Campbell Law School boasts a rich and storied tradition of developing lawyers who possess moral conviction, social compassion, professional competence, and a view of using the practice of law as a calling to serve others. The clinical programs at Campbell Law help students to build upon and practice that calling, and the Restorative Justice Clinic (RJC) has allowed students to make a tremendous impact in the local community.
RJC receives referrals from juvenile intake counselors, juvenile court, the local school system and private individuals who have been affected by crime or disruptive behavior.
RJC strives to bring victims and offenders together using restorative justice practices in an effort to foster collaborative healing, rather than specifically seeking punishment. Campbell Law students engage all involved parties in dialogue to address the specifics of a violation, how it occurred, why it occurred, and what happened as a result. The project aims to discover how people and communities are hurt as a result of crime, and seeks to find the best solution to repair the damage that has been done.
Approximately 85 percent of cases referred to the RJC are successfully mediated, resulting in both parties coming together for a face-to-face meeting to address and satisfy their needs as a result of the incident. Less than five percent of juveniles that successfully completed the process between 2004 and 2010 reoffended, while 25 percent of juveniles that did not complete the process later faced other charges.
Professor Jon Powell, a 1998 graduate of Campbell Law, serves as the director of the program. In late 2011 he was appointed to the juvenile planning committee of the North Carolina Governor’s Crime Commission. As a committee member, Powell played a role in advising on all issues of juvenile crime across the state, as well as where federal dollars should be applied to address issues within the state.
“Our students learn a great deal of what I think the true calling of a lawyer is, and that is to help people find the best solutions to serious problems,” said Powell. “Hopefully we do this in a way that makes us all better for having gone through the process.”
Campbell Law students who participate in the clinic learn about the traditional legal system, restorative justice, and the skills needed to perform successful face-to-face meetings in actual cases. Throughout the semester, students serve as facilitators for the clinic, bringing affected parties together and working to obtain positive results for both sides.
In 2007, the clinic was recognized by the North Carolina Governor’s Crime Commission as one of its leading programs for “Outstanding dedication and achievement in service to the community in the area of Juvenile Justice.” In 2011, the clinic and Campbell Law hosted the third National Conference on Restorative Justice and attracted leading scholars, practitioners and participants in the field of restorative justice from around the world.
The program was initially established as the Juvenile Justice Project and was renamed the RJC in the fall of 2015.
Contact the Clinic
Jon Powell, Director
Restorative Justice Clinic