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August 8, 2014
Dean Leonard to receive Leaders in the Law Award from N.C. Lawyers Weekly

RALEIGH, N.C. - Campbell Law Dean J. Rich Leonard has been selected to receive a 2014 Leaders in the Law Award from North Carolina Lawyers Weekly. Leonard will be recognized at an awards luncheon on September 19 at the Raleigh Marriott City Center.

“I am humbled to receive this award,” said Leonard. “At each and every turn in my career, I’ve been blessed to work alongside professionals that strive to reach their full potential each and every day. This award belongs to those peers and colleagues as much as it does to me.”

Since he began serving as dean of Campbell Law in July 2013, Leonard has initiated a plethora of beneficial and impactful initiatives that have improved the institution. Under his guidance the law school vastly increased its already generous scholarship program, performed a top-to-bottom review of its curriculum, identified nine specific practice areas, partnered with leading local law firms to sponsor competitive advocacy program teams, and began exploring the expansion of clinical programs, including a bankruptcy clinic. Campbell Law has also announced its Campbell Flex admission program, Campbell Law Connections mentorship program, and Certificate in Patent Law initiatives under Leonard’s direction.

Prior to Campbell Law, Leonard served as a United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina since 1992, acting as Chief Judge from 1999 through 2006. Before that, he was a United States Magistrate Judge (1981-92) and Clerk of Court of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina (1979-92). For more than a decade Leonard also acted as a consultant to the U.S. Department of State, working with judiciaries in many developing countries, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa.

Leonard’s professional associations include appointments to the Board of Governors for the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges (2008-11); Fellow at the American College of Bankruptcy (2005–present); and leadership roles with the Wake County Bar Association and North Carolina Bar Association, among other legal organizations.

His judicial work and expertise have earned him both state and national recognition. In 2011, the American Bar Association awarded Leonard with the Robert B. Yegge Award for Outstanding Contribution to Judicial Administration. He is the 1992 recipient of the Director’s Award for Outstanding Leadership in the Federal Judiciary. In 2011, he was selected as the editor-in-chief of the American Bankruptcy Law Journal.

Leonard has also been active in the classroom. He has worked as an adjunct professor for North Carolina Central University School of Law (1985-86; 1995-98); UNC School of Law (1994-95); and, most recently, Campbell Law (2009-13). In 2012, Campbell Law’s Delta Theta Phi Fraternity presented Leonard with the Judge Robinson O. Everett Award for Legal Excellence.

A native of Davidson County, Leonard is a 1971 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead Scholar. He earned a master's degree in education from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1973, and then earned a law degree from Yale Law School in 1976.

Dean Leonard is married to Dr. Whitney Jenkins Cain. He is the proud father of three sons and two daughters.

In addition to Leonard, Judge Paul Ridgeway, a 1986 Campbell Law graduate, will also receive an award.

Since its founding in 1976, Campbell Law School 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 3,650 alumni, including more than 2,500 who reside and work in North Carolina. In September 2009, Campbell Law relocated to a state-of-the-art building in downtown Raleigh. For more information, visit




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