Name: Leary Davis

Title: Professor of Law

School: Campbell University School of Law

Mailing Address:

P. O. Box 279

Buies Creek, NC 27506

Phone: 910-893-1772


Home Page:


Summary Description:

This year over sixty diverse lawyers will mentor, tell stories, facilitate small-group discussions, serve as senior partners in simulated law firms, and provide feedback to Campbell University School of Laws 118 first-year students as part of its Professionalism Development Program (the Program). The students will experience role-based professional dilemmas vicariously and discuss them with each other and with practicing lawyers, then experience the roles personally in a multi-day simulation, and build upon their newly acquired lessons of experience through subsequent interactions with a host of interesting lawyers and clients.

The one-credit Program runs from first-year Orientation to the end of the spring semester in the sequence described below:


Campbell allocates three orientation sessions to the Program. The first session provides an introduction to the Program, explores concepts and definitions of professionalism, distinguishes professionalism from rules of professional conduct, and introduces two models. The first model, of the legal professionalization process, systematically orders lawyering skills, knowledge and personal attributes over four stages of development (see optional supporting materials).

Students are then encouraged to utilize consciously a second action-observation-reflection model to facilitate development of the knowledge, skills and personal attributes essential to their professional development.

The second session provides the only traditional lecture of the Program, an address on professionalism by the Chief Judge of the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

The final session emphasizes the centrality of competence among lists of professional values, and of knowledge of self and others as keys to constructive utilization of skill and knowledge. The MBTI(R) is utilized as a self-assessment tool, and small group exercises based on personality type demonstrate the constructive utilization of difference within the profession.

Fall Semester:

The students meet for two hours every other week, once to talk with Walter Bennett about readings from THE LAWYERS MYTH; four times to review and discuss in small groups and then with visiting lawyers videotaped vignettes of lawyer performances as fiduciaries, advocates, interviewers, counselors and negotiators, utilizing vicariously the action-observation-reflection model; once to review with State Bar Executive Director Tom Lunsford videotapes of disciplined lawyers; and finally in small groups of ten to twelve to discuss with attorney-facilitators ethical dilemmas they might face as law students.


Students get to practice the roles of fiduciary, advocate, interviewer, counselor and negotiator in simulated firms of ten lawyers in the multi-day Travis Simulation developed for Columbias third-year Profession of Law Course. Each firm has as a senior partner one of North Carolinas leading family lawyers. The firms negotiate property settlements in a marital dissolution and experience the ethical dilemmas and conflicts of interest practicing lawyers routinely confront.

Spring Semester:

Diverse lawyers share the challenges and opportunities of practices in various settings and locales, the opportunities for pro bono and public interest contributions, the obligation of lawyers to provide civic leadership, and the rewards of such service. The semester concludes with sessions with clients, including those who have experienced the murder of family members, and their lawyers.


Program History:

In its present iteration the required first-year Professionalism Development Program was first offered in 2000. It has been offered annually since then to a total of nearly 500 students. However, from its founding in 1976 Campbell has continuously stressed professionalism in a required first year course or program. For 22 years founding dean Leary Davis taught a series of required first-year professional responsibility courses utilizing several different formats. Since the early 1980s Roger Smith, Jim Williams, and Tom Lunsford have been sharing with these classes their perspectives on representing criminal defendants, the challenges of representing civil clients involved in questionable business transactions, and the professions disciplinary process.

After leaving the deanship in 1986 Davis developed a four-credit first-year course that combined professional responsibility and agency and partnership. It included weekly laboratories incorporating self-assessment workshops, skills exercises, and presentations by Smith, Williams and Lunsford and a panel of lawyers representing different segments of the bar. The syllabus for this course was included in ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, Report of the Professionalism Committee, Teaching and Learning Professionalism, pp. 53-57 (1996), along with an explanation of a Deans Professionalism Lecture Series for first-year students initiated by Campbell dean Pat Hetrick in 1993 (pp. 50-53).

By 1999 the Deans Professionalism Lecture Series was meeting sporadically, largely co-opted by student organizations that desired compelled attendance for their programs, and the faculty did not believe the formal study of professional responsibility was being stressed sufficiently after the first year. In response, a required professional responsibility course was added to the second-year curriculum, and Davis assumed control of an expanded Professionalism Lecture Series, structuring the first semester around the interplay of lawyering roles, skills and ethical dilemmas, and the second semester around perspectives offered by visiting lawyers.

When the North Carolina Chief Justices Commission on Professionalisms Mel Wright contacted Davis about a Campbell collaboration, Davis suggested they and Professor Catherine Dunham adapt Columbias third-year Profession of Law Course Travis Simulation for Campbells first-year students. With the assistance of a dozen North Carolina practicing lawyers, they made the simulation a dazzling intersession success, for which the first-semester professionalism roles sessions had provided an excellent foundation.

The latest quantum leap in the continuous improvement of the Program, expanded participation of practicing lawyers in the fall semester, was stimulated by ideas in two books, Walter Bennetts THE LAWYERS MYTH and VISA founder Dee Hocks BIRTH OF THE CHAORDIC AGE. Bennetts ideas flowed from his experiences in directing oral histories at UNC-CH School of Law and Hocks from his reflection on why VISA had succeeded. Together they present a case that the diversity and complexity that appear to create a divided, fragmented profession can be a source of synergy as well as of conflict. Bennett and other lawyers now come to Campbell to rekindle the campfire, demonstrating that the profession is indeed a network to which we are drawn by shared needs, values, attitudes and interests, and stressing what unites rather than divides us.


Confidential Items:

2 items


Expanded Program Description (Optional):


Introduce and utilize an action-observation-reflection spiral of experience model in students professional development.

