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September 18, 2012
Professor Essary Named Recipient of 2012 Women of Justice Award

RALEIGH, N.C. –Campbell Law professor and former dean Melissa Essary has been named as a recipient of a 2012 Women of Justice award. Essary will receive her award during a gala ceremony on November 15, and will also be featured in a special section of North Carolina Lawyers Weekly.

Hosted by North Carolina Lawyers Weekly, the Women of Justice Awards annually recognize women across the state of North Carolina who have demonstrated leadership, integrity, service, sacrifice, and accomplishment in improving the quality of justice and exemplifying the highest ideals of the legal profession.

“This is a very meaningful award, and I am honored to receive it,” said Essary. “I chose to teach law and ultimately become dean of Campbell Law with the hope that I might impact lives for the better. I personally know several of my fellow award recipients and I’m humbled to be in their company.”

Essary marks one of just two recipients of the Legal Scholar Award, given to women faculty members or administrators at area law schools who fulfill the aforementioned ideals through their own work with the justice system, through their research or scholarship, or through teaching and inspiring others.

“This honor is well-deserved,” said Campbell Law Interim Dean Keith Faulkner. “Melissa guided our law school as an extraordinary and visionary leader during her six years as dean, and her impact on the law school is immeasurable. We are fortunate that she continues to serve in the classroom as a member of our committed faculty.”

Essary joined Campbell Law School as its fourth dean in July 2006 following a 16-year career as a professor at Baylor University School of Law. Essary served as Campbell Law Dean for six years before moving into a full-time faculty position in July 2012. While dean, she led the initiative to move Campbell Law School from the University’s main campus in Buies Creek to Raleigh. The move has given Campbell Law students tremendous opportunities to serve as externs and to perform pro bono work. The law school has partnered with organizations across the state to improve our system of justice. Campbell Law itself is a forum for the free exchange of ideas, hosting legal and non-profit organizations for public events, debates, and forums. Under Essary’s leadership, a Senior Law Clinic was established to serve the elderly poor, and a student pro bono initiative launched. 

Essary has been appointed by the North Carolina Chief Justice to a three-year term on the Committee on Professionalism. She also has been appointed to a second term as Chair of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Law School Liaison Committee. An active member of the Raleigh community, Essary serves on the board of directors of the Triangle/Eastern NC chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and its development committee and on the planning committee for the Executive Women’s Luncheon for the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.  She has served as Vice President of the Board of Governors of the North Carolina Bar Association, as well as on the Board of Directors of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and its Government Affairs Committee, and the Executive Board of Directors of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance.  She also has served on the Strategic Planning Committee of the Public Service Committee of the Wake County Bar Association, helping to create an annual high school “Rule of Law” program held at Campbell Law.

Since joining Campbell Law, Essary has been honored by N.C. Business Leader media for her work and leadership in the Raleigh region, including recognition as a Triangle Area Woman Extraordinaire, Business Impact Leader, and Education Impact Leader. She has received the Women of Achievement Award from the General Federation of Women's Clubs of North Carolina in recognition of her professional and community work and serving as a role model for future generations.



Since its founding in 1976, the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law at Campbell University has developed lawyers who possess moral conviction, social compassion and professional competence, and who view the law as a calling to serve others. 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 3,400 alumni, including more than 2,400 who reside and work in North Carolina. For 26 years, Campbell Law’s overall record of success on the North Carolina Bar Exam has been unsurpassed by any other North Carolina law school. In September 2009, Campbell Law relocated to a state-of-the-art building in downtown Raleigh. For more information, visit




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