Eighty-five Percent of Regent Law Grads Pass Virginia Bar

Eighty-five percent of Regent University School of Law graduates passed the February 2009 Virginia Bar Exam on their first attempt, according to the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners. The average pass rate for state-wide first-time bar exam takers was 58 percent.

"This is a tremendous success for the bar passers, and the school," said Law School Dean Jeffrey A. Brauch. "The very high percentage of our students passing the bar exam reflects many things: the accomplishment and dedication of Regent graduates, our outstanding legal writing program, our challenging curriculum, and rigorous training by the Regent faculty. We thank God for his blessing on our graduates."

To learn more about Regent School of Law, visit www.regent.edu/law.

Regent Law Students Compete to Raise Money For Local Food Banks

Each year, Virginia law schools and law firms participate in the Federation of Virginia Food Banks’ Legal Food Frenzy, a massive statewide drive to collect much needed food for those in need.

Regent Law students have raised the most amount of money among Virginia law schools two years running, and this year have raised the equivalent of 22,500 lbs. of food – 7,000 lbs. over Regent’s goal.

Regent third-year law students (3Ls) won the friendly competition between the 1L, 2L, and 3L classes with the help of a last minute donation putting them over the top.

“As Christian attorneys we’re called to represent the Lord in everything we do,” says 3L Mykell Messman. “The food frenzy is an example of our attitude of care and service in giving back to those who are less fortunate than we are.”

Deputy Attorney General Bill Mims and the Federation of Virginia Food Banks should release the results of the 2009 statewide Legal Food Frenzy in May.

Regent Law In the News: Alum Named District Court Judge, Professors Win Writing Award And Appear On MSNBC.COM

Some employers are using the recession as an excuse to tighten up ship, reports Eve Tahmincioglu in an April 13, 2009 article at msnbc.com. In her analysis of this claim, Tahmincioglu consulted and cited Regent Law Professor and Civil Litigation Clinic Director Kathleen McKee.

On April 14, 2009, Professor Thomas C. Folsom’s article, "Space Pirates, Hitchhikers, Guides, and the Public Interest: Transformational Trademark Law in Cyberspace," was selected as the winner of the 2009 Ladas Memorial Award for writing excellence on the subject of trademarks and related matters.

The writing contest is sponsored by the International Trademark Association (INTA) and the law firm of Ladas & Parry. INTA commended Folsom on joining “a small but distinguished group whose scholarship has contributed to the field of trademarks and enhanced the understanding of this discipline.”

Regent Law alumnus and capital defender for Virginia’s Southeastern District, Joseph A. Migliozzi, has been appointed to the Norfolk General District Court bench.

The Virginian-Pilot covers the story here.

Regent Law Students and the ACLJ: Building Relationships As Zimbabwe Rebuilds

Regent Law student and ACLJ Deputy Director of Government affairs Jordan Sekulow, along with members of the ACLJ’s Special Operations Unit including law student T.J. Dolan, recently traveled to Zimbabwe to assist in renewing the United States’ relationship with Zimbabwe’s new “Unity” government.

During their visit this past March, “ACLJ Special Operations Unit: Zimbabwe” was able to meet with government leaders including Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Gorden Moyo, Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Eric Matinenga, and former High Court Justice Leslie George Smith. The team also met with Church leaders such as Dr. Goodwill Shana, head of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe and Chair of Heads of Christian Denominations, and Pastor Alexander Chisango of the Zimbabwe National Revival Initiative.

ACLJ Special Operations Unit: Zimbabwe also had the chance to help prepare lunch for AIDS orphans and widows through the ACLJ's “Be Heard” project; “Be Heard” now helps fund the orphanage at Epworth.

Zimbabwe’s new Unity government, headed by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF (Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front) and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) parties, is working to overcome substantial obstacles including an economy that has experienced a 231,000,000% inflation rate, an outbreak of cholera, a population of which an estimated 25% are infected with HIV/AIDS, food shortages, lack of clean water, and as most well-know, political unrest.

Law Students In Civil Litigation Clinic Represent Disenfranchised

Regent Law students participating in Regent’s Civil Litigation Clinic handle real client cases under the direction of a Regent Law professor - and they make a lasting difference.

A recent Civil Litigation Clinic client, referred by a local Legal Aid office, was seeking legal assistance after being denied food stamp benefits from the local Department of Human Services. DHS had determined that this client was ineligible for food stamp benefits because, according to their designation, she was an “able-bodied” adult capable of working the minimum 20 hours needed to satisfy the work requirement of the Virginia Food Stamp Manual. Yet in reality the client was unable to find and retain lasting employment as a direct result of severe impairments.

Under the supervision of Professor Kathleen McKee, third year law student Ben Willis took on her cause. After researching the relevant law, Willis discovered that while the client may not have fit into the DHS definition of “disabled,” she had been diagnosed with severe impairments. She was not, in fact, “able-bodied,” and therefore not subject to the minimum work requirement.

On March 31, 2009, Willis successfully represented the client at a hearing. DHS reinstated full benefits, a result that could have a significant impact on the manner in which the Virginia Food Stamp Manual is applied in the future.

