6.18.2015

Regent School of Law Ranked in the Top 10 For Best Moot Court Program

After a year of national and international Moot Court competitions, Regent University's School of Law was ranked in the top 10 for Best Moot Court Program in the Andrews Kurth Moot Court National Championship rankings by the University of Houston Law Center.

Regent was ranked 8th among 202 American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law schools in the United States, placing above schools such as Harvard School of Law, Yale School of Law and New York University School of Law.
“Our ranking of 8th out of over 200 ABA accredited U.S. law schools validates the excellence of our curriculum, skills training, faculty, students and Moot Court program,” said Michael Hernandez, dean of the School of Law. “It was a true team effort, and I am very proud to have the privilege of leading the Regent Law School team.”

Prior to his stepping into the role as dean, Hernandez has had a long-standing history with Regent’s Moot Court program. He’s been an important leader in the program since its modest start in 1994. Teams from Regent have performed well against national and international competitors alike; including finishing second place at the University of Oxford Price Media Law Moot Court Programme. Moot Court programs serve as a vital component of the hands-on legal training students receive at the School of Law. This comprehensive learning experience is an aspect of this program to which Hernandez is most dedicated.

“We’re dedicated to academic and professional excellence, not just in word, but in fact. Our Legal Analysis, Research and Writing, Appellate Advocacy, and Advanced Appellate Advocacy courses are the foundation of our successes in Moot Court,” said Hernandez. “Skills training alone is not enough to produce outstanding advocates and attorneys — our students must be, and are, trained rigorously in analytical skills and substantive knowledge. Our Moot Court program would not be so successful without such a comprehensive and holistic approach to training our students.”

With the honor of the ranking also comes an invitation to the 2016 Andrews Kurth Moot Court National Championship. Regent's team will be one of 16 from the nation who qualify for the invitational.

Learn more about Regent University's School of Law.

By Brett Wilson

5.22.2015

Hernandez Appointed as Regent University School of Law Dean

Michael Hernandez and Jeffrey Brauch.

Bar passage rates were a lackluster 40 percent when Jeffrey A. Brauch was appointed interim dean of the Regent University School of Law in 1999. Brauch knew a curriculum overhaul was needed to better prepare students, and he turned to trusted law school colleagues to lead the curriculum reforms, including Michael Hernandez, who played a central role.

Fast forward 16 years, and Regent’s bar passage rates have improved significantly, exceeding the Virginia average in four of the past five years. Also, the school, the students and the faculty have earned numerous accolades under Brauch’s leadership. Now, Brauch is returning to the classroom, and Hernandez, a seasoned legal professor and faculty adviser of the nation’s 8th ranked Moot Court program, has been appointed dean of the Regent University School of Law, with the transition beginning immediately.

“We’ve had a great run with Jeff as our leader. He has done an excellent job to build the foundation for the law school,” Hernandez said. “I’m looking forward to taking the baton and moving the school forward. He’s been encouraging and I’m very blessed to have his help and support.”

Brauch, always popular with students and alumni, says he is excited about the opportunity to teach more.

“My favorite part of my job as dean always has been spending time with students. They are bright, articulate, and have a sense of purpose and calling,” Brauch explained. “It is a joy to teach them. They’re ready to change the world, and we get to equip them for that task.”

Reflecting on his service as dean, Brauch quickly pointed out that the school’s accomplishments are a result of God’s grace and the hard work of a committed team of people – professors and staff.

“These people are more than professional colleagues, they’re my friends. We’re a team, and it has been a joy and a privilege to serve alongside them as dean,” he said.

Regent Law’s faculty have been ranked among the top 10 in the nation by The Princeton Review for two consecutive years, an accolade that Brauch shares with great pride.

“This ranking truly reflects their teaching excellence and the level of investment they make in our students’ lives,” he said.

Curriculum reforms, which both Brauch and Hernandez cite as a significant accomplishment, did more than improve bar passage rates. Coupled with development of a strong writing program under Brauch’s watch, Regent Law students excel in legal practice and in competitions.

