Regent Law Alumnus Finds Success With Own Firm in Norfolk, Virginia

Regent University School of Law alumnus Gabriel McCoy (’11) had never been a part of a Christian higher education institution before.

He recalls very clearly week one, first semester of his 1L year.

“I remember telling my dad that I never met so many people that were as intelligent, hard-working, hungry to compete and loved the Lord all at the same time,” said McCoy. “The caliber of people were elevated, and it was fun to run with this pack of motivated folks.”

To this day, McCoy still runs with his “Regent pack,” after co-founding Pierce/McCoy, PLLC, with Regent Law alumnus Nathaniel Pierce ’08 in April 2013. The firm, based in downtown Norfolk, Virginia, serves clients in Hampton Roads, Richmond, Texas, New York and even Serbia.

The decision to begin the daunting, yet “adventurous” task of beginning a firm came at a time when the legal market was extremely competitive and the “opportunities were few and far between.” McCoy walked in faith and in prayer asked that the Lord would “close the doors” to the wrong opportunities.

“This was the last door that was open that made sense,” said McCoy.

He gave himself a one-year deadline: It was either find enough financial success to support his family or give up and go into banking.

More than three years later, the firm has grown to eight full-time attorneys – five of which are Regent alumni.

“The best people I met in my entire life were people I met at Regent,” he said. Most of all, he said, was his wife, Regent Law alumna Sarah McCoy (‘11). The two dated throughout their three-year tenure at Regent together. And they were married two weeks after taking the Virginia Bar exam.

“Thank God for mothers, they stepped up big and helped us focus on the bar prep,” said McCoy. “Then it was off to the races.”

McCoy said that his time at Regent was a “period of enlightenment,” in his educational career – particularly in regard to the law and how it applies to different situations. While he was taught the rules and guidelines as an attorney at the bar, he believes law woven in with his faith gave him a “brighter North star” to follow when it comes to what’s right and wrong as an attorney.

“Regent’s integrating of its mission and its fundamental foundations was something that I personally enjoyed,” said McCoy. “They did a good job of integrating that law in the mission and not deviating from that mission.”

Apart from helping him pass the bar, McCoy said that the faculty and deans were just as integral in helping him build his practice.

“They were incredibly supportive and really spared nothing in giving me access to resources and people in the community,” said McCoy.

He explained that much of his job as an attorney is helping clients in their “darkest hours.” He’s found an opportunity to witness to clients and the people he works with, and even uses his office space at the World Trade Center to host a Bible study to offer “spiritual strength” to those in the area.

He said that if the only reason in hindsight of him starting his own firm was to have the opportunity to minister to the community in that way, it was worth it.

“It’s your job first to be a good attorney, and then if they’re open to counsel, presenting the opportunity of the gospel,” said McCoy. “Not only to solve [your client’s] immediate legal needs, but to also give them some level of strength and hope.”

Learn more about Regent University’s School of Law.

By Brett Wilson Tubbs
Photo courtesy of Gabriel McCoy.

Regent Law Faculty Achievements - Week of November 28, 2016

Regent University's School of Law Faculty members willingly share their knowledge and expertise beyond the classroom to spark scholarly debate and advance the practice of law. Their latest endeavors include the following.

Associate Professor Brad Jacob made three separate presentations at the CLS national conference with Associate Dean Natt Gantt. Professor Jacob also spoke at Federalist Society law student chapters at the University of Chicago, IIT-Chicago Kent College of Law, and the University of Baltimore School of Law on topics including religious liberty and the 17th Amendment (two separate topics).  To read some of his constitutional law scholarship, download Will the Real Constitutional Originalist Please Stand Up? and Back to Basics: Constitutional Meaning and 'Tradition'. In addition, Professor Jacob preached in Chapel at Grove City and Patrick Henry Colleges and gave a campus lecture at Wheaton College regarding the Supreme Court.  To read some of Professor Jacob’s work on the Court, download Eight Men Out. Make that Nine.

Professor Jeff Brauch spoke on a Higher Law at Michigan State University on Monday, Nov. 7.

Professor Eric DeGroff presented “Environmental Stewardship in Christian Perspective: Establishing Balance in Economic Development and Environmental Protection” at the Ukrainian National Forum on the Environment, and “Private Property and Private Ownership in Christian Legal Perspective” at the National Academy of State Administration in Kiev, Ukraine on Nov. 7. He also guest-lectured at the Yaroslav Mudryl National Law University in Kharkov, Ukraine on Nov. 8, as well as at the National University of Odessa, Ukraine on Nov. 9.  To read Professor DeGroff’s work on the environment, download The Application of Strict Criminal Liability to Maritime Oil Pollution Incidents: Is There OPA for the Accidental Spiller? and Raiders of the Lost ARCO: Resolving the Partial Settlement Credit Issue in Private Cost Recovery and Contribution Claims Under CERCLA.

Last week, Professor DeGroff was also appointed to serve on the Educational Programming Committee (EPC) of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution by virtue of being co-chair of the Section’s Law Schools Committee.

Associate Professor Jim Davids made several presentations at various Ukrainian Forums in November.

Professor James Duane spoke at the Federalist society chapter at Boston University Law School; he received a note from a BU Law faculty member who was citing his recent article The Extraordinary Trajectory of Griffin v. California: The Aftermath of Playing Fifty Years of Scrabble with the Fifth Amendment several times in a recent article to be published the University of Chicago Legal Forum.  Professor Duane also was recently quoted in the Virginian-Pilot.

Associate Dean Lynne Marie Kohm and Sandra Alcaide published “Obergefell: A Game-Changer for Women,” with the Ave Maria L. Rev. from a symposium last year at BYU which was co-sponsored with Ave Maria.

Professor Ben Madison was invited by the University of Detroit Mercy Law Review to present “The Rubric Meets the Road in Legal Education: Program Assessment of Degree to Which a Law School's J.D. Program is Achieving its Learning Outcomes” as part of their annual symposium to be held March 3, 2017.  Professor Madison also has gotten two project proposals approved for the SEALS conference 2017: “New Law Professors: Classroom Teaching Fundamentals,” and will be leading a discussion group entitled “Elements and Tips in Designing a Course.”  Both are in the framework of the New Law Teachers’ series of panels/discussion groups.

Associate Dean Natt Gