Campbell Law Dean Emerita and Professor Melissa Essary co-authors new textbook

Photo of Melissa Essary

RALEIGH — Campbell Law School Dean Emerita and Professor Melissa Essary has announced the release of an updated edition of the textbook, “Client Interviewing, Counseling, and Decision-Making.” Essary co-authored the book with Campbell Law Adjunct Professor G. Nicholas Herman. The book was first published in 2009.

“The book has been popular with professors since its inception as a tool to provide students with practical lawyering skills in the context of counseling clients,” Essary said. “This book is consistent with Campbell Law School’s mission of rigorous academic training coupled with comprehensive skills training.” 

Photo of cover of Professor Melissa Essary's book, "Client Interviewing, Counseling & Decision Making"

The text provides students the opportunity to develop skills necessary for client interviewing, counseling, and decision-making, while emphasizing the role of emotional intelligence in the process. Students are challenged to put law and legal analysis into action through roleplays, which aligns with the new American Bar Association (ABA) Accreditation Standards 303 and 304 that mandate experiential learning opportunities for law students. Hypotheticals throughout the book serve as springboards for class discussion. The book includes a Teacher’s Manual containing numerous roleplays for client simulations, as well as PowerPoints to assist in classroom presentations. It is available for purchase from the Carolina Academic Press here

Essary joined Campbell Law as the first female dean in July 2006. She has taught Client Counseling since returning to the classroom, and coached a World Champion Client Counseling team at the 2019 Brown Mosten International Client Consultation Competition. Previously, she served a 16-year career as a professor at Baylor University School of Law. She co-authored another text book in 2016, “Navigating the First Year of Law School: A Practical Guide to Studying Law.” A 1982 graduate of the University of Texas and a 1985 graduate of the Baylor University School of Law, Essary joined the faculty at Baylor Law in 1990 where she taught courses primarily in Employment Discrimination Law and Torts Law. 


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.