“Our emphasis on legal writing shows in our bar passage rates, in our “best brief” awards at moot court competitions, and from the praise we regularly hear from employers and judges about our graduates’ strong writing skills,” Brauch said. “And our competition success is due in large part to Mike’s work with the moot court program. It’s remarkable that Regent – a fairly small, relatively young law school – is ranked among the nation’s best advocacy programs.”

Hernandez started working with Regent’s Moot Court program during its infancy in 1994 and has been at the center of it ever since, including Regent’s international second place finish at the 2013 University of Oxford Price Media Law Moot Court Programme.

“I’m probably a little biased, but I believe moot court is the most valuable practical training because it combines written and oral communication, tests analytical skills and enables students to work collaboratively as a team,” Hernandez explained. “We have great students, courses and preparation. Our coaches require multiple written drafts of briefs, and the students practice oral arguments regularly. It’s almost like a mini-apprenticeship at a law firm.”

With a reputation as an “idea man,” Hernandez has had a hand in proposing, developing and leading a number of Regent Law initiatives, including the LLM in American Legal Studies, the student-led Honor Council, and the Honors Program, which targets top-performing students by providing specialized classes and unique opportunities to challenge them during their legal education.

“Encouraging innovation is a priority, and I want to harness the resources, and talent and brainpower to move the school forward so that Regent becomes the ‘go to’ law school for committed Christians,” Hernandez said. “All of our Regent Law faculty and staff embrace our mission, and I am privileged to lead our team and continue preparing students to lead with excellence in the legal industry.”

Hernandez’ appointment as dean is part of a new growth initiative for the entire university. Among some 40 new degree programs are several specific to Regent Law, including a concentration in Wealth Management & Financial Planning in the Master’s of Arts in Law degree that began last year.

“Mike brings a wealth of experience and keen insights into the requirements for an excellent legal education,” said Dr. Gerson Moreno-Riaño, Regent’s executive vice president for academic affairs. “He has a distinguished history here at Regent and is greatly respected among his Regent Law colleagues, as well as his peers regionally and nationally, for his teaching and legal scholarship. We look forward to what Mike will bring to this position, with his ability to build on Regent Law’s success in educating and training future lawyers and judges and other leaders in the legal industry.”

Hernandez joined the faculty at Regent Law in 1992 and has taught Appellate Advocacy, Advanced Appellate Advocacy, International Human Rights, Christian Foundations of Law, Property I & II, and Race & the Law.

Prior to teaching, Hernandez practiced law in the areas of products liability, defense litigation, and environmental law. He has served as a consultant for attorneys litigating cases in state and federal court, including before the United States Supreme Court. His scholarship focuses on property law, race and the law, law and religion, law and public policy, and appellate advocacy.

Following a year as interim dean, Brauch has served as dean of Regent Law since 2000. Among other accomplishments, Brauch believes establishing the Center for Global Justice clearly demonstrates the schools’ worldwide reach, with interns and alumni doing legal work that is making a difference on behalf of the poor, oppressed, and enslaved all around the globe.

“We are grateful for Jeff’s leadership at the law school over the past 15 years,” said Moreno-Riaño. “Jeff loves teaching and loves our students, and we know they will benefit from his expert instruction in areas such as international human rights, Christian foundations of law, contract law and other courses.”

Regent Law has more than 3,000 alumni practicing law in nearly all 50 states and overseas, including 34 alumni who have or are currently serving as judges. Other alumni serve as judicial clerks, partners and associates in law firms, government agencies and public interest organizations.

“Some of our alumni are making differences in very public ways, and others are changing the world in ways that the world doesn’t see. They’re doing it one client at a time,” Brauch said. “They are practicing family law, criminal defense and handling bankruptcy cases. People come to them at the lowest point in their lives, and our alumni are giving not only great legal advice, but counsel to help improve their clients’ lives.”

4.08.2015

Regent School of Law Announces Wealth Management & Financial Planning

Regent University students will soon be impacting change in the world of personal finance.

