9.28.2016

Student Wins Honorable Mention in 2016 Religious Liberty Student Writing Contest

Regent University School of Law student Nevin Beiler ’17 earned an honorable mention in the 2016 Religious Liberty Student Writing Competition, sponsored by the J. Reuben Clark Law Society and the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University.

Photo courtesy of Nevin Beiler.
Beiler’s paper, “Deciphering Title VII & Executive Order 13672: To What Extent Are Religious Organizations Free to Discriminate in Their Hiring Practices,” was recognized among winners from schools such as Harvard Law School, George Mason School of Law and University of Virginia School of Law.

According to the 2016 J. Reuben Clark Law Society Writing Competition Committee, this year marked the largest number of participants in the competition’s seven years. Each paper was reviewed by a panel of nine judges – “legal practitioners and academics.”

Beiler was inspired to write on the topic following an internship at the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) in the summer between his 1L and 2L year. He traveled with one of the organization’s representatives to a conference in D.C. and attended a conference on a similar issue for federal contractors.

“Turns out, it’s a big Title VII issue, not just a federal contractor issue,” said Beiler. “So I merged the two issues and wrote about them simultaneously.”

Beiler explained that Title VII is a long-standing, widely accepted non-discrimination law that has been in effect since the 1970s saying that employers cannot discriminate on the basis of race, religion or gender.

“The issue that’s come up now is the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), under the current administration, is interpreting sex as it applies to gender as well as sexual orientation,” said Beiler. “Now they’re saying Title VII may not discriminate on sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The latest EEOC ruling states that federal contractors can’t discriminate, but the untested question lies in whether it now applies to religious organizations – a question that Beiler’s paper explored.

After graduation, Beiler plans to open his own practice, mostly focusing on the transactional side of the law, but also, perhaps representing churches and non-profit organizations. What he’s learned in his research will help him future advise these organizations on their hiring processes.

“It’s been fantastic, the Christian mission of the school is really attractive and I feel like I’m getting a great legal education,” said Beiler. “Regent has a great writing program, it really does. I need to give it some credit for my writing success.”

Learn more about Regent University’s School of Law.

By Brett Wilson Tubbs

9.22.2016

Regent University Students Celebrate Constitution Day

September 17 marks the nationwide observance of Constitution Day – a day that celebrates the signing of the all-American document at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787.

Dr. Jim Davids.
Regent University School of Law (LAW) students, faculty and staff commemorated the historic event on Friday, September 16, by gathering to hear lectures moderated by Associate Dean Natt Gantt. Regent LAW’s Federalist Society, a student group that focuses on the founding principles of the United States, sponsored the event.

The celebration included two lectures from LAW associate professor, Dr. Jim Davids, and assistant professor Tessa Dysart.

“The Constitution is an incredible document. In under 5,000 words it established three branches of government, separation of powers, and an ingenious system of checks and balances that has survived over 200 years,” said Dysart. “While it certainly had it flaws, our country has been able to rectify many of those through amendment. On Constitution Day we can celebrate the document, and we can criticize its shortcomings. We are blessed to live in a country with a Constitution that permits in both word and application a robust debate about our governing document.”

Dysart explained that Constitutional Law is a difficult course, and that it can be difficult for students to fully understand how the Constitution was and should be interpreted.

“And it’s a privilege to help my students work through these complicated issues,” said Dysart.

Learn more about Regent University School of Law.

By Brett W. Tubbs 

9.21.2016

Teaching Students to Be Lawyers Unto Others, Not Themselves

Teaching has always been on the horizon for Regent University School of Law professor Caleb Griffin.

Caleb Griffin.
He joined LAW faculty Fall Semester 2016, after receiving a phone call from professor and associate dean, Natt Gantt, who was seeking interested candidates for the position.
“I was at work one evening and he called and asked if I was interested in being a law professor, and I really was,” said Griffin. “I was literally called to work here.”

Griffin came to Regent after graduating from Harvard Law School in 2014, and a stint of practicing corporate law at the firm of Vinson & Elkins, representing organizations such as banks and oil companies.

