Campbell Law’s trial advocates come in 5th in national GAVEL Rankings

Graphic with the words Gavel Rankings and two gavels

RALEIGH – Campbell Law School’s Competitive Trial Advocacy Program ranks fifth in the nation in the most recent GAVEL Rankings. The GAVEL Rankings were created by Professor Jared Rosenblatt, Special Professor of Law at Hofstra Law School and faculty advisor to Hofstra’s Trial Advocacy Association.

Campbell Law is the only North Carolina law school to make the list. “This is the highest-ranking Campbell Law School has earned from the Gavel Rankings since the rankings’ inception,” stated Director of Competitive Advocacy Mary Ann Matney ’17.

Graphic showing the rankings of top 30 advocacy teams

The GAVEL Rankings, according to Rosenblatt, have three goals: to recognize excellent trial competition results; to give smaller programs a real chance to be recognized; and to acknowledge schools winning the toughest competitions.

“Why did we develop this new ranking system? Because we want to celebrate student excellence, and the existing rankings are useful — but many of us find them to be incomplete,” Rosenblatt says. “U.S. News reflects schools’ reputations in the trial advocacy community.  Tournament of Champions (TOC) points recognize excellence at only the two events open to everyone … American Association for Justice (AAJ) Trial Advocacy Competition and the National Trial Competition (NTC), but they ignore schools’ achievements at the many other outstanding competitions.  

Fordham Law’s system is the most thorough, objective measurement — but its formula punishes schools that don’t have the resources to attend as many competitions as possible each year and it treats every competition as equally difficult to win when we know that’s not the case.”

The GAVEL Rankings give smaller programs a chance by using a formula that gives extra points for achieving the same results in fewer competitions, the website states. 

The GAVEL Rankings identify the toughest competitions by polling 25 of the most respected trial team coaches and directors. Coaches are asked to score each competition from 1 to 10, reflecting how difficult it is for a team to be successful at that given competition. Coaches didn’t rank competitions they hosted or those with which they were not familiar.  Based on these rankings, each tournament was allocated a value. Teams are awarded points for winning a competition or being a finalist, semi-finalist, or (in some events) a quarterfinalist.

“One of the secrets to Campbell Law’s success is advocacy training that begins in students’ first year and continues throughout each of the three successive semesters in which students are enrolled,” Matney explained. “We take great pride in the legal community being able to recognize Campbell Lawyers by their professionalism and preparedness in the courtroom.”


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 4,800 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.