Transfer Stories

Jared Birckholtz

Regent Law’s mission brought 2L Jared Birckholtz here from a law school in the northeast.

“Emphasizing a calling throughout your education makes a strong difference in how you will function as a lawyer,” says Birckholtz, referring to Regent Law’s motto, “Law is more than a profession. It’s a calling.”

“In thinking about changing schools, it was important that I find a place where there was opportunity for that emphasis,” he says. Accordingly, Birckholtz transferred to Regent at the beginning of his 2L year, and he says his inclination was right. “It’s been liberating to be here, to be able to pray with my classmates, to be supported in my spiritual walk. The culture is completely different and it’s helped me to grow.”

More than just a place to learn the law and hone legal skills, for Birckholtz Regent has quickly become home. Often the competitive environment of a law school makes transfers feel unwelcome among students, but Birckholtz says that’s not the case at Regent. “The people are friendly; I’ve been welcomed in,” he says. “The academic competition that is here doesn’t undermine the cooperative spirit.”

Birckholtz shares that his 1L class at his previous school was incredibly unified and worked harder than he’d ever experienced. Yet for him, there was something missing. “I want to be equipped to deal with all legal issues that arise; I felt as though I wasn’t being prepared to holistically tackle legal problems,” says Birckholtz. “[At Regent], the professors present history and legal ideas in a way that embraces absolute truth, and they push us to contemplate how our values shape the way we encounter these ideas.”

While the integration of faith and law is attractive to many students, some may fear that it waters down the level of academic excellence. Birckholtz doesn’t agree, but can compare his education at his previous school to what he is getting at Regent. “The importance of academics is evident here in the way people work,” he says. “People take their work very seriously, which challenges me and keeps me working hard as well.”

Blair Toner

As a resident of a city near Virginia Beach, 2L transfer student Blair Toner has always been aware of Regent’s good reputation. It was the religious nature of the school that gave her pause. “I wasn’t sure that I would fit,” she says.

Now, after almost a full year at Regent, Toner is happy that she pushed past her fears. “When I took a minute to see how religious aspects are tied into the school, I noticed how they manifest themselves in the nurturing of students and in a concern for our overall well being,” she says.

“At Regent, I know professors care about the caliber of attorneys we will be down the road, not just what happens in the classroom today,” she says. “Regent professors put high expectations on students, but they make themselves accessible to help us reach those expectations. At my last school, I wasn’t sure that the law professors ever wanted to see me in their office. They felt distant and unapproachable.”

Toner says the professors’ attitude toward nurturing the whole student trickles down to the students, creating an atmosphere that isn’t cut throat. “The pressure [at Regent] is about how to be a better lawyer, not about how to be at the top of the class. The students understand that and consequently don’t pit themselves against you to get the cutting edge.”

Toner reports that she feels as though she fits in just fine at Regent. She is able to freely participate in class discussions and has found the community-driven atmosphere to be pleasantly welcoming.

Law Professor Contributes to Family Restoration Legislation

Last week, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine signed legislation that will require state high schools to incorporate a curriculum on marriage into their Family Life Education Program.

Lynne Marie Kohm, John Brown McCarty Professor of Family Law helped work toward, draft, and testified on behalf of this legislation that will require schools to teach the benefits, responsibilities, value, and challenges of marriage. Kohm said that high school curriculum currently only briefly mentions cohabitation as an option for two people who care about each other.

“I respect the Governor all the more for doing what he deemed right and appropriate despite what appears to be political and media pressure,” said Kohm who encourages supportive Virginians to thank the Governor for his efforts in passing these bills.

Dr. Pat Robertson Addresses Business Law Society on Changing Economy

Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson was the guest of honor at the April meeting of the Business Law Transactions Society (BLTS).

Against the backdrop of large companies such as GM moving toward bankruptcy, Dr. Robertson addressed the business-minded students on smart financing and key strategies in advising corporations in financial crisis.

Dr. Robertson spoke about his past experiences as a preferred shareholder and the steps he’s had to take to direct companies in financial difficulty, including toward Chapter 7 bankruptcy when appropriate.

In his closing remarks he encouraged the students who are facing a difficult job market. “If you’re skilled in your craft, there will be a place for you,” he said. “Study hard and pay attention to the larger picture of what’s happening in the changing economy; it will contextualize the law for you and bring the most success.”

A successful businessman and entrepreneur, Dr. Robertson is founder and chair of The Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) Inc., and founder of International Family Entertainment Inc., Regent University, Operation Blessing International Relief and Development Corporation, American Center for Law and Justice, The Flying Hospital, Inc. and several other organizations and broadcast entities.

Regent Law Alums in the News

Chris Brownwell (’04) recently published an article in American Thinker, a daily publication devoted to the thoughtful exploration of issues of importance to Americans.

The Hampton Roads Realtor Associations (HRRA) awarded Cynthia Couch (‘97) the honor of Affiliate Member of the Year. HRRA is one of the largest associations of its kind in Virginia, serving the real estate agent and affiliate community. Couch has demonstrated commitment to education in her field and serves her community regularly.