“Practicing law is great, and I learned a lot, but I find it so rewarding to be able to work with students and examine deeper questions about the law," he said.

His true passion lies in helping students conduct research and think about the “bigger issues” of law. He explained that those who practice law for a living don’t always have the privilege to study the history of a law or how it came to be.

“Is it the best law? Should it be this way? Is it moral?” asked Griffin. “That’s not your job when you’re representing a client.”

For Griffin, returning to the classroom has been, in part, a return to theorizing the law. At Regent, he encourages his students to conduct research and to think about the “bigger issues.” And to his delight, they respond with “wonderful and unique insights.”

“It’s both incredibly fun, and incredibly rewarding. It's something that I feel is a really good and exciting opportunity,” said Griffin. “It’s great to be in the classroom to learn and to get to interact with the students – I’ve been surprised by how energizing it is to be in a classroom and get questions from students.”

Apart from teaching, Griffin said he enjoys being among his Christian colleagues. To him, they represent a body of people who believe in something outside of themselves. Together they work toward a common mission and purpose: to guide confident Christian lawyers.

“It’s really meaningful and humbling to see the leaders of this school and know that there’s something more important than each of us individually. That there’s something we all believe in and are working toward,” said Griffin.

That, in turn, is what he believes sets apart Christian lawyers who work in a secular market.

“You can definitely tell who’s being honest and forthright when they’re practicing law and who is treating others better than themselves,” said Griffin. “That includes the client and the people who are working across the table from you.”

He sees his work as fulfilling a unique calling on his life, and explained that his goal as a professor is to help his students find the right motivations and perspectives when it comes to navigating legal issues from a Christian perspective.

“God endows us with a variety of gifts. Some of us are preachers and ministers and some of us are business men and women. But we’re all called to do work so that we have something to share with those in need,” said Griffin. “And I think [practicing law] is an important way to do that.”

Learn more about Regent University’s School of Law.

By Brett W. Tubbs

9.16.2016

Regent Law Faculty Achievements - Week of September 12, 2016

Regent University's School of Law Faculty members willingly share their knowledge and expertise beyond the classroom to spark scholarly debate and advance the practice of law. Their latest endeavors include the following.

Associate Professor Jim Davids’ article "Religious Colleges' Employment Rights Under the 'Ministerial Exception' and When Disciplining an Employee for Sexually Related Conduct" was solicited, offered, and accepted by the Texas Journal of Civil Liberties and Civil Rights for publication. 

Associate Professor Jim Davids and Assistant Professor Tessa Dysart, moderated by Associate Dean Natt Gantt, spoke at Constitution Day today, sponsored by the Regent Law Chapter of the Federalist Society.

Associate Professor Brad Jacob’s Federalist Society talks coming up this fall include:

  • Oct. 26 – University of Chicago Law School – The Unintended Consequences of the 17th Amendment
  • Oct. 27 – Chicago-Kent Law School – Religious Liberty in the “Lobbying Nineties” and Today
  • Nov. 10 – University of Baltimore School of Law – The Unintended Consequences of the 17th Amendment

Professor Eric DeGroff co-chairs the Law School Committee of the 2016-2017 ABA DR Section Leadership on Dispute Resolution.

Dean Michael Hernandez’s paper, "The Rule of Law, Historical Equity, and Mexican Contra Prohibition Immigrants” was recently listed on SSRN's Top Ten download list for: SIRN: Federal-State Relationship (Sub-Topic). As of 11 September 2016, it had been downloaded 33 times.

Professor James Duane has had several recent invitations to speak, which include:
  • Cornell Law School, Ithaca, NY, Fifth Amendment, October 2016
  • Indigent Defense Training Commission, keynote speaker, Richmond, VA on Wednesday, May 3, 2017
  • Norfolk Portsmouth Bar Association Speaker Series, Norfolk, VA, Winter 2017

Professor Duane was also recently interviewed and quoted about his latest book, You Have the Right to Remain Innocent, in a Sinclair News Group syndicated article that is now available on multiple news sites.

