7.08.2015

Regent Law Student Donates Part of Her Liver to Five-Year-Old Stranger

Molly Bricker (right) visits with Sage and Sage's mother
after surgery. Photo courtesy of A Liver for Sage
Facebook page.
 
It was just a regular day at the nail salon. Molly Bricker, a rising 2L in Regent University's School of Law, was in the midst of her very first round of challenging finals in December 2014. She sat with her friend waiting among the colorful splashes of nail polish when a news story on the salon's television screen caught her eye:

The little girl’s name was Sage, a five-year-old from Portsmouth, Virginia, who was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia as an infant – and in dire need of a new liver. Her early illness required a bone marrow transplant, rendering her blood type different from the rest of her family.

Bricker was struck. "I remember thinking, 'This little girl is so cute, and so small and so happy,'" said Bricker. "I didn't even know you could donate a portion of your liver. But in that moment God made it really clear that I had to do something."

Bricker spent the next hour before her exam on the phone, discerning whether she'd be a blood-type match and beginning the donor application process. Bricker was later notified several others were ahead of her on the list, so she began making plans to spend her summer months bolstering her legal career with a prestigious clerkship. She thought she was "off the hook."

But her story wouldn't end there. "I'd almost forgotten about it when they told me I was on the top of the donor list," said Bricker.

Recalling how strongly she felt when she first learned Sage's story, Bricker moved forward with testing in early June to see if she was a match. Tests on Monday, June 1, proved she was. Her surgery would be that Thursday. Surgery and recovery meant she needed to turn down the summer clerkship.

"The week before the surgery, God was constantly reminding me that He was in control," said Bricker. "I tend to need a schedule, I need a routine. So, I was shocked by my lack of anxiety I had throughout the process, which I 100 percent attribute to God."

So, what is it that prompts a first-year law student to start the organ donation process during finals week? Bricker attributes it to nothing other than God's conviction. "It was definitely a challenge, but because I felt so sure that this was what the Lord wanted me to do, I just trusted that He would sustain me," said Bricker.

Sage is now in recovery, supported by a portion of Bricker's liver that will continue to grow as she does. Bricker's own liver is expected to heal to its full size within the next few months as she recovers with her family in Massachusetts.

"Every day I'm feeling better," she said, explaining her recovery process has entailed eating lots of protein – specifically hamburgers." The body craves what it needs, I guess. I'm a hungry, hungry person," Bricker said with a laugh. Bricker experienced a hunger for something much more than burgers, though. She's experienced a hunger for justice and God's sovereignty.

Her story has been told by several local and national news organizations. But whether she's entertaining an interview with the local news or People Magazine, her humble, yet convicting takeaway is seamless.

"Anybody who's asked about my experience, I've just wanted them to hear about God's sovereignty. He's the only reason I applied, and the only reason the surgery was successful," said Bricker. "Everyone who writes about this needs to know that God is the focal point, that's all I really want."

By Brett Wilson Tubbs | July 6, 2015

Regent Law Adds New M.A. in Law Concentrations

Seek justice. Encourage the oppressed. Plead the case of the orphan and the widow.

These charges to believers and the growing interest in global justice spurred Regent University's School of Law to develop new concentrations in Human Rights and General Legal Studies for its Master of Arts in Law (M.A.) program, launching Fall 2015.

Both of these 30-credit hour programs are designed for adult learners seeking to enhance their careers in fields such as business, human resources, criminal justice, national security and non-profit management.

The concentration in General Legal Studies will include courses in Christian Foundations of Law, American Legal System & Writing, with the opportunity for students to complete 24 credits in one or more M.A. in Law concentrations. The Human Rights concentration will train graduate students in areas such as child advocacy, national security and international law.

"There are few law schools that have the same breadth of concentrations that Regent offers, and offer quality online education," said James Davids, associate law professor and director of Regent Law’s L.L.M. and M.A. programs. "Regent has more M.A. in Law courses and students than any other law school in the country. This entrepreneurial education should be attractive to anyone who wants to advance their resume and career with a quality, practical degree."

Davids explained that these two new programs were created with the acknowledgement that students want to follow their own path to academic success. These programs will allow them to do just that.

Regent began the M.A. in Law program during Fall 2014, and currently enrolls more than 100 students.

"We seeks students with academic gifts, passion and time to graduate successfully from these programs," said Davids. "If someone has the ability to succeed, plus the drive and passion for human rights in general, then we want to help them reach their calling through the human rights program."

Learn more about Regent University's School of Law and the Master of Arts in Law.

Regent University Ranked in 2015 Legal Publication

In its spring 2015 edition, The National Jurist, a publication for aspiring law students, listed Regent University School of Law among schools such as Duke University, Wake Forrest University and Syracuse University as having highly effective practical training in the legal fields.

The National Jurist also listed Regent as among 33 schools in the nation for its stellar bar exam preparation, listing its 80.91 percent bar pass rate among its competitors such as the University of Virginia, Penn State Law, and Baylor University.

Read the full National Jurist article.

"These objective measures validate the excellence of our curriculum, faculty and students. A school cannot excel without excellent students, and we are blessed with a quality student body. Our curriculum does an exceptional job of preparing our students both substantively and practically to excel in the practice of law," said Michael Hernandez, dean of Regent's School of Law.

Programs within the school, such as the university's moot court competition teams and the Center for Human Rights, Global Justice, and the Rule of Law, along with proximity and access to the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), contribute to Regent's consistent ability to provide students with ample courtroom and writing experience before they are launched into the legal field.

This year's Moot Court program finished 8th in the nation. Students who attend law school at Regent are assured that they are receiving the best education in and out of the classroom, a fact that Hernandez does not take for granted.

"Our faculty has stellar credentials and has been ranked for two consecutive years in the top 10 in Princeton Review surveys of American law students. I am blessed to lead a team of such exceptional people, supported by excellent programs," said Hernandez.

Learn more about Regent University School of Law.

By Brett Wilson | June 25, 2015

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