Law Team Advances to International Competition Finals

Competing against law schools from the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean, Regent Law’s competition team recently advanced to the international round of the University of Oxford’s Price Media Law Moot Court Programme to be held on the campus of the University of Oxford, England, this coming April. Regent’s team also won the award for the competition’s third best brief.

Participants in the Price competition argue cases regarding the rule of law and international norms for freedom of expression. The competition, which features regional rounds held in South Asia, South East Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East, is known for its wide range of student competitors and notable guest judges from around the world.

At the Americas Regional Round held January 24-27 in New York City, Regent’s team of Monica Bailey, Kevin Hoffman, Caleb Wan, and Alexis Fenell defeated teams from Brazil and Argentina in the preliminary rounds, and St. Mary’s School of Law and the Cardozo School of Law in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds, to advance to the international and final round of the competition. In addition to the oral argument component of the competition, each competition team was required to submit two briefs, or "memorials" as they are known in international law, arguing both sides of the competition problem. Regent’s team ultimately finished second in the final round of the Americas Regional Round.

"We are extremely proud of this team,” said team coach and law professor Michael Hernandez. “We are also excited about the Price Media competition, which intersects with our strong programs in Moot Court, Global Justice, and International Human Rights. We look forward to competing for the international title in Oxford, England in April."

Regent Law’s success in the Price competition adds to the list of over 60 national and regional championships, best brief, and best oralist awards in the school’s 26 year history.

Law Professor Scott Pryor Named ABI Resident Scholar

The American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) has named Regent University School of Law professor Scott Pryor the Robert M. Zinman ABI Resident Scholar for the spring 2013 semester.

ABI names a resident scholar each semester to help further the organization's research and solutions for insolvency. During his appointment, Pryor will be based in ABI's Alexandria, Va., office, assisting ABI with its educational programming and in its role as the authoritative source of bankruptcy information for Congress, the media and the public.

"Serving as Resident Scholar is an honor and an opportunity," said Pryor. "It is an honor to be recognized for my work in this field of law and an opportunity to be of service to the larger legal community."

Pryor has been a professor in the School of Law since 1998, and was a Fulbright Scholar to National Law University-Jodhpur (India) in 2009. He has written and lectured extensively on bankruptcy, contract law and Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code.

"So far I've spent time designing a 'nuts and bolts' continuing legal education program for new lawyers. The program will run a full day with parallel tracks for lawyers emphasizing consumer bankruptcies or business bankruptcies," Pryor explained. "I am also fielding calls from various news organizations (Dow Jones News, Wall Street Journal, South Florida Business Journal) about bankruptcy issues, as well as beginning to design 'on demand' podcasts for lawyers who want more in-depth information about discrete topics in bankruptcy law."

Pryor has been an ABI member for many years. ABI is the largest multi-disciplinary, nonpartisan organization dedicated to research and education on matters related to insolvency. The ABI membership includes more than 13,000 attorneys, accountants, bankers, judges, professors, lenders, turnaround specialists and other bankruptcy professionals.

Learn more about Regent Law faculty.

By Amanda Morad

Symposium Focuses on Protecting Children

Regent University's Center for Global Justice, Human Rights & the Rule of Law hosted its second annual symposium Jan. 11-12. Aptly named "Seeking Justice for the Least of These," the two-day event rallied approximately 300 attendees to hear 40 speakers explore issues of child protection in the United States and around the world.

Sponsored by Operation Blessing International and Orphan's Promise, the symposium offered sessions in four major areas: child trafficking, child welfare, juvenile justice and adoption. Speakers included non-profit founders, government advisors, FBI agents, and more.

Ben Cooley, CEO and co-founder of Hope for Justice, runs the only non-profit in the UK dedicated to identifying and investigating cases of child trafficking. The organization has rescued children as young as 3 months in cases of benefits fraud, forced labor and sexual exploitation. "Children are a message to the future," Cooley said. "We want to make sure we send a message of freedom and hope."

Agnes Samler, president of Defense for Children International (DCI), Canada, works with the justice system to protect children from abuse. "Where the focus used to be on rehabilitation for minors, it has shifted to accountability by society," Samler said. "The result is likely to be more juveniles in custody and in custody for longer periods of time." This, she explained, leads to abuse of the system and puts juveniles at risk for violence and repeat offenses.