Provide, largely free from the stress and competitiveness of typical class preparation and performance, a meaningful and enjoyable introduction to the legal profession throughout the first-year of law school by recreating the traditional but disappearing story-telling campfire that emphasizes the nature and importance of professionalism, within the context of a large, diverse and supportive network of lawyers.

Develop the concept of the legal profession as a network of individuals drawn together by shared needs, values, attitudes and interests to maintain and enhance our system of justice.

Help students appreciate the diversity of the profession, the synergy created by that diversity, and the broad range of satisfying careers available to them.

Orient students to, and have them experience the professional tensions inherent in, lawyering roles as fiduciary, advocate, counselor, interviewer and negotiator through substantial experiential learning opportunities.

Have students distinguish professionalism from legal ethics, testing the idea that rules of professional conduct are based on fundamental concepts of right and wrong.

Provide a strong foundation for more traditional professional responsibility courses in the second and third years of study.

Inform students of the latest research concerning trends in the profession

Introduce students to and involve students with the organized bar and the bar as an informal network

Demonstrate to students, through the lives and stories of the diverse network of lawyers with whom the students interact in the program, that their attitudes toward their work, and not the class ranks attained as part of that work, will determine their success in the profession.

Help students relate program experiences to their educational goals and career choices.

Monitor, draw from and contribute to the excellent professionalism programs of other law schools.


Combination of story-telling, clinical simulations and feedback, leadership development workshops, video vignettes, small group breakouts and reports, journaling, and seminar discussions


See Goals and Objectives above and Supplemental Information Comments


The work of Dee Hock and Walter Bennett is discussed in Part 2, History. Hock believes ideal organizations mimic networks in nature, self-governing organisms whose members harmoniously blend chaos and order, competing fiercely but cooperating intensely in an environment of shared information. Relying on chaos theory, Hock might well respond to Mary Ann Glendons observation that the American legal profession was on the edge of chaos that the profession should be on the edge of chaos. In nature the strongest networks are the most complex and diverse. If perceived fragmentation of the bar is viewed as the equivalent of deconstruction by critical theorists, deconstruction should be merely an intermediate step in the creative process, which can viewed as taking an idea or institution apart so that its elements can be put back together better. Fragmentation of the profession into different bars or into gender, ethnic or industry groups can be viewed as the creation of diversity that, with open communication between segments, can be the source of synergy and better problem-solving for a reconstituted, united legal profession that competes fiercely but cooperates intensely to maintain and enhance our system of justice.

The Program is structured to move students quickly into the first two of the three phases of becoming experts. In Phase I, Thought (or Cognition), as novices they think about what it is that is being done in lawyering vignettes. They acquire knowledge about what actions are appropriate in which circumstances from instruction, observation and reflections about their own performances. In Phase II, Association, during the Travis Simulation they practice the processes about which they obtained knowledge in Phase I, while thinking about the processes, until they become efficient and proficient in their utilization. Though they will not reach Phase III, Automaticity, in which they over-practice making professionalism choices to the point that they can be done automatically without thinking, they will have developed a framework that will expedite that process. See Paul E. Johnson, Michael G. Johnson, and Raleigh K. Little, Expertise in Trial Advocacy: Some Considerations for Inquiry into its Nature and Development, 7 Campbell L. Rev. 119 (1984).

The Programs concept of the profession as a network of individuals drawn by shared needs, values, attitudes, interests and cognitive and behavioral preferences is consistent with Edgar Scheins concept of career anchors that draw individuals to appropriate vocations. Schein, Career Dynamics: Matching Individual and Organizational Needs, 124-172 (1978). Comparisons of MBTI samples of law students and general populations and of Campbell Interest and Skills Survey (CISS) Law/Politics interest scale scores of students at UNC-CH, Campbell and Columbia also support this concept. The CISS comparisons and David Campbells development of the norms for the CISS Law/Politics scale also support the proposition that lawyers are drawn to maintain and enhance the system of justice.

The CISS shows that lawyers and law students are interested not only in law and politics but also in leadership and public speaking. The Programs Action-Observation-Reflection model comes from research at the Center for Creative Leadership, and the Campbell curriculum draws on this research to provide developmental experiences that expedite the progression of individuals through the Professionalization Process to Stage IV, the Integrated Professional.

The Program relies upon Milton Rokeachs definition of values in examining espoused core values of the profession. It also relies substantially upon the empirical research of IS-POL-SED and LAWLEAD, research and service centers housed at Campbell.


See Supporting Materials, Comments: Overall Program. Alumni often remark to faculty about Roger Smiths Four Rules, Jim Williams smell test, and other lessons from the Program; attorneys participating in the Program are enthusiastic; and Campbell alumni appear to rise to positions of civic leadership to a greater extent than would be predicted. However, these examples are merely anecdotal. Even if correlated, examples of civic leadership could spring from other factors.


Supporting Materials:

1. Syllabus

2. Model of the Legal Professionalization Process (11x17 Excel spreadsheet)

3. Action-Observation-Reflection Model

4. Connection to the Network.. Winter 2003 NC State Bar J., pp. 28-30

5. Selected Comments re overall program (confidential comment removed)

6. Selected Comments re Travis simulation

7. Sample State of the Profession Subgroup Comparison Report (confidential)

8. MBTI Law Firm Exercises Nos. 1 and 2

URL web addresses: documents that the Program
won the ABA's Gambrell Award in 2003. is a revised homepage for a site under
construction for LAWLEAD/NIELLP, a 501(c)(3) organization at Campbell that
focuses on leadership and professionalism and trends in the profession. is the Professionalism
definition page of the original LAWLEAD/NIELLP website that is being revised.