In the fall 2015, Regent's School of Law (LAW) will offer a brand new concentration in its M.A. in Law degree program: Wealth Management & Financial Planning. This concentration will provide courses in financial, investment and insurance planning, retirement and employee benefits, and tax planning for its enrolled students.

"It's important at this time because there's going to be a big wealth transfer over the next 20-30 years as Baby Boomers receive assets from their parents and then pass on assets to their children," said Dr. James Davids, associate law professor and director of LLM and M.A. programs.

Davids explained that as these wealth-transfers occur, more and more individuals will be seeking financial planning and wealth management counsel. Job prospects for this in-demand career field are projected to increase 32 percent by the year 2020.

Students graduating from this concentration will not only be primed with the needed skills to enter the industry, they will be equipped for a meaningful career of serving clients with excellence in the field of financial planning.

According to Davids, the concentration's sound moral and ethical training imparts trustworthiness and ethical responsibility to students in the program and will help to set them apart – even if they have the same competency skills and handle the same type of clients.

"How does one select one financial planner over another? Certainly knowing your planner as a person, knowing that they have a good reputation in the community," said Davids. "If one has a bachelor's and the other has their master's, one is going to have more of a competitive edge than the other."

Sharpening the competitive edge even further is Regent's commitment to integrating the love of Christ into its degree programs.

"Having that relationship must be integrated into our lives, and we do that here," said Davids. "Showing the compassion and the love of Christ to others involves caring about all aspects of them."

And caring for a client's financial well-being is only the beginning.

"You have to put the client's interest first, and by constantly doing that you'll sustain loyalty and you'll be taking care of generations of families because of their trust," said Davids. "That's the way it works and that's how we'll be different from others. We not only want to instill those values in our students but build on them throughout their lifetime."

Learn more about Regent University School of Law and the Financial Planning & Wealth Management concentration.

By Brett Wilson

Virginia State Bar President Offers Insight to Regent School of Law Students

Dean Jeffrey Brauch, Kevin Martingayle,
and Professor Natt Gantt.
While the Virginia State Bar (VSB) exists in part to uphold the ethical standards of today’s legal professionals, many times the bar of professionalism is set too low, according to VSB president, Kevin Martingayle.

On Thursday, April 2, Martingayle spoke to Regent University School of Law students about the importance of upholding ethics and professionalism in advocacy.

According to Martingayle, a lawyer who follows a vague notion of mere ethics still has the opportunity to be a “jerk” during advocacy. He's seen a lot of young lawyers – himself included – who have fallen into the trap of being too aggressive.

"When the only tool you have in your toolbox is a hammer, everything looks like a nail," said Martingayle.

Martingayle explained there will be temptation to get an advantage in a court case at any cost. Including simple ways, like denying the opposition an extension on a deadline, or being "snarky" in email exchanges.

While there aren’t always “hard and fast” rules to follow in every legal situation, the advice Martingayle gave to young lawyers was to fight the temptation to act and respond in the moment, particularly online.

Martingayle has even gone so far as to use an unprofessional email from his opposition as an exhibit in the court of law.

“The emotional response is almost never the right response,” said Martingayle. “Choose your words as though everyone is reading them. Don’t ever write something you might regret.”

Martingayle gave advice to students, naming the faux pas he sees on a regular basis from lawyers fresh to the courtroom. His best advice? Calm down and be professional.

“Don’t ever lose your common sense or your manners,” said Martingayle. “When you’re conducting business think about if one of your pastors, your spouse, your parents – the people who want to be proud while they were watching your decisions – would they be?”

Learn more about Regent University School of Law.

By Brett Wilson

4.01.2015

Regent University's School of Law Triumphs In Moot Court Competitions

 Regent's team won first place at the
Touro Law Center's National Moot
Court Competition.
Photo courtesy of Tessa Dysart.
This weekend proved to be another successful turn for Regent University School of Law's moot court competition teams both in the United States and abroad.