Dr. Clydette Powell, a medical officer for the Bureau for Global Health, discussed the United States' action plan to put more children in safe family situations. "I love seeing the government do the things we in the faith-based community have always known are important," she said. "The goal is to increase the number of children living in family care and to help caregivers and parents increase their capacity to feed, care for and educate their children."

"Helping professions will always be needed to rescue and help the children, but we also need to work on fixing families," said Martin Brown, special advisor to Gov. Bob McDonnell for the familial reintegration of state offenders. "The emotional stability of kids also depends on stable family units."

Because of the steps Virginia has taken to refocus its efforts in foster care from providing a safe home for children to providing permanence through family restoration or adoption, the number of children waiting to be adopted has dropped over the past five years. Currently, about 1,100 children in Virginia are waiting to be adopted. He compared that to the number of churches in the state, and said that if one family from 1/10th of the churches adopted, the need would be met.

He also talked about helping offenders being released from prison to reconnect with their children and other family members, and addressed the role of government in these initiatives. Government must partner with those who are successful in helping, from the faith and non-profit communities.

"We need an all hands on deck approach to make this successful," he said. "Government cannot do it alone."

At the symposium banquet Friday night, Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, spoke honestly about his difficult childhood.

Daly's personal testimony is one of great trial: his biological father was an alcoholic, and his parents divorced when he was 5. His mother tragically died when he was 9, and his step-father abandoned Daly and his siblings on the day of their mother's funeral.

After staying with a friend's very dysfunctional family, and enduring the death of his biological father when he was 11, Daly lived with older siblings and on his own during high school. Thanks to his football coach who introduced him to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Daly accepted Christ when he was 15.

"I've had experience with every type of family unit," he said. "God was there in all of it."

"God's heart is for the child," he iterated. "Forty-eight times in Scripture, God commands us to take care of widows and orphans. The Lord delights in what we do for children and smiles when we take time to reach out to a child."

Daly talked about an adoption/orphan care initiative of Focus on the Family called Wait No More, which encourages churches and other ministry partners to help recruit families to adopt. Nationwide, there are about 100,000 children waiting to be adopted. Daly said he looks forward to the day when churches wipe out the adoption waiting list in at least one state.

The Center for Global Justice responded to this call to action. "We are committed to making that happen and will support that effort in every way," said Ashleigh Chapman, the center's administrative director. "Many relationships were built this weekend to support adoption for Virginia's foster care system."

Twenty-five Regent Law students work at the center weekly and will be continuing the efforts initiated at the symposium. "We will be supporting the partnerships we've made and continue our work to equip the next generation of advocates," said Chapman.

Learn more about the Center for Global Justice.

By Amanda Morad

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 ('12) 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 Regent Law.

This Week On Campus

To discuss positions in the legal field across Hampton Roads, Career Services hosted Joyce Diaz, Placement Director at Special Counsel, to speak with students on Tuesday, January 15.

The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) team held an informational meeting for the upcoming Intramural Competition on Tuesday, January 15.

Phi Alpha Delta (PAD) hosted a mini golf social event on Wednesday, January 16.

Reverend Luis Cortes, Jr., founder of Esperanza, a Hispanic community network, and one of Time Magazine's 25 most influential evangelicals delivered this week’s Law Chapel message on Thursday, January 17. Previous Law Chapel messages may be viewed here.

Regent Law hosted the National Moot Court Competition for the American Collegiate Moot Court Association on Friday and Saturday, January 18-19.

Center for Global Justice Contributes to Va. Supreme Court Decision

Regent Law’s students and faculty continue to impact some of the most important legal issues of our time.

As part of the Center for Global Justice’s Child Advocacy Practicum, Regent Law students and faculty recently submitted an amicus brief on behalf of the best interests of a child caught in the middle of her parents’ assisted reproduction parentage dispute.

Early this month the Supreme Court of Virginia adopted the concepts set forth in the Center’s brief - and used some of the Center’s research verbatim– in a ruling that will safeguard the best interest of the child.

The Supreme Court of Virginia’s full opinion in the case of L.F. v. Mason v. Breit is available here. The Virginian-Pilot covered the case earlier here.

The Center argued that a child should not be deprived of a parent, in this case her father, when her other parent, in this case her mother, argued that her father was simply a sperm donor rather than an intended parent.

In its decision the Supreme Court of Virginia ultimately recognized that children need a mother and a father, and should be able to know and have a relationship with both parents.

