N.C. judges pursue an LL.M. degree through a unique partnership

RALEIGH — Two North Carolina distinguished judges — April C. Wood and Andrew T. Heath — who enrolled in the joint Campbell Law  School and Nottingham University School of Law program to earn their Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Judicial Studies are paving the way for others who are interested in choosing this unique path.

Wood joined the Court of Appeals after serving as a District Court Judge in the N.C. Judicial District 22B for 18 years. She was first elected to the district court bench in 2002 and to the Court of Appeals in 2020. 
Health was appointed earlier this month by Chief Justice Paul Newby as director of the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts (NCAOC). In his new role, he will manage and oversee the administrative services provided to the Judicial Branch’s more than 6,400 employees and hundreds of courthouses and facilities in every county of the state. 
This novel degree is a valuable investment for many, including Wood, Heath and others. It is earned through a collaboration between Campbell Law and Nottingham Law schools. The key benefit of this type of program is that the LL.M. in legal practice gives students as well as judges and attorneys an opportunity to focus heavily on one primary legal issue. 
Campbell Law School is distinct as it is the only law school in North Carolina that has partnered with another leading law school located in the U.K. to offer this LL.M. program. While it is a relatively newer program, it is gaining a strong reputation as an up-and-coming leading LL.M. program with many advantages including the opportunity for in-depth study of a narrower area of law. 

In May 2019, Nottingham Law School conferred four degrees on the inaugural class of LL.M. graduates, who were hooded by Matthew Homewood, head of Nottingham’s postgraduate programmes. 

“Individuals are beginning to understand more and more how valuable this degree is and how it will allow them to develop transferable skills and in-depth knowledge of specific legal areas,” explained Campbell Law Dean J. Rich Leonard. “Being a former United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina, I believe this is particularly appealing to those that have their sights set on being a judge and going down this path.”
Nottingham Law offers enrolled students the ability to utilize Nottingham’s robust online resources and travel abroad to meet face-to-face with faculty and fellow students, although this has been postponed due to COVID-19. In the past, students would make a two-day trip to Nottingham Law School to meet with their mentors and present their dissertation topics. They then work remotely with their mentors during the two years it takes to complete the dissertation and earn their LL.M. degree. 

To learn more about the program visit .


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 4,200 alumni, who make their home in nearly all 50 states and beyond. In 2021, Campbell Law is celebrating 45 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.