Law School Gains Membership in National Legal Education Consortium

Regent University School of Law continues to advance its commitment to student-centered learning.

The school was recently granted membership in Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers (ETL), a selective consortium of 24 law schools under the auspices of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS). ETL’s goal is to facilitate and encourage best practices in legal education in order to train new lawyers to the highest standards of competence and professionalism.

In order to be considered for membership in ETL, a law school must undergo a thorough assessment and meet a number of criteria including a demonstrated commitment to the legal education reforms outlined in the Carnegie Foundation’s groundbreaking 2007 report, Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law.

Professor Ben Madison, who was elected a fellow of the ETL consortium, observes how the consortium offers for the first time prospective law students concrete information on the quality of the legal education they will receive. 

“A law student should recognize the consortium as an independent source that will confirm whether the school actually prepares students for law practice—not just by teaching legal concepts, but also by training students in the skills of lawyering and in developing an ethical framework so that they can be true professionals,” Madison said.

The Carnegie report found that most law schools were deficient in “teaching students how to use legal thinking in the complexity of actual law practice” and were failing to “complement the focus on skill in legal analyses with effective support for developing ethical and social skills.”

ETL consortium member schools, which include USC, Stanford, Washington & Lee, Vanderbilt, Cornell, Georgetown, and others, utilize the Carnegie model of legal education to innovate legal education across three “value sets”: knowledge, practice, and professionalism. The goal is to develop lawyers with excellent advocacy skills, with an understanding of the nature and purpose of the legal profession, and who are committed to the ethical practice of law.

"We are very excited to be accepted to the ETL consortium and look forward to collaborating with others in the legal academy who are at the forefront of important innovations in legal education,” said Associate Dean for Student Affairs Natt Gantt. “We are also looking forward to sharing the Carnegie-related innovations we continue to implement at Regent, in particular our work in developing students’ professional identities.”

Regent’s ongoing commitment to the principles explored in Educating Lawyers continues to yield results in the form of exceptional metrics on the Law School Survey of Student Engagement, particularly in regards to ethical and professional formation.

Regent Law in the News

Justin Bush ’05, former partner at the law firm of Stallings & Bischoff, is now a named partner at the law firm of Stallings, Bush & Randall, P.C. Bush is the managing partner of the law firm’s Suffolk, Va. branch location.

Andrew McVay ’11 was the subject of this Thursday, July 19, profile in The Colorado Business Springs Journal. The profile looks at McVay's interest in law and business and how he combines them in his work.

Bob Stenzhorn ’05 was recently named Partner in Charge of Boleman, P.C.’s tax practice according to this announcement on the firm’s website.

Law Students Give Time, Talent to Local Community

Two weeks into her coursework with Regent University's Civil Litigation Clinic, School of Law student Heather Moore received her first case, a Social Security disability case referred to the clinic by the local Legal Aid Society.

Moore, who graduated in May, was still a student, but she couldn't pass up the opportunity to put her legal skills to work in the local community.

The Civil Litigation clinic, run by Associate Professor Kathleen McKee, has been a staple of Regent Law for more than 12 years, providing law students with the opportunity to use their legal knowledge to serve area residents who couldn't otherwise afford legal representation.

"The purpose of a clinical program is to give the student a feel for what it's like to work within a law firm, to represent a client from the beginning to the end of a case," McKee explained. "It helps students close the gap between classroom and courtroom."

Students have dealt with a variety of cases over the years, most involving landlord/tenant issues, domestic relations, government benefits, unemployment compensation hearings, Social Security disability, or domestic abuse.

In Virginia, third-year law students who have completed at least 60 hours of coursework—including courses in evidence, civil procedure, criminal law and professional responsibility—are eligible to apply for a practice certificate that allows them to provide legal services under the supervision of an attorney licensed to practice law in Virginia.

"You could be in the classroom for three hours a week, and you're just not getting your feet wet with that experience," Moore said. "I also think you need the opportunity, because it is such a tough economy, to have that experience because it is something to add on your resume."

Students also get experience in front of judges. "I'm glad I had the opportunity, so when I actually start working I know already what's going on and how to speak in front of a judge," Moore added.

