Dean J. Rich Leonard to lead ABA Legal Education Police Practices Consortium

Campbell Law Dean J. Rich Leonard

RALEIGH  — Campbell Law School Dean J. Rich Leonard is leading deans from more than 50 U.S. law schools to examine and address legal issues in policing and public safety.

The American Bar Association (ABA) has announced the formation of a Legal Education Police Practices Consortium to contribute to this national effort that will include conduct, oversight and the evolving nature of police work. Leonard is one of only 10 law school deans who will lead on the Consortium’s advisory committee. Campbell Law is the only North Carolina law school to join the Consortium at this time.

 “I was one of about six law school leaders who came up with the idea for the Consortium,” Leonard explained. “We were all trying to do our own thing and realized when we started talking that we could have a much more significant impact if the law schools would work together to address this systemic issue.”

The advisory committee deans come from diverse backgrounds who represent a broad array of law schools in terms of geography, school types (private and public) and size.

In addition to Leonard, the other deans on the advisory committee are Craig Boise of Syracuse University College of Law; Danielle Conway of Penn State (Dickinson Law); Madeleine Landrieu of Loyola New Orleans College of Law; Tamara Lawson of St. Thomas University School of Law; Marc Miller of the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law; Hari Osofsky of Penn State Law (University Park); Andy Perlman of Suffolk University Law School; Michael Hunter Schwartz of the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law; and Anthony Varona of the University of Miami School of Law.

The Consortium plans to leverage the ABA’s expertise in developing model police practices and that of interested ABA-accredited law schools to collaborate on projects to develop and implement better police practices throughout the United States. To date, 52 law schools have already agreed to participate in the Consortium for the next five years.

Drawing on the geographic diversity of the ABA, the participating law schools and their networks, the Consortium will advance the widespread adoption of model police practices and initiate other projects designed to support effective policing, promote racial equity in the criminal justice system and eliminate tactics that are racially motivated or have a disparate impact based on race.

“The ABA has the ability to bring together diverse groups to address these problems and the duty to act to help bring racial equality to our criminal justice system,” ABA President Patricia Lee Refo said. “The consortium will engage law students and legal experts from around the country in studying and forming solutions to help improve policing practices in our communities.”

The Consortium will be organized and housed within the ABA’s Criminal Justice Section and will have input from and access to the full and broad range of the ABA’s expertise and programs. Each participating law school will develop opportunities for one or more of its law students to engage in Consortium activities. Law student participant assignments may include, but are not limited to:

  • promoting existing ABA policies at the local, state and national levels;
  • developing new policy for potential consideration by the ABA House of Delegates;
  • engaging with police departments and local, state and national leaders on police practices;
  • conducting research to support scholarship related to the Consortium goals;
  • providing support to public commentary and advocacy (research for op-eds, blogs and articles); and
  • developing model curricula for law schools related to the Consortium goals. 

Perlman, who was also involved in the creation of the Consortium, explained that “law schools around the nation are looking for ways to make a positive impact on police practices. The idea behind the Consortium is that we can achieve a great deal by acting collectively and in collaboration with a national leader on criminal justice issues like the American Bar Association. We look forward to working together to make a difference in our communities and nationally.”


 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. In 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.


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