Justice’s Commission on Access to Justice found this to be the greatest area of unmet need for legal services among North Carolinians of modest resources.

“With the impending retirement of our Senior Law Clinic Director Roger Manus, the law school saw the opportunity to expand some of the services his clinic has provided over the past decade,” Leonard explained. “The Gailor Family Law Clinic is a timely addition as clinical directors and local judges agree that the need for family law legal services is of the utmost importance.”

While working in the clinic, students will learn a client-centered approach to the practice of family law by engaging in client counseling, case strategy, negotiation  and, if necessary, assist with trial of family law cases under the “Student Practice Rule.” The clinic will also provide students with the opportunity to work on various types of family law cases with several different clients during their semester in the clinic and beyond.

The Gailor Family Law Litigation Clinic is made possible through the generous donation of $250,000 from family lawyer Carole Gailor, making her the first woman to have a clinic named after her at Campbell Law. 

“As a practicing family lawyer, it was clear to me that there were many in the community of modest means who could not afford legal services and few resources to help them,” Gailor explained. “While many family lawyers did the occasional family law case pro bono, so many were unable to be helped and left to their own devices trying to navigate an often unforgiving legal system.”

The clinic will begin to offer expanded services starting in Fall 2021. The law school is currently recruiting an Assistant Clinical Professor who will be a full-time member of the law school faculty and will direct the clinic.

“There is huge momentum and excitement among my students and the community at-large about this clinic,” Leonard added. “I anticipate being able to match Carole’s gift with an ongoing fundraising effort that will put the clinic in solid financial shape for the foreseeable future.”

Gailor explained at the law firm she founded in 1994, now Gailor, Hunt, Davis, Taylor and Gibbs, she was able to mentor many young women attorneys in the practice of family law in addition to providing a place that was child friendly for them and their growing families.

“Now the clinic will provide a place to mentor young lawyers-to-be interested in family law practice,” she said.

Campbell Law is continually developing and expanding its clinical programs. All five legal clinics – Stubbs Bankruptcy, Innovate Capital Business Law, Blanchard Community Law, Restorative Justice and now Gailor Family Law Litigation – provide students with practical, hands-on experience while offering valuable services to low-income members of our community.

“This clinic fits within the mission of the university and Campbell Law because it provides students with the opportunity to learn practical lawyering skills while providing legal assistance to a vulnerable and underserved population,” Leonard added. “It will also serve as an effective recruiting tool that is certain to draw future students interested in practicing family law to the 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 4,200 alumni, who make their home in nearly all 50 states and beyond. In 2021, Campbell Law is celebrating 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.