"In an already great year for Regent's moot court program, this was a great weekend. At each of the competitions our students attended, they achieved top awards in brief writing, as oralists and as a team," said Jeffrey Brauch, dean of the School of Law. "I'm excited for the students, as God has honored their hard work and dedication. I couldn't be more excited for them; it's amazing what they've done."

Regent's team won first place at the Touro Law Center's National Moot Court Competition in Law & Religion in New York. Wesley Pilon, Tiffany Bennett and Michael Pierce were coached by assistant law professor Tessa Dysart.

"It's always great to see the students' hard work pay off with a competition victory," said Dysart. "They did a great job."

Across the pond at the Price International Moot Court Competition in Oxford, England, Regent argued against other teams from Singapore, Georgia, China, Pakistan and India. The team – Jessica Krentz, Lindsey Brower and Carly Havens, coached by law professor Michael Hernandez – continued into the international round after their success at the regional competition in New York City in February 2015.

Not only did Regent's team place within the top eight of the final round, the competitors also took home the "Best Memorials" (written brief) award. Krentz was awarded second-best oralist in the competition, while Brower was named 10th-best oralist.

"It was incredible to meet teams from across the world; it was such a high-caliber competition," said Krentz. "I'm humbled and grateful for Regent's support of our team throughout this whole competition. Competing in New York at regionals and Oxford at internationals have been undoubtedly the best experiences I've had in law school.

Regent's moot court team also placed exceptionally well at the Elon Law's moot court competition in Greensboro, North Carolina, losing by just .16 out of 100 points in the semi-final round to the team that won the competition.

Palmer Hurst, James Wheeler and Bruce Wilson earned their way into the semi-finals of the competition. Wilson won best oralist for the entire competition, and the team received the best petitioner brief award.

The team was coached by Josh Jenkins '13 (Law), a criminal defense attorney at his own practice: OneSight Legal Solutions. Jenkins worked with the team preparing for the competition – he said that he would not be the same attorney he is today were it not for the invaluable lessons he learned as a competitor and the former chairman of the moot court board for Regent.

"It's a program that's just outstanding in teaching people practical legal skills; I learned a lot that I use in practice every day," said Jenkins. "It's nostalgic and exciting, and I like to see their passion about what they're doing. The quality of advocacy that comes out of Regent is exceptional."

Learn more about Regent University's School of Law.

By Brett Wilson

3.17.2015

Regent University School of Law Ranked No. 6 for Best Moot Court Program

Regent's Moot Court Team.
Photo courtesy of Michael Hernandez.
Regent University's School of Law has been ranked as the nation's sixth best Moot Court program out of all American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law schools in the United States by the University of Houston Law Center's annual report.

Regent is ranked among schools such as George Washington School of Law, Columbia Law School, and Cornell University Law School.

On Saturday, March 8, law students Renee Knudsen '16, Palmer Horst '16 and Marie Dienhart '16 did their part, becoming one of four groups from of 191 competing teams to advance from the regional round of the ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition in St. Louis, Missouri. The team also took home the third-best brief award.

Veteran moot court and School of Law professor Michael Hernandez coached the team.

"It's gratifying to see talented students reach their potential and represent Regent with excellence," said Hernandez. "Students who compete at moot court work very hard and it's a blessing to see that hard work rewarded."

Hernandez explained the vitality of these competitions for training future litigators to prepare for communicating well under pressure.

"Many employers look at moot court accomplishments as an important marker of success and ability," said Hernandez. "The experience students gain researching, writing and arguing complex legal issues are unsurpassed in law school. The skills they develop prepare them well for the practice of law, particularly in all forms of litigation."

The team will continue their arguments at the national round of the competition in Chicago during the month of April.

Learn more about Regent University School of Law.

By Brett Wilson | March 12, 2015

Regent University School of Law Hosts the Fourth-Annual Global Justice Symposium

Benjamin Nolot.
Just a few weeks ago, box offices around the globe hit shattering records with the release of a blockbuster film celebrating sex as a form of submission and entertainment.