“Children resulting from assisted reproductive techniques (ART) are extremely vulnerable, and absolutely require their parents to protect their interests,” said Regent’s John Brown McCarty Professor of Family Law, Lynne Marie Kohm. “When that doesn’t happen, the child is irreparably harmed. In this case, a court was asked to intervene to remedy this family breakdown, and the Center for Global Justice participated in that litigation. Our work in this area has made a tremendous difference in that child’s life – she will now be able to know her father, as well as her mother.”

The case is significant because it is the first time that any court has recognized a child’s interest in knowing and having a relationship with his or her parents.

Read Professor Kohm’s research on the rights and best interests of children here and here.

This Week on Campus

Assistant Professor J. Haskell Murray of Regent University School of Law presented a paper on jurisdictional competition and social enterprise at the annual meeting of The Association of American Law Schools (AALS) in New Orleans on Sunday, January 6.

Spring 2013 courses commenced on Monday, January 7.

To help students bring in the New Year and own their career, Career Services hosted "The Nuts & Bolts of Job Searching" program on Tuesday, January 8.

On Wednesday and Thursday, January 10, students interested in becoming Student Ambassadors were able to have their questions answered by Sarah Schulte in the lobby of Robertson Hall. More information on becoming a Student Ambassador may be found here.

Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Associate Professor L. O. Natt Gantt, II of Regent University School of Law, delivered this week’s Law Chapel message on the topic of “worry” and how to fully trust the Lord to provide in times of need on Thursday, January 10. Previous Law Chapel messages may be viewed here.

Career Services hosted a 3L Walk-In Day for students on Thursday, January 10.

Faculty and Staff of Regent Law participated in the annual New Year Prayer meeting on Friday, January 11.

The Center for Global Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law hosted the 2nd Annual “Seeking Justice for the Least of These” symposium on Friday and Saturday, January 11-12. Over 50 experts shared about their critical work to combat child trafficking, improve child welfare systems, reform juvenile justice efforts, and advocate for children in need of families. For a complete schedule of events see here.

Symposium to Address Protection of Children

Some of the most pressing and challenging issues of justice facing children today will be confronted at Regent Law's Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law when it presents the second annual "Seeking Justice for the Least of These" Symposium. The two-day symposium will take place at The Founders Inn and Spa on the Regent University campus, Friday and Saturday, Jan. 11-12.

For a complete schedule and to register, go to

The symposium will offer attendees the opportunity to interact with a network of experts on issues involving child trafficking, child welfare, adoption and juvenile justice both in the United States and around the world. Symposium attendees will include human rights advocates, legal professionals, nonprofits, ministry leaders and students. Everyone coming to the meetings shares a common purpose: to help and to serve the vulnerable and oppressed in the world.

Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, will be the keynote speaker for the Friday evening banquet. About 50 experts will be speaking throughout the weekend, including Jeffrey Barrows, director, Abolition International Shelter Association; Yali Lincroft, policy and program consultant, First Focus; Jack Levine, volunteer program director, National Association of Youth Courts; Kathi Grasso, senior juvenile justice policy and legal advisor, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; Dr. Ana Aspras Steele, president, Dalit Freedom Network; David Rogers, supervisory special agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation; Dan Owens, president, Sixty Feet; and Yuri Mantilla, director of international government affairs, Focus on the Family.

The Center for Global Justice equips Christian advocates who will promote the rule of law and seek justice for the world's downtrodden—the poor, the oppressed and the enslaved—and serves and supports those already engaged in such advocacy. Activities include academic preparation, internship programs, partner support, collaborative initiatives and special events. The Center was launched in October 2010 by Regent University's School of Law.

Learn more about the center.

Regent Law Alumni in the News

Hugo Valverde '05 (Law) was profiled in this Hispanic Executive magazine article for his work in helping members of Virginia's immigrant community.

Kelley Holland '08 (Law) has joined the law firm of Williams Mullen in Virginia Beach, as reported by Money®News and several other news outlets.

Alumna Receives Business Achievement Award

Honoring Hampton Roads women who have been successful in their business and careers, as well as positively impacting their community, the Inside Business Women in Business Achievement Awards have been a staple in the region for the past ten years.

This year, one of the honorees was Regent University alumna Kristi Wooten '99 (Law and Government). Wooten (pictured left) practices family law at Wooten & Shaddock PLC.

