Law Graduate Named to Hampton Roads’ “Top 40 Under 40”

Regent University School of Law is proud that another of its graduates has been named to Inside Business’ “Top 40 Under 40.”

Each year since 1999, the journal highlights the Hampton Roads’ talent making significant contributions to their career fields and to the community.

This year Brett Thompson (’01) was recognized for his strong leadership and professional growth as an attorney and business owner. Thompson practices real estate and corporate law and made partner at Kellam, Pickrell, Cox & Tayloe, P.C. after only five years with the firm.

Strongly motivated by his wife, Tiffany, and two children, Thompson strives to maintain a healthy balance between his work and professional responsibilities.

“There is no higher level of achievement or greater satisfaction at the end of the day than to come home to a loving family,” he said. “I try to keep in mind that if I deprive my family then that will weaken my ability to be productive in all other aspects of my life.”

He serves the community through several charitable and civic organizations, including as President of the Norfolk Sunrise Rotary Club.

Thompson credits Regent with laying the foundation for his success. “I hope this award will help highlight Regent University as a top institution of higher learning that continually produces productive leaders,” he said.

Inside Business recognized another Regent Law graduate, Diane Toscano (’06), in 2008’s “Top 40 Under 40.”

Regent Law Faculty Recognized as a National Top Ten

According to TaxProf blogger Paul L. Caron, Regent’s law professors rank among the top ten most interesting and most accessible law faculties in the nation.

TaxProf blog culled data directly from the Princeton Review’s 2010 edition of “The Best 172 Law Schools” to generate its rankings.

Caron’s blog is one of the most visited law blogs edited by a single law professor, and the American Bar Association has honored it as one of its “Top 100 Blawgs.”

Get to know Regent’s nationally recognized professors here, and visit our Regent Law Faculty blog here.

School of Law Exceeds Virginia Bar Exam Statewide Average

First-time test takers from Regent University School of Law's class of 2009 passed the February and July Virginia Bar Exams at an overall rate of 77.8 percent, exceeding the statewide average of 76.4 percent for all first time takers.

"I am encouraged with these results and believe we will continue to see improvement in our pass rate as we implement some of our new bar preparation initiatives in the coming months and years," Regent Law Dean Jeffrey A. Brauch said. "I praise God for his blessing on our graduates and the school."

Click here to receive a free Regent Law admission view book, and here to receive news updates from the school delivered straight to your inbox.

Student Externs with NATO to Combat Piracy off the Coast of Somalia

Second year law student Sarah Hajovsky wants to use her J.D. in the field of international human rights. She doesn’t have to go overseas, however, to gain the necessary legal experience. Instead, she only has to travel ten miles from the Regent University campus to gain exposure to some of the most important international humanitarian work being done today.

Since September, Hajovsky has been externing 12-15 hours a week with the Civil Military Fusion Centre (CFC) at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Supreme Allied Command Headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia. Her projects support CFC’s goal of “creating an environment where information can flow freely between civilian and military actors engaged in complex crises, with the intent to ultimately help those in need.”

“I thoroughly enjoy participating in projects that have international significance,” said Hajovsky. “And CFC is designed to facilitate communication between non-government organizations and the military when handling sensitive humanitarian disasters around the globe.”

Hajovsky reports to the Knowledge Manager for North East Africa who is responsible for overseeing the humanitarian crisis in this region. In response to current events, Hajovsky has been compiling information for, and maintaining an informational website on, piracy off the coast of Somalia. In addition to writing a legal brief detailing the jurisdictional issues surrounding the prosecution of piracy, she also works for a member of the NATO general counsel.

Through her NATO externship, Hajovsky has gained a better understanding of maritime law and universal jurisdiction, along with the applicable United Nation Security Council Provisions, International Maritime Organization regulations, and the Suppression of Unlawful Acts directives.

Read about other Regent Law externs here.

Lawyers Learning from Clients: Regent’s Civil Litigation Clinic Teaches Life Lessons

Third year law student Melissa Hudgins recognizes that her hands-on work with Regent’s Civil Litigation clinic will improve her career prospects. For her, however, Regent’s Clinic is about much more than personal gain.

“The beauty of the Clinic is not only the practical experience it offers students,” she said, “but that it allows clients to have a hand in changing students’ perceptions about those who depend on government aid to survive.”

This semester, Hudgins has been working on behalf of a single mother of three whose food stamp and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits had been terminated. The client received this sanction because she was alleged to have intentionally violated the program’s requirements.

