U.S. News ranks Campbell Law among best for trial advocacy three years in a row

Photo of 2022 South Texas Mock Trial Challenge Champions

RALEIGH — Campbell Law School’s trial advocacy program once again ranks among the best in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report’s latest release of Top Law Schools on March 29.

The 16th place ranking marks Campbell Law’s third appearance in the Top 20 of the U.S. News list for trial advocacy programs in the past three years. Campbell Law is tied with Georgetown University, Northwestern University and University of the Pacific law schools.

In 2021, the law school’s advocacy program was tied at 19th and in 2020 it was tied at 15th. In 2017, Campbell Law tied for 21st best in advocacy, according to the ranking, making its fourth appearance in the past five years.

“Advocacy is our hallmark, and I am always delighted to have our accomplishments recognized,” said Campbell Law Dean J. Rich Leonard. “This announcement comes on the heels of our Campbell Law advocates winning the South Texas Mock Trial Challenge competition so it couldn’t be more fitting.”

Campbell Law is the lone North Carolina school in the Top 25 of the ranking.

“In stepping in to the role as director of Competitive Advocacy, my primary goal was to solidify Campbell Law as a powerhouse in advocacy,” said Tatiana Terry ’19, the law school’s first director of Competitive Advocacy.  “I am immensely proud of what our students have been able to achieve this year and I am equally as excited to see what next year has to offer.”

Terry is a former award-winning student advocate coached to several national championships, including the Top Gun National Mock Trial Competition, by current Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Dan Tilly, who served as the law school’s first director of advocacy.  

“Campbell Law has a long and proud tradition of training lawyer advocates for entering the legal profession and for being among the most fierce advocates whether in mock trial, moot court, client counseling or negotiations competitions,” Tilly added. “Every lawyer who graduates with a Campbell Law degree can walk into any courtroom and litigate with confidence. That is a hallmark of the Campbell Law degree. I am immensely proud to see our reputation confirmed as one of the finest advocacy training law schools in the nation.” 

Campbell Law’s historically strong competitive advocacy program has reaped numerous awards in recent years, including six national titles in 2019 alone. In Spring 2022, preLaw Magazine once again ranked Campbell Law among its Top Law Schools for Trial Advocacy.

Campbell Law ranks eighth in Fordham University School of Law’s Trial Competition Performance Ranking (TCPR) for the 2016-2021 academic years. Campbell Law is the only North Carolina law school to make the five-year list’s Top 10.

“Our advocacy program isn’t just about winning trophies, but how we really are building an advocacy family,” Terry added.

Inside the classroom, Campbell Law has a tradition of training lawyers to be persuasive advocates for their respective clients. Standing behind the commitment to advocacy teaching is the premise that every lawyer will advocate for something in her or his role as an attorney-counselor.

One of the secrets to Campbell Law’s success is that advocacy training begins in students’ second year and continues in their third year with required offerings in Evidence and Trial Advocacy paired with an array of upper-level electives tailored to civil, criminal and alternative dispute practices.

In addition to receiving experiential training, every Campbell Law student is required to learn the doctrinal law governing the admissibility of evidence in the courtroom by taking Evidence in either their third or fourth semester. Campbell Law’s required Trial Advocacy course is divided into large lecture and small performance sections. Students learn legal concepts and practice theories collectively before dividing into small group sections within our class courtrooms for performing individual trial components. The course is constructed to more closely reflect current litigation and the rigors of legal practice. While not all students will end up practicing in a litigation environment, every effort is made to ensure that students develop the skills necessary to become successful practitioners.

“It’s the method by which we teach a set of skills,” Leonard recently told Attorney at Law magazine. “I tell students, ‘I don’t care if you use them in the courtroom, the boardroom, or a PTA meeting. We are teaching you to analyze a set of facts and make a presentation in your client’s best interest.’ Judges tell me that they can tell when a Campbell graduate stands up to make their first argument because they know where to sit, when to stand, how to address the court, how to organize a presentation, and they do it with confidence and skill.”

Aside from competitive success, the G. Eugene Boyce Center of Advocacy was established in September 2015 with an $8 million-plus gift. The center comprises three competitive courtrooms, conference rooms and a suite of adjoining offices. More than $450,000 in start-of-the-art technology upgrades have been added to the center since it opened.


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 celebrated 45 years of graduating legal leaders and a dozen years of being located in a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of North Carolina’s Capital City.