Kiwanis learns about law school from one of its greatest fans

The Lillington chapter of the Kiwanis Club was reminded of one of Harnett County’s greatest assets recently when Willis P. Whichard spoke of the many accomplishments of Campbell University’s Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law. Whicard is dean of the law school. “You know that you have a school right in your own community that has placed first or second in bar passage rate 14 out of the last 15 years and that produces a good product.” Whichard said. “The lawyers and judges we furnish the state and the nation are known for their ethics and accomplishments.” Whichard went on to summarize the numerous honors the law school has garnered during the last 30 years, including the Emil Gumpert Award, one of the most prestigious awards given to any American college for excellence in the teaching of trial advocacy. Having been made aware of the award’s importance through personal experience, Whichard commented, “I had been hired by a Canadian law firm as an expert witness on North Carolina law in some litigation involving tobacco. In their discussions with me, the firm wanted to know if we had won the Gumpert award. I learned then that the award is even more prestigious than I had realized.” In 2003, the law school was recognized for its work in the area of Professionalism with the E. Smythe Gambrell award, presented by the American Bar Association during its annual meeting. Earlier that same year, the school met the criteria for a grant from the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism (CJCP), established by the North Carolina Supreme Court, to enhance its curriculum for law students on professionalism issues. The law school has also performed outstandingly in appellate moot court competitions, placing in the final four and winning an award for Best Respondent’s Brief at the Information Technology and Privacy Law competition at the John Marshall School of Law in Chicago and reaching the final eight in the Craven Moot Court competition at the University of North Carolina Law School at Chapel Hill. In addition, Campbell teams have made the regional finals in the American Bar Association’s National Appellate Advocacy competition, the Elite Eight in the Prince Evidence Moot Court competition, won the regional competition and placed fourth nationally in the Client Counseling competition. On one occasion, Campbell had two teams finish in the final eight in the Buffalo/Niagra Trial competition in New York. There is also the annual Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot in Vienna, Austria, from which the law school has taken home honors four out of the six years it has competed. “The world is moving towards arbitration instead of litigation,” said Whichard, “and today’s students will conduct their careers in a global economy. Campbell’s arbitration program has added an important dimension to the experience and education of its students and to the worldwide reputation of the law school.” This year, a team member won an honorable mention for Best Oralist at the Vienna competition, and Campbell students have also received honorable mention for Best Claimant’s Memorandum and Best Respondent’s Memorandum in the past. “This means that Campbell students place in the top 5-7 percent out of 600-700 students from all over the world,” Whichard said. He also noted that this marks the first year a student from the law school has participated in an overseas graduate degree program. Melissa Walker, a participant in the Vienna competition, pursued her master’s degree in international commercial law at the University of London, Queen Mary. She will graduate this summer. Willis P.Whichard, who has held the position of dean of the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law since 1999, will retire on June 30. He is a former State Supreme Court justice and the only North Carolinian in the history of the state to serve in both houses of the Legislature and on both of the state’s appellate courts

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