2023 Spring Fellows chosen for ABA Legal Education Police Practices Consortium

Photo of a police car with flashing lights and the back of an officer with the word police on his vest

RALEIGH — Campbell Law School students Sarah Varela ’24 and Jaden Grimes ’24 have been selected as the school’s Spring 2023 Fellows for the ABA Legal Education Police Practices Consortium, Dean J. Rich Leonard has announced.

The Consortium is a collaborative effort between the American Bar Association (ABA) and 60 accredited law schools to gather data and evaluate the evolving nature of police work in the United States. When appropriate, that information is used to make policy and training recommendations for local and national law enforcement agencies. Leonard is proud to be one of the founding deans of the Consortium, as well as being a member of the Advisory Committee. Campbell Law School is the only North Carolina law school currently participating in the Consortium.  

Varela said she was was drawn to the Consortium because of her interest in criminal issues and matters related to policing in the United States. She hopes to gain a deeper understanding of the unique challenges police in North Carolina face and what solutions exist to meet the reform goals of the police and the local community. She is encouraged by the number of law schools already participating in this research and hopes to see more join the effort. Varela adds that she believes one of the best ways to achieve long-lasting change is by working closely with law enforcement and community stakeholders. Campbell Law’s location in the heart of Raleigh will help the fellows form strong connections with multiple organizations and leaders in the area, which will better allow them to evaluate the overall needs of the community, Varela said. 

Grimes said he gained interest in the Consortium based on his background in police-community advocacy. This background began in 2016 after the officer-involved shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and the assassination of five officers in Dallas. In response, Grimes co-founded a group called ACTION, or A Call To Impact Our Nation, which is aimed at improving the police-community relationships.

ACTION has recently been implemented as a student organization at Campbell Law, headed up by Grimes, Hayden Erwin ’24, Alexandria Hill ’24 and Jessica Osborn, who is in the FLEX JD program.

“ACTION hopes to expand its vision of the social, political and legal resources it could offer to improve the police-community relationship in the broader Raleigh community,” Grimes said. “The Legal Education Police Practices Consortium is a superb opportunity to contribute to this vision.” 


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 2024, Campbell Law will celebrate 45 years of graduating legal leaders and 15 years of being located in a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of North Carolina’s Capital City.