Besides the practical experience, the Civil Litigation Clinic also gives students a chance to give back to the local community. All of the clients are individuals whose income places them at or below the poverty line; many are faced with issues of homelessness and unemployment that law students have not encountered before.

"What you will learn in clinic is what it means to be a Christian attorney because you do for your clients what Christ does for us," McKee said. "Christ comes up alongside us during our most difficult times and He walks beside us. He's a good listener; He doesn't prejudge us when we behave like knuckleheads and do stupid things. He's there to support us and comfort us during a difficult leg of a journey. As a Christian attorney, that's what you're doing for these clients."

"It really makes such a difference in the lives of the people you help," recalled Betty Russo '10. "We saw firsthand how employment benefits make a difference between the person sitting in front of you paying their rent or being homeless."

After graduation, Russo went into private practice but continued to work on cases with McKee while establishing her firm. The reward comes in serving the community, she explained. "When you see how much need there is in our local community, it just makes so much sense for us to be the voice for these people."

Learn more about the Civil Litigation Clinic and the Center for Advocacy.

By Rachel Judy

Law Students Serve as Clerks for Nonprofit with Global Reach

When recent Regent University School of Law graduate Caleb Dalton looks for a job this summer, he'll have quite the writing sample to share with prospective employers. After two years of working as a student clerk for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), Dalton has amassed a number of professional credits to his name, including co-authorship of a brief submitted before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Dalton is one of a number of Regent Law students who have gained firsthand legal experience through the ACLJ this year. The nonprofit organization, which has offices in Virginia Beach, Va., and Washington, D.C., engages in litigation, provides legal services, renders advice to individuals and governmental agencies, and counsels clients on global freedom and liberty issues.

"I've had an extremely diverse experience here," Dalton explained. "I've been able to apply my legal education in a lot of different ways from brief writing to research to client interaction."

As clerks, Regent Law students are often put to work preparing documents for important cases.

Third-year law student Zack Hutchison began clerking with the ACLJ in January. One of the standout cases he's been assigned to was a case involving a Pakistani couple who fled their home country because of religious persecution. "I consider it an additional chance to learn something new," Hutchison said. Not only was Hutchison learning something new; working alongside an ACLJ attorney, his efforts were an important part of obtaining refugee status in Malaysia for the couple. "It was nice to see months and months of hard work pay off," he added.

"Each law clerk at the ACLJ works closely with ACLJ attorneys on a daily basis," explained Dr. Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the ACLJ. "As such, clerks get timely, detailed feedback on their work projects which, in turn, results in raising the professional quality of their work very quickly. One of our goals is to assist the law school in producing attorneys of excellence who are prepared on Day One to meet the challenges of the legal profession. The clerks' training at the ACLJ hones their legal skills and provides valuable experience that makes them a cut above their contemporaries."

When she thinks about her year with the ACLJ, third-year law student Christie McGinley is most proud of her work on a 50-state survey of human trafficking laws in the United States. The chance to work with the ACLJ is one of the reasons she applied to Regent Law in the first place.

"I knew the work of the ACLJ, that it wasn't just a defense of religious liberties organization, but a really quality one," said McGinley, whose brother had clerked at the ACLJ when he was in school. "It's really cool to learn something [in the classroom] and then apply it here."

"They are actually carrying a lot more responsibility than most law students would," explained Robert "Skip" Ash, senior litigation counsel for national security law and a former Regent Law professor. "Working in the areas that we work in is not the easiest ... if you can do the hard stuff, you can do the easier stuff."

"The ACLJ derives a significant benefit by working side by side with the Regent University School of Law—we are able to hire diligent, highly motivated law students to assist us in defending religious and constitutional freedoms," Sekulow said. "We are able to capitalize on the students' talents and motivation. As such, we are able to provide topnotch legal assistance while assisting future attorneys in honing their legal skills."

Ultimately, for third-year law student Beau Hartman, the clerkship was about honing the practical skills needed to be a successful attorney. "I wanted to be part of a group that expected a high level out of their law clerks," he said. "It was being part of a group that I knew was going to help hone my skills so that, regardless of where I went .... I was going to be an asset beyond the doors of the ACLJ."