In order to properly defend her client’s cause, Hudgins took the time to get to know her. She discovered that in addition to a lack of education, her client experienced difficulty finding adequate child care and transportation, all of which prevented her from supporting her family. She learned that her client also suffered from chronic medical problems that exacerbated the difficulties she faced when applying for public assistance.

“It was apparent from the beginning of this case that my client was not someone looking for a handout from the government,” said Hudgins. “She was an intelligent and devoted mother who endured a daily battle with fulfilling strict program requirements and struggling to house and feed three children.”

From the day the Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia referred the client to Regent’s Clinic, Hudgins had two weeks to prepare for the hearing at the Department of Social Services.

She had to unravel a trail of paperwork that had been shuffled from caseworker to caseworker and gain familiarity with the agency’s stringent procedures, but she did so diligently. She researched Virginia’s working requirements for TANF and food stamp recipients and built her case.

In spite of all the administrative knowledge she gained and the skills she developed, for Hudgins the invaluable part of her work was learning to see the process from her client’s perspective.

“My client had to report to a number of case workers who did not accurately inform her of how she could prevent the sanctioning process or have her benefits reinstated,” said Hudgins. “Her documents were mishandled and she was treated as just another case number. Without an advocate the process would be overwhelmingly frustrating, intimidating and stifling for anyone in my client’s shoes.”

The result of the hearing is due in just over two weeks. As Hudgins waits, she is very much aware of the difference between what a positive result will mean for her and what it will mean for her client.

“While it is exciting to wait and anticipate whether I was victorious in my first case, my client, on the other hand, has to sit and wonder whether she will regain sufficient resources to feed and house her children.”

For Hudgins, such realizations are the great reward of participating in the Clinic.

2009 Law Symposium Weekend Discusses Intersection of Media and the Law

Just when does government regulation of the media go too far? Or, does it ever not go far enough? Even if a particular regulatory act is constitutional, is it prudent?

The 2009 Law Review Symposium attempted to answer these questions October 9 – 10, 2009.

Regent Law Review Editor in Chief, Benjamin Eastburn, commented on the forum topic’s timeliness. “We chose ‘Media and the Law’ because of its seemingly universal presence in political discussions and news stories over the past year,” he said. “People have heard a lot about the Fairness Doctrine, television and internet regulation, et cetera. Discussing these topics was a necessary step towards informing the legal community on the difficult questions our symposium posed.”

The weekend started on Friday with a kick-off banquet featuring special guest Judge Andrew P. Napolitano. He entertained and challenged guests with a lively look at the foundations of 1st amendment freedoms.

Judge Napolitano, former New Jersey Superior Court Judge, serves as FOX News’ senior judicial analyst. He joined the network in 1998, has hosted television and talk radio shows, and is currently the host of FOX’s Freedom Watch.

The discussion continued with the Distinguished Symposium Panel on Media and the Law on Saturday morning. Congressman Trent Franks (AZ-2), a high-profile sponsor of numerous bills designed to protect the family, including the "Child Obscenity and Pornography Bill,” moderated the panel of speakers.

Asst. Prof Marvin Ammori of the University of Nebraska College of Law and General Counsel of Free Press; Asst. Prof. Adam Candeub of Michigan State University College of Law; Prof. Christine A. Corcos of the Louisiana State University Law Center; Prof. Patrick M. Gary of the University of South Dakota School of Law; and Prof. Lili Levi of the University of Miami School of Law engaged in an interesting dialogue about government regulation of mass media and the internet.

While guests represented the entire gamut of viewpoints on media and law issues, they often demonstrated consensus on questions such as whether Congress should protect children from indecent material on the television and internet. The debate, however, sparked around the scope of that and other regulations.

So, does government go too far in regulating media? Or not far enough? Watch for the symposium edition of the Regent Law Review in Spring 2010 to read the distinguished panelists’ responses. Visit the Regent Law Review site to pre-order your subscription today.

Students Extern at Largest Health Care Provider in Southeastern Virginia

Sentara Healthcare was founded in Norfolk, VA in 1888 and now is the largest integrated health care provider in southeastern Virginia and North Carolina, serving more than 2 million residents.

Still headquartered in Norfolk, Sentara often recruits Regent Law students for internships, externships, and possible job opportunities within the corporation.

