Valverde, a 2005 graduate of Regent University's School of Law, serves as chair of the YLC's Immigrant Outreach Committee. His passion for immigration law stems from personal experience growing up in an immigrant family—representing a community, he said, who cannot speak English and needs advocates who will speak on their behalf.
"My work in immigration law began as a law student at Regent University," Valverde said. "After working for five years dealing with environmental policy and regulations as an environmental planner, I sensed the call to serve the immigrant community as an attorney. Through an evaluation [of talents and passions], I felt that God was telling me that I could do the most good in this world as an immigration attorney. As a law student, I volunteered with a local pro bono attorney with Catholic Refugee and Immigration Services, which at that time had an office in Norfolk, Va."
Upon graduating from Regent, Valverde served as attorney advisor to the Immigration Courts in Oakdale and New Orleans, La., and Memphis, Tenn., through the Department of Justice. After completing this service, he came back to the Virginia Beach area to open a law practice and serve the local immigrant community.
"In my practice, I am committed to taking a certain number of immigration cases pro bono," Valverde explained. "As chair of the YLC's Immigrant Outreach Committee, I work to educate criminal defense attorneys and public defenders on the immigration consequences of criminal convictions to provide immigrants with more effective legal representation."
He also devotes volunteer time to teach immigrants about their legal rights, and he was legal advisor to an Illegal Immigration and Crimes Task Force of the Virginia State Crime Commission. "His involvement, dedication, ingenuity and achievements make him the ideal candidate for this award," wrote Sarah L. Petcher, a former Burnette Award recipient, in a nomination letter.
Valverde received the award on June 20 at the Virginia State Bar Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach.
In January of this year, Mills announced his decision to run against incumbent Republican Karen Ray. In May, he won the hotly-contested seat by a narrow margin.
Mills said he knew the race would be close. The battle was for the seat itself, as there was no Democrat vying for the spot. “Considering I was running against a three term incumbent who easily outspent my campaign, I was very happy with the results," said Mills.
He has pledged active and responsive leadership for North Carolina’s Iredell County. A large portion of his platform had to do with getting better representation at Raleigh for the members of Iredell.
“Whether you’re talking about young families, working people, or retirees, they all have one thing in common,” said Mills. “They all need a representative who listens to them, who takes an interest in what’s going on in the community and who is accessible to them on a consistent basis.”
Since graduating Regent, Mills has co-founded the law firm of Mills & Levine, P.A. and has served as the Iredell County Republican Party Chairman for four years. Previous to those accomplishments, he was an Assistant District Attorney and a Government, Economics, and U.S. History teacher.
In partnership with local courts, Regent Law has designed an 8-week program through which interns are given the chance to study under judges, observe interactions in the court rooms, and do legal research.
One rising 2L, Kyle Fuller, said that he applied for the internship because he wanted to see with his own eyes what the practice of law looks like.
In the first week, he was able to observe hearings in civil court and assist with clerical duties. “The most exciting part of the observation process is getting to see doctrines and terminology that I learned during my first year put into practice.”
Students can gain a clear picture of their futures, as well. “Hopefully, I’ll narrow my interests to determine what kind of law I might enjoy practicing one day,” said Fuller. “I don’t think I want to practice criminal law, but I get to shadow a public defender and a commonwealth attorney later this summer, and I’m sure it will be one of the highlights of my observations.”
To honor the program’s participants, Regent hosted a Judicial Internship banquet last week. Students, attorneys, and judges gathered at the Founder’s Inn. Fuller sees the networking possibilities as another plus to the internship.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to stay local and learn from people who I’ll hopefully be able to partner with in the next two years of school and beyond.”
Grant to take him to India
Regent Law Professor, C. Scott Pryor, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to lecture at the National Law University in Jodhpur, India in the spring of 2009.
Pryor will teach courses in Comparative Law and International Business Transactions as well as research selected topics of Indian law for comparison to U.S. law. He is one of approximately 800 U.S. professionals who will travel abroad during the upcoming year on a Fulbright scholarship.
Pryor’s appointment in India won’t be his first time teaching internationally. This summer, he’s chairing the Regent Summer Program on International Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. He has also taught at Handong International Law School in Korea. “Teaching in other countries has greatly enriched my understanding of other cultures and legal systems. It has also demonstrated the breadth of the world-wide Body of Christ, the Church,” he said.
The purpose of the Fulbright program is to build mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the rest of the world.
Pryor sees his work there through the same lens: “[India] is a nation of increasing world-wide economic and political importance. I hope that my posting there will establish long-term relationships with prospective Indian lawyers, current attorneys, faculty and judges.”
Highly selective, Fulbright grants are awarded on the basis of professional and academic achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership in a given field. To learn more about Professor Pryor’s work and Regent’s other outstanding professors, visit Regent’s Faculty page.
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