By Rachel Judy

Regent Law in the News

Clarence Henderson (’04) was recently appointed by Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire to a three-year appointment on the Washington State Human Rights Commission.

Washington’s Human Rights Commission is a state agency responsible for administering and enforcing Washington law’s against discrimination.

Henderson is a criminal defense attorney at Pierce County Department of Assigned Counsel.

Lynne Marie Kohm, the John Brown McCarty Professor of Family Law, was featured as a guest columnist by JURIST. Her op-ed, titled "Marriage and Grassroots Democracy in 2012" was published on Tuesday, June 26.

James Davids, assistant professor in the School of Law and Robertson School of Government, was quoted in this Thursday, June 28, article from discussing the implications of the Supreme Court's ruling to uphold the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.

Regent Extends Teaching Relationships with Distinguished Professors

Distinguished professors Attorney General John Ashcroft and Admiral Vern Clark—popular faculty members on the Regent University campus for several years—will continue their teaching and leadership roles through 2015.

In announcing this news, Regent president, Dr. Carlos Campo, said, "The real-world experience and leadership lessons that these two men bring to our students is part of what makes Regent's academic environment so enriching. Our students and faculty consider it a real privilege to learn from them."

Ashcroft has teaching appointments in Regent's School of Law and the Robertson School of Government (RSG), covering subjects including national legal policy, human rights, civil liberties and national security.

"Regent welcomes a full discussion of issues including spiritual values and concerns. Many institutions exclude or severely limit discussion of spiritual concepts; the Regent approach of welcoming the whole truth and complete discussion is most rewarding," said Ashcroft, who has taught at Regent since the spring of 2005. "Regent students are serious performers. During my seven years here, our law students have been national champions in moot court competitions and moot negotiation contests. They have also been formally recognized for writing top quality briefs among the nation's very best."

Besides teaching on campus for several weeks each semester, Ashcroft also teaches a course titled Civil Liberties and National Security at Regent Law's summer program with the European Center for Law and Justice at the University of Strasbourg in Strasbourg, France. He hosts numerous events during his times at Regent, and over the past eight years, has welcomed more than 2,000 Regent students to his residence for conversations outside of the classroom.

With teaching appointments in both RSG and the School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship, Clark covers topics including national security, public management and leadership development.

"I admire people who understand the call to commitment and their faith. I'm a teacher at heart, and I enjoy teaching in any environment, but teaching at Regent is special. Regent students have been inculcated with the challenge to develop as leaders and in their specialty area," shared Clark, who has been at Regent since the spring of 2006. "That means every student at Regent is going through the growth and development process so they can make a difference. And I like being surrounded by people with a vision of their future and the dedication to follow their calling."

During his time on campus, Clark also presents policy briefings and programs for other schools and departments, including Regent's Professional & Continuing Education division, where he has been teaching in a new Homeland Security Certificate program. He often speaks to prospective students, including members of the military who are considering higher education.

The Regent community benefits from the ample and diverse experiences that both distinguished professors bring to the campus.

Serving as Attorney General in the first George W. Bush administration, Ashcroft led the U.S. law enforcement community through the challenging and transformational period following the tragic attacks of September 11, 2001. His career of public service began in 1973 as Missouri Auditor. He was later elected to two terms as the state's attorney general and went on to serve as Governor of Missouri from 1985 through 1993. Ashcroft was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1994, and in 2001 he was appointed the U.S. Attorney General.

Currently, Ashcroft serves as chairman of The Ashcroft Group, LLC, which provides confidential strategic consulting and crisis counseling to major international corporations. Clark completed a distinguished 37-year Navy career in 2005. His Navy experience spans his early days as a lieutenant in command of a patrol gunboat and concluded in the halls of the Pentagon as the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He has the distinction of being the second-longest serving CNO in history.

He currently serves on the board of directors of Raytheon Company, Rolls Royce North America, and SRI International where he is Chairman of the Board. He serves as a senior advisor with Booz Allen Hamilton, the Defense Business Board, the advisory boards of Fleishman-Hillard, Robertson Fuel Systems LLC (not affiliated with Regent's founding family), Cubic Defense Applications, Inc. and the Executive Committee of Military History.

Learn more about Regent's distinguished faculty.

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...