"I'm honored to receive this award," said Wooten. "As a woman in a male-dominated career, it's great to see women honoring other women and helping us gain recognition for our accomplishments."

Wooten admits that being a successful business owner, wife and mother, as well as impacting her community, has been a challenge. "I hope other women see these awards as inspirational and as an opportunity to learn from other women who have gone before them," she explained. "Receiving awards and plaques shouldn't drive our goals, but it is nice to be recognized for our successes. Women have a lot to contribute, especially to the area of family law where we often serve more as counselors-at-law than attorneys."

Wooten was one of 25 honorees celebrated at a banquet on Monday, Dec. 10. The honorees were selected by a panel of judges and were also profiled in a special issue of Inside Business.

"Practicing law is a way to combine my love of the process with helping people," Wooten said. "Regent Law and [the Robertson School of Government] equipped me with a necessary knowledge of the foundation and building blocks of the law. The schools train students to understand, apply, reason and argue the law. Regent also compels one to pursue, not just a career, but a calling and a passion."

By Rachel Bender

Center for Advocacy Prepares Students for Practice

Students' success in the practice of law depends upon more than classroom performance. It also relies on the students' opportunity to perfect fundamental legal skills prior to graduation. This opportunity can take a variety of forms. It might look like taking on a case under the direction of a seasoned attorney, participating in competitions designed to refine skills as orators and writers, or perhaps working as a clerk at an internationally recognized nonprofit with global reach.

All of these opportunities (and more) are available to Regent University School of Law students through the Center for Advocacy, which was established to equip the next generation of lawyers with exceptional training in research and writing, negotiation, trial and appellate advocacy.

"We believe we can have a broader reach and a more significant impact by coordinating our efforts through this center," said Jeffrey Brauch, dean of the School of Law. "The center will bring greater attention to our work. It will also let us begin new outreaches, such as expanding advocacy training to non-lawyers."

The Center for Advocacy is a comprehensive grouping of all the various programs that provide students with these experiences, including the Civil Litigation Clinic, the Singer Civil Litigation Practicum, the National Right to Work Practicum, clerkships with the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), Advocacy Skills Boards, and a number of other externships, legal analysis and writing opportunities, and third-year practice opportunities.

In a very competitive legal market, employers are looking for students with experience in fundamental legal skills.

"There is growing agreement, both in academia and the legal profession, that law schools need to be effective in developing 'practice-ready' graduates," explained Professor Eric DeGroff, the center's director. "The center is designed to promote and enhance that aspect of our educational program, and thus ensure that our students are as well prepared as possible to hit the ground running upon graduation."

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.

The Singer Civil Litigation Practicum is offered to second- and third-year Regent Law students for course credit. The practicum places law students in attorney-in-residence Randy Singer's own firm—The Singer Legal Group—giving them hands-on experience in a law firm setting.

"The best way to learn how to try a civil case is to get in there and do it, and do it under proper supervision with a firm that's really trying to do things in an excellent way," Singer explained.

As clerks with the ACLJ—a nonprofit organization with offices in Virginia Beach, Va., and Washington, D.C.—students are placed in the middle of the organization's efforts to engage in litigation, provide legal services, render advice to individuals and governmental agencies, and counsel clients on global freedom and liberty issues.

And, of course, the Advocacy Skills Boards, such as Alternative Dispute Resolution, Moot Court and Trial Advocacy continue to earn recognition at regional and national competitions. In 2012, the Moot Court Team won the Region IV competition of the National Moot Court Competition (NMCC) sponsored by the New York Bar Association. Held at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va., the competition included 22 teams. Regent's team of third-year law students Paul Bailey, Andrew Kartchner, and Jessica Pak also won the award for the best brief.

In the same month, Regent Law's Alternative Dispute Resolution Board (ADR) won the 2012 American Bar Association (ABA) Regional Negotiation Competition at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. Third-year law students Hannah Carter and Chris Bell placed first from a roster of 24 teams representing universities like Georgetown, American University, George Mason, George Washington University, University of Richmond, the University of Maryland, Washington & Lee and William & Mary.

"The ultimate goal," DeGroff explained, "is to prepare graduates who can move effectively into areas of service where they can make a difference in the legal profession or in whatever God calls them to do."

Learn more about Regent Law's Center for Advocacy.

By Rachel Bender

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...