Two students, Michael Deering (2L) and Erica Pero (3L), are currently enjoying the rigors of an externship with Sentara’s legal department. Both students praise the experience for adding to their studies a depth of skills not gained in the classroom.

“I was treated as a young attorney and was expected to produce results equivalent to the work of a young attorney,” said Deering of his externship experience. “The practice of law is not law school. The drudgery of reading for class and writing memos morphs into an excitement about producing the best work product possible.”

Pero agrees. “The legal department at Sentara Healthcare is a close knit group of fantastic attorneys,” she said. “I was treated as an equal from day one; I was given complex tasks that stretched my abilities and forced me to step outside my comfort zone.”

The students report to the entire legal department at Sentara’s corporate headquarters, but have also been privileged to work with corporate vice presidents and medical executives.

Pero deals with most of Sentara’s corporate matters: mergers, acquisitions, creation of corporate entities, contracts with employees, and tax issues. One of her major projects was to file a Hart-Scott-Rodino pre-merger notification report with the Federal Trade Commission in preparation for a major acquisition in northern Virginia.

Deering has also been involved in many different projects including corporate by-laws, trademark issues, home health and palliative care, and negotiations.

Their summer hours kept them busy full time, and this fall they’ll each work 180 hours to complete the externship credit. To Deering, it’s all time well spent.

“The work you produce with your hands and mind, the time you spend analyzing, researching, and communicating, all ultimately affect an individual either within the corporation or on the outside,” he said. “To me, there is no greater satisfaction than to know that my efforts, perseverance and diligence have helped someone in some way.”

Law Professor Partners with Johns Hopkins in Giving Seminar for Iranian Human Rights Attorneys

Regent University School of Law Professor Kathleen McKee recently presented a specialized seminar on Clinical Legal Education at the English for Human Rights Attorneys Conference in Galway, Ireland, August 7 – 21.

The conference and seminar, attended primarily by human rights attorneys from Iran, was held under the auspices of Johns Hopkins University’s Protection Project .

“I was pleased to see that seminar attendees understood the importance of clinical education as providing access to justice for people who are not able to retain an attorney,” McKee said. “They seemed very committed to this issue.”

In preparation for the seminar, McKee analyzed Iran’s constitution and civil code, and also conducted background research in family law, labor law, and other areas likely to be engaged within the scope of clinical education.

McKee looks forward to future work in social justice and human rights issues with foundations like the Protection Project. “I’m hopeful that there will be opportunities to conduct similar seminars,” she said. “South Africa, for example, is a place where we know that social justice is a major concern. Right now human rights issues are prevalent all across the globe.”

Learn more about Prof. McKee’s scholarship here, and about Regent Law’s international programs here.

Trial Advocacy Board Takes Home 1st Place from National Pretrial Competition

Regent University School of Law’s Trial Advocacy Board is busy making a name for itself. After being awarded “Best Brief” last year at the invitation-only National Pretrial Competition hosted by Stetson University, the team was ready for more.

And this year, they got exactly what they aimed for. The team of Lu Aloupas, Jerry Harris, Kate Hart, and David Johnson were named Overall 1st Place Team and National Pretrial Champions at the competition held October 3-4, in Gulfport, Florida.

In addition to this honorable achievement, the team was recognized for Overall Best Brief once again, teammate Hart was given Best Oral Advocate in the Semi-Final Round, and teammate Harris was given Best Oral Advocate in the Final Round.

The team did not lose a round during the entire competition, even when slated against Chicago-Kent, a traditional top-ten Trial Advocacy powerhouse.

To compete, the team submitted written briefs on a pretrial motion and presented oral arguments and evidence on the motions. Three-hour rounds are designed to simulate motions practice, which is what most junior attorneys spend a significant amount of time doing after law school. Team Coach and Professor David Velloney said, “It's a great concept and Stetson deserves credit for developing and hosting such a relevant competition.”

Velloney also remarked on what made the success possible. “Special thanks are due to our Legal Research and Writing [faculty] whose dedication to our students once again paid big dividends in our students' ability to rise above the competition from other schools,”
he said. “Also, Professor James Duane's work with the team and dedication to the trial advocacy program significantly improved our student's arguments and ability to handle witnesses.”

The Trial Advocacy board is already busy preparing for its next competition, the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law’s Sixth Annual Competition in early November.

Click here for further information published by Stetson College of Law regarding Regent’s victory and the National Pretrial Competition.

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...