But on Saturday, Feb. 21, Regent University's Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law along with the Regent Journal of Global Justice and Public Policy, hosted the fourth annual Global Justice Symposium: Human Rights and the Sexualization of Culture.

The symposium featured panel discussions of leading experts who delved into the hyper-sexualized topics of the foundation of human rights; areas where there are certainly more than fifty shades of grey.

"It was incredibly relevant and timely content for the world today," said Ernie Walton '11 (School of Law), administrative director for the Center for Global Justice. "The world is talking about these issues, but not in the right way."

Walton explained that though these topics — such as pedophilia, and sexual slavery — are oftentimes taboo in the Christian sect, that shouldn't prohibit those with a biblical worldview from engaging in these important discussions.

"As soon as you change your sexual ethic and you have an 'anything goes' attitude toward sexuality, you don't know where the line is," said Walton. "We have to look at these issues from God's perspective."

Three panels explored topics in human rights: the sex as a business panel was led by Scott Alleman, assistant Commonwealth's attorney at the Virginia Beach Commonwealth's Attorney's Office; and Laila Mickelwait, manager of Policy and Public Affairs for Exodus Cry.

The foundation of human rights panel was led by Matthew Franck, director of the Willam E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution; and Jeffery Ventrella, senior counsel/senior vice-president of strategic training for the Alliance Defending Freedom.

Finally, the children as property discussion was led by Naomi Cahn, professor at George Washington University Law School; Jim Dwyer, professor at William & Mary School of Law; Arina Grossu, director for the Center on Human Dignity; and Lynne Marie Kohm, professor at Regent's School of Law.

The highlight for Walton, however, was learning that all is not lost in the battle of sex-trafficking from speaker Benjamin Nolot, founder and president of Exodus Cry. Nolot's anti-trafficking organization is dedicated to abolishing modern-day slavery and assisting survivors through their acclimation to life after being rescued.

"My primary goal is about the students," said Walton. "As they sit there and listen to the same topics but from different speakers, they're able to think about these issues critically. We want them to realize our worldview and how we look at these issues matter. It's all interconnected."

The discussions brought forth from the panel illustrated that though there is still major work to be done in these fields, there's hope for the future.

"There is a lot of legal work to be done, but first and foremost the battles we face regarding sex in today's culture are spiritual battles," said Walton. "Certainly something that everyone can do is to start praying to create long-term change."

Learn more about Regent University's School of Law and the Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law.

By Brett Wilson | February 25, 2015

Regent University Students Win Second Place at GW Religious Freedom Competition

 Regent Moot Court Team at the GW School
 of Law Religious Freedom Moot Court
 competition.
 Photo courtesy of Tessa Dysart.
Regent University School of Law teams are continuing their victorious arguing streaks at various competitions in the United States.

Earlier in February, two Regent Law Moot Court teams competed at the George Washington School of Law Religious Freedom Moot Court competition. Out of the 28 teams competing, both of Regent's School of Law teams continued to the semi-final rounds.

"I am very proud of both teams; the students put in an incredible amount of work to prepare for the competition," said Tessa Dysart, associate professor in the School of Law. "Clearly their hard work paid off."

Regent has entered this competition for three years running, earning several prestigious accolades along the way. This year, Danielle Bianculli '15, Paul Shakeshaft '15 and Josh Gamboa '16 represented "team one" while Sherilyn Baxter '16, Michael Aiello '16 and Matthew Dunckley '16 comprised "team two."

Shakeshaft was awarded the title of Best Oralist throughout the competition. Amy Vitale '12 (LAW) assisted with coaching the two teams.

And this is only the beginning of successful law student teams. Students in the School of Law also performed well at the Texas Young Lawyers association regional tournament in Washington, D.C., arguing their way to the semi-finals of the tournament.

Law students Kathryn Heyer '14, Leigh Budwell '14 and Joy Degenhart '15 attended the competition along with James Metcalfe, adjunct faculty in the School of Law.

Learn more about Regent University School of Law.

By Brett Wilson | February 24, 2015