9.07.2016

Regent University School of Law Celebrates Ronald L. Fick Book Awards

As an employer, when Ronald L. Fick, shareholder and attorney at Dunwody White & Landon, P.A., leafs through a stack of résumés for potential new hires, candidates who’ve won several book awards go straight to the top.

Ronald L. Fick
He shared this insight with Regent University School of Law (LAW) students, faculty and staff at the Ronald L. Fick Book Award Ceremony on Thursday, September 1, sponsored in part by Virginia Beach law firm, Pender & Coward, P.C.

Each semester, the Ronald L. Fick Book Award Ceremony honors LAW students who’ve received the highest marks in their classes. This tradition began shortly after Fick learned his daughter, Allison Fick '14, had received the highest mark in one of her classes – but learned Regent didn’t hold book award ceremonies.

“This is something that all top law schools need to do,” said Fick, as he explained how his sponsorship of the ceremony began. “I know that all of you work very hard over the course of a semester, and I hope each of you will take justified pride and satisfaction in your academic accomplishments.”

The book award tradition dates back years ago when the publisher of legal encyclopedia, American Jurisprudence, honored law students who’d received the highest marks in their courses with a book volume of the set. Regent students received plaques to commemorate their accomplishment.

“Today, we recognize the fact that our students have been faithful to use the talent God has given them,” said Michael Hernandez, LAW dean. “And we also recognize Mr. Fick. He’s been a supporter of the school for a number of years, and most important he’s the proud father of Ally Fick. It’s the greatest blessing you can bestow to entrust your child to us.”

Leah Oswald ’18, winner of the Civil Procedure II and Contracts II book awards, can sum up her experience in law school in just one phrase: “Law school is hard, but God is good. And that’s the end.”

“These awards affirm that I can put my trust in what God has called me to do. I can do things way beyond what I can do on my own,” said Oswald. "I can trust if I have a hard time, he will provide. I’ve learned to trust God with everything. Know we can trust him and that he has great things for our lives."

Moriah Schmidt ‘18, winner of the East African Legal Environment: A Comparative Introduction, Introduction to Human Rights in Africa and Civil Procedure II book awards, lives by the credo that, “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.”

“That’s very true in my life, and that’s what he’s doing for all of us. We’re here for a reason, and sometimes that reason is not going to be revealed to us for a while,” said Schmidt. “And I want to thank Regent and the professors for telling us we can do anything God calls us to, because that’s the only reason I’m still here to this day. It’s not that I’m some genius – I worked hard, and God blessed the rest.”

Learn more about Regent University School of Law.

By Brett W. Tubbs

9.03.2016

Regent Law Faculty Achievements - Week of September 3, 2016

Regent University's School of Law Faculty members willingly share their knowledge and expertise beyond the classroom to spark scholarly debate and advance the practice of law. They have been busy this past summer. Here’s a brief update on some of their scholarly activities.

Associate Professor Gloria Whittico was part of a panel in May with the National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in Courts.   She also presented her freedom suits talk at the National Underground Railroad conference held in Hilton Head, SC.  Her work was very well-received.  That talk was largely derived from her work at "'A Woman's Pride and a Mother's Love' the Missouri Freedom Suits and the Lengths and Limits of Justice" and "'If Past Is Prologue': Toward the Development of a New 'Freedom Suit' for the Remediation of Foster Care Disproportionalities Among African-American Children."

Associate Professor Whittico also traveled to Drake Law School in early July to conduct a four-day workshop for 20 students who will be starting law school this fall at Drake, Mitchell-Hamlin, Idaho, and Vermont law schools. They are a part of a new Council on Education Opportunity, Inc., an initiative designed to assist under-represented students succeed in law school.

Associate Professor Jim Davids received an offer from the Journal of Church & State for publication of his article entitled “Are Religious Institutions that Resist Obergefell and Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity Laws in Danger of Losing Their Tax Exempt Status?  Bob Jones University Revisited.”  He accepted that offer for fall publication.