Former Tennessee state Representative Mark Goins (’96) was recently named Tennessee Elections Coordinator by Secretary of State Tre Hargett. Hargett credits Goins’ experience as a lawmaker and a recent member of the State Election Commission with preparing him for the position.

E. Todd Wilkowski (’98) has been recognized as a 2009 Ohio Super Lawyer. Wilkowski is General Counsel for the largest concrete construction company in the United States, Baker Concrete Construction. Only five percent of the attorneys in Ohio are chosen each year to be included in the Super Lawyers publication, which recognizes outstanding attorneys nominated by their peers.

Virginia State Bar President Speaks at Regent

Manuel A. "Manny" Capsalis, president of the Virginia State Bar, spoke to a group of students and professors yesterday in the Robertson Hall Moot Court Room.

Capsalis began his talk, "Professionalism and Faith in the Practice of Law," by discussing what “professionalism” means in a legal context. He encouraged the future attorneys and legal advocates present to be responsible, active agents of community service and positive change.

“The practice of law is a unique and profound privilege,” Capsalis said. “With it comes an equally profound responsibility.”

He encouraged future lawyers to “give back” to their communities and not just sit on the sidelines as their legal careers unfold.

Capsalis concluded his address by highlighting the historic role faith has played in the public and political realm, referencing Abraham Lincoln’s call to summon “the better angels of our nature” in exercising the important virtues of tolerance and reverence in and out of the courtroom.

Capsalis was admitted to the Virginia State Bar in 1988. He is a current member of the Board of Directors for the Virginia Law Foundation, the George Mason American Inn of Court and the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association. He is a managing partner in a law firm where he practices criminal and civil litigation and personal injury law.

Capsalis is also a substitute judge in district courts in Northern Virginia, and serves as prosecutor and deputy town attorney for the Town of Herndon. On June 20, 2008, Capsalis was sworn in as the 70th president of the Virginia State Bar.

Capsalis’ visit was sponsored by Regent's Phi Alpha Delta chapter.

Law Alum Named North Carolina Medicaid Director

Regent University School of Law alum Dr. Craigan L. Gray was recently appointed Director of the Division of Medical Assistance for North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services.

Gray graduated Regent Law in 2005 and is a member of the North Carolina and Tennessee bar. A graduate of Loma Linda University School of Medicine in California and a Stanford University trained obstetrician and gynecologist, he also holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Western Carolina University.

Read more about the appointment here.

Regent Law Faculty & Student in the News

Professor Tom Folsom was interviewed on March 27 by a British journalist at Managing Intellectual Property magazine. The reporter is writing an in-depth feature article about legal privilege in the area of trademark law that will appear in the International Trademark Association daily newspaper during the organization's annual conference in May.

Folsom was also recently interviewed by IP Law & Business Magazine regarding the current and near-term state of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The interview dealt with the impact that factors such as recent court decisions, potentially falling revenue, a hiring freeze, and new leadership are having on the operations of the USPTO, individual investors and the patent bar.

Law Professor Bruce Cameron was a guest on Norfolk radio station WHRV’s Hearsay with Cathy Lewis on March 24, discussing the Employee Free Choice Act – also known as the card check bill – now under consideration by Congress.

Law Professor James Duane’s recommendation to change the language of Virginia’s doctor-patient privilege unanimously passed the General Assembly and was approved March 30 by Virginia Governor Tim Kaine. The change, effective on July 1, makes it harder for doctors to disclose patient confidences without the consent of the patient.

Law student Dr. Kim Shaftner’s article  on health-care personnel’s “conscience clause” appeared in Catholic Online.

Regent Civil Litigation Clinic Alumna Continues to Impact Community

The truth.

It’s what Regent Law alumna Melinda Inman (‘08) says was her reason for pursuing a law degree. And it is her experience with the truth that many indigent people don’t have a voice in the legal system that motivated her to participate in Regent Law’s Civil Litigation Clinic.

When she was 13 years old, her father was indicted on federal drug charges. Illiterate, with only a second-grade education, he went through the court process completely ignorant of the system. He is now serving a life sentence plus 25 years.

But that experience sparked a desire in Melinda to give uneducated people a voice.

“[The Clinic] was especially designed to help indigent persons deal with civil matters that affect their lives tremendously. In such situations, they need someone who understands and cares about their situation,” she said.

Exciting opportunities in court and meetings with clients were accompanied by routine duties such as making phone calls, tracking medical documents, and updating files, but all of them gave Inman a taste of life outside of school.

“The principles in class can only be applied if you know the court procedures,” to which she adds, “I worked on a case the entire semester, but it all hinged on one day in court.”

Inman is now building on what she learned through the Clinic. She opened the doors to her own general practice recently in South Carolina, and is busy representing people she is passionate about.

“The Clinic gave me the opportunity to show care and compassion to the ‘least of these,’ which is important because normally indigent persons see themselves as powerless, and you have the chance to empower them.”

A local South Carolina newspaper picked up on Inman’s inspiring story and the impact she is making through her practice. Read that article here.

Regent Law Secures Victory at 12th Annual Statewide Legal Food Frenzy for Third Year Running

Regent University School of Law students, faculty,  and staff contributed to the 1.5 million pounds of food collected by the local legal com...