In 1979, the Campbell Law Observer was founded as one of only two legal publications at Campbell Law School, and the legal periodical provided a media platform–albeit entirely in paper format and produced semi-annually–to address emerging issues in law and public policy for the legal discourse community in North Carolina.
The Founding Editor Hugh Franklin created a plaque to recognize the service and dedications of successive Editors of the Law Observer. When we assumed the Editorship at the beginning of this academic year, the original walnut plaque was worn and faded, its 40 nameplates nearly full with mismatched fonts and sizes for its Editors-in-Chief.
From its founding, the Campbell Law Observer was distributed exclusively to the more than 20,000 lawyers of the North Carolina Bar. While the publication was established to address emerging legal issues, the range and complexity of issues has rapidly expanded since its humble founding.
Over the years, the technological revolution, viz the Information Age, coupled with the effects of globalization has fundamentally transformed the traditional practice of law. Under the stewardship of John Hardin, the Campbell Law Observer transitioned in March of 2012 from its traditional newspaper to an entirely online format, which has broadened the base of readers and substantially increased readership. The publication schedule has also transitioned from monthly publications to a year-round schedule with articles published weekly.
Our online format enables us to track readership including location, page views, and the most popular articles. While the legal content has retained its traditional focus on North Carolina law and public policy, our readership has expanded to nearly every corner of the globe from Raleigh to London to Bangkok and Madrid.
In addition, our new format has provided a more interactive platform for readers to connect with staff writers and editors, which has greater fulfilled our mission to create a legal discourse community. Over the past year, lawyers and non-lawyers alike have communicated with individual staff writers and editors in our own marketplace of ideas.
Members of the legal community have contributed articles in their respective areas of expertise, and law professors have enthusiastically become involved with this publication. Professor Woody Woodruff publishes a musings on evidence column entitled “Prove It!” and Adjunct Professor J.D. Hensarling contributed an article about the attorney-client privilege in E-Discovery cases. Further, Professor Kevin Lee plans to publish an article on law, ethics, and technology. This synergistic collaboration exemplifies the intellectual heart of Campbell Law.
A few weeks ago, we recommissioned our plaque in deep brown walnut with uniform font and lettering on each nameplate. While the role of print media has given way to online publications, our restored plaque remains a mainstay of print media in spite of the technological revolution. As we pass the helm to a new Editor-in-Chief, the Campbell Law Observer is poised to remain the vanguard legal discourse community for addressing emerging legal issues in North Carolina and beyond.