During their three-year stint in the juris doctorate programs, many students focus on the theory of law, absorbing two-dimensional cases from books laced with legalese. But, through its Judicial Internship Program, more than 50 Regent University School of Law students have the opportunity to learn from judges and clerks from local city courts.
On Tuesday, June 25, the School of Law, along with the Office of Career & Alumni Services, hosted the 10th Annual Judicial Internship Banquet at The Founders Inn and Spa.
There, program participants from more than 15 courts—such as the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, the Court of Appeals of Virginia, and the Virginia Beach Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court—were honored for their service in guiding students.
Judge Patricia West, associate dean for the School of Law (pictured), welcomed the students, judges and clerks who participated in the Judicial Internship Program for the 2013-2014 academic year. And while she acknowledges that the program provides a unique opportunity for Regent students to gain real-world application of the principles of law, she believes there are additional benefits that are just as important.
"Our students develop personal relationships with the judges, the clerks and many of the attorneys who appear in the courts where the students are assigned," said West. "Those relationships often remain long after the particulars of a case are forgotten, and we are grateful to the judges and clerks who open their courtrooms and their hearts to our students."
Aubrey Cross, a second-year student in the School of Law, expressed her gratitude at the banquet. This summer Cross is serving at the Chesapeake General District Court, where she's received a more holistic view of the courtroom.
"You have given us an opportunity that I'm sure we will never forget," said Cross.
This "unforgettable" opportunity is what spurred Judge Glen A. Huff Jr. to share the story of his internship experience, which he completed nearly four decades ago, and is what encourages him to participate in the internship program for Regent students to this day.
"Judges can have a profound effect on young lawyers; it's a pleasure to work with the students and to watch them grow and develop," said Huff. "We're doing something to bring these young people into their careers."
Huff explained that his own internship opportunity opened his mind to "possibility thinking." His upbringing was in "stark contrast" to the years he spent learning the law, but Huff's judicial clerkship gave him the confidence to imagine that he could one day be an attorney and eventually be appointed to the bench of the Court of Appeals of Virginia.
"It's our responsibility to bring these students into our sphere of influence," said Huff. "May each of the judges embrace these students and encourage our colleagues to give them their time; we can make a difference."
Learn more about Regent University School of Law and the Office of Career & Alumni Services.
By Brett Wilson
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