Assistant Professor Tessa Dysart traveled to Charlotte, NC and Montgomery, AL to speak to two Federalist Society Lawyers Chapters on human trafficking.  Her presentations there were largely derived from "The Protected Innocence Initiative: Building Protective State Law Regimes for America’s Sex-Trafficked Children" and "Child, Victim, or Prostitute? Justice Through Immunity for Prostituted Children."  During these travels she met with several alumni and judges, making some great connections for law student internships and other employment. Many were also interested in her assistance with improving their state's trafficking law.  Assistant Professor Dysart also participated in several panels at SEALS in August.  Additionally, she is now the managing editor of the Appellate Advocacy Blog on the Law Prof Blog network.

Professor James Duane will present on September 29 a book forum at the Cato Institute on his new book You Have the Right to Remain Innocent.  He’ll be addressing university students, faculty, staffers from Capitol Hill, attorneys, journalists, and analysts from other think tanks.  C-Span may live stream the event.  Then he’ll fly back to Virginia Beach to present the next day at the RALS conference his latest scholarship entitled "The Day the Supreme Court Almost Outlawed Religious Discrimination in Jury Selection." Professor Duane also participated in several panels at SEALS in August.

Professor Ben Madison completed a new chapter in "Appellate Practice -- Virginia and Federal Courts" by Virginia CLE Publications. His chapter is entitled "Appeals to the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Virginia at page 2.0."  Professor Madison also made several important presentations at SEALS in August and will be presenting "Is There a Paradox between Ethics & Happiness? Moral Formation for Lawyers" at the RALS Conference here on Sept. 30.

Law Library Assistant Director Marie Hamm wrote and published the following book reviews over the summer:

  • 108 LAW LIBRARY JOURNAL (Summer 2016) (reviewing Alexa Z. Chew & Katie Rose Guest Pryal, The Complete Legal Writer (2015).
  • Stop Telling and Start Showing, 13 Legal Communication & Rhetoric: JALWD (Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors) (Winter 2016) (reviewing Adam Lamparello and Megan E. Boyd, Show, Don't Tell: Legal Writing for the Real World (2014).
She is also writing a book chapter for the next edition of "A Guide to Legal Research in Virginia." Publication is scheduled for March 2017.

Over the summer many Regent Law faculty experienced numerous downloads of their work, and had several publications listed on SSRN Top Ten lists. View the scholarship of all Regent Law faculty authors.
That’s a lot of influence in the direction of the law!

Regent Law has a great line-up of guests, speakers, panelists, and attendees for our hosting of the 2016 Conference of Religiously Affiliated Law Schools (RALS) on September 29-30 here on campus. The focus of the conference will be the challenges and opportunities facing faith-based law schools, and many of our Regent Law faculty are participating in important ways in that conference. There is still time for faculty members from other law schools to register.

8.26.2016

Regent School of Law Students Serve in 8th Annual Community Service Day

Saturday, August 20 marked Regent University School of Law’s (LAW) eighth-annual Community Service Day. More than 150 law students, ranging from incoming first-years to students embarking on their third year of studies, spent time in the community serving non-profit organizations.

Photo courtesy of Victoria Rice.
The initiative is particularly important to LAW dean, Michael Hernandez, who explained a new expectation for every JD student to complete 50 hours of public service during their academic careers.

“Our community service days are an important part of this commitment to public service. We look forward to increasing public service and pro bono work by our students,” said Hernandez. “I am very proud of the time and effort our students, faculty and staff put into the Community Service Day. Regent Law trains servant leaders who, following the example of our Lord, are committed to serving, rather than being served.”

Students completed nearly 450 hours of collective service at various locations in the Hampton Roads area, including Union Mission, Bridge Christian Fellowship, and St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children.

Students worked together to sort clothes, do yard work, and be a support to the varying locations.

This was Alexandra McPhee’s ’17 third time participating in the Community Service Day. She spent her time at Union Mission landscaping in front of the men and women’s shelters.

“I like volunteering because it helps me actively recognize that there’s a world outside of law school and that other things besides my schedule are important,” said McPhee. “It brings all of us closer together, and I get to spend time with my classmates in a new setting and see a different side of them.”

Noah DiPasquale ’17 also spent the day at Union Mission, and enjoyed the camaraderie with his fellow classmates.

“It can get really busy once the semester starts,” said Dipasquale. “A lot of the time we get into the flow of studying and going to class and we don’t get as much time to do things together that aren’t academic.”

Victoria Rice ’18 volunteered at St. Mary’s Home for the Disabled Children. Her favorite part of the day was seeing the progress she and her team were able to make in just one day.

“It’s important to keep a perspective on what really matters in life,” said Rice. “God calls us to serve others and it’s something we should start now and continue to practice.”

DiPasquale, like Rice, acknowledges the importance of serving others – especially, he says, in a world that views lawyers as “self-serving.”

“As Christian attorneys, we want to be a witness for Christ in everything we do. These service days helps put the emphasis on that mission,” said DiPasquale. “To become lawyers who are going to be a witness for Christ, and not just out for their own gain and wealth.”

Learn more about Regent University’s School of Law.

Associate Dean Gantt Featured as August Harvey Fellow

The Harvey Fellows Program provides scholarships to Christian students who are pursuing graduate studies at premier universities in fields considered to be underrepresented by Christians and who possess a unique vision to impact society through their vocations.
 
Initiated by the Mustard Seed Foundation (MSF) in 1992, the Harvey Fellows Program seeks to mark, equip and encourage individuals to actively integrate their faith and vocation as leaders in strategic occupations.  Through the program, the Foundation seeks to identify, prepare, and celebrate this generation's Daniels, Esthers, Josephs and Lydias - people of God willing and able to assume positions of leadership and influence for the cause of Christ in fields such as media, government, scientific research, industry, the arts, and higher education.
 
Harvey Fellows come from around the globe and work in diverse fields. Currently there are over 300 Harvey Fellows worldwide, representing twenty-four countries and over forty academic and vocational fields. Click here for a listing of all current and senior Harvey Fellows by field of study.
 
The following is from the Harvey Fellows Quarterly August 2016 newsletter, which features Professor and Associate Dean Natt Gantt.  Dean Gantt received a Harvey Fellowship in 1993 to help fund his studies at Harvard Law School:
L.O. Natt Gantt, II '93
Professor and Associate Dean, Regent University School of Law


Sara VanderHaagen, HFAB Communications Chair: How would you described your vocation, and how are you pursuing that in your current position?
Natt Gantt: I always have had a heart to see people's lives transformed by the power of God.  Lawyers often face significant ethical dilemmas in the profession, so it is enormously enriching to teach at a Christian law school where I can inspire my students to develop a biblical framework for ethical decision-making.  In teaching legal ethics and my other courses, I also challenge my students to be "salt and light" in the legal profession.  Furthermore, it is incredibly rewarding to write, speak, and engage the legal academy and profession in ways that motivate us to develop lawyers of character and integrity. 
 
SV: How has being a Harvey Fellow affected your vocation and life? 
NG: Receiving the Harvey Fellowship was a blessing that furthered my desire to integrate my faith into my professional calling.  Since receiving the fellowship many years ago, I have been inspired and encouraged in my own work as I see all the amazingly gifted applicants who have received fellowships over the years and are making a kingdom impact in their respective fields. 
 
SV: What about your work most excites or inspires you right now?
NG: Legal education right now is in the midst of tremendous change, and one of the current pressures on legal educators is that we have to do a better job helping our students develop their professional identity.  This pressure creates an exciting opportunity for Christian law professors, as we can discuss with the broader academy and profession the importance of cultivating values and encouraging moral formation in law students and young lawyers. 
 
SV: What about God's work most excites or inspires you right now?
NG: In interacting with my students and Regent colleagues and with lawyers and professors from other institutions, I am continually inspired to see how God impacts the lives of others--many times in environments where I don't expect it.  We indeed put Him in a box when we overlook how He can touch the lives of others in "secular" professions.