Law Professor Melissa Essary participates on SEALS Panel

Photo of Melissa Essary

RALEIGH — Campbell Law Dean Emerita and Professor Melissa A. Essary participated on a Supreme Court and Legislative panel as part of The Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS) annual meeting on July 31. 

The panel examined U.S. Supreme Court decisions and legislative actions dealing with corporate, administrative, labor and tax law. Essary provided an overview of important Supreme Court cases in the areas of labor and employment during the high court’s last term. This year’s meeting was held virtually with an audience made up of attendees from the U.S. and around the world. 

SEALS is a regional association of law schools that hosts an annual meeting which brings together scholars from across the world. Numerous panels and groups gather to discuss cutting-edge topics that are key for both scholarly works and teachings that cover the breadth of legal issues. 

Essary speaks regularly on the topics of leadership and employment law. She is scheduled to present on Sept. 15 at the 2020 Vision for Leadership Conference co-sponsored by the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) and the Baylor Law Review. As the only law professor among the panelists, she will analyze her role of leadership in legal education today. 

Graduating with the highest honors from the University of Texas, Essary then went on to earn her law degree from Baylor Law School finishing second in her class. She has taught courses focusing on employment discrimination law and torts since 1990, after practicing law for five years. 

In 2006, Essary moved from her native Texas to become the first female dean at Campbell Law School. Under her leadership, she moved the school to its new home in Raleigh in 2009. She returned to full-time teaching at Campbell Law in 2012. 

Essary currently serves at the national level as a site accreditation team member for the American Bar Association (ABA), ensuring that law schools meet ABA accreditation standards. She has served on site teams six times and chaired the past three of those teams. She also has been involved in the North Carolina Bar Association (NCBA) in various leadership roles since moving to the Old North State.

In 2019, the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) appointed her to serve as a member of its new Emerging Markets and Innovation Committee. For the past four years, she served on the LSAC’s Finance and Legal Affairs Committee. Essary serves on the Board of Directors for the North Carolina Justice Center, a leading research and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring the economic security of every household in the state. Most recently, she was appointed to the N.C. Innocence Inquiry Commission, which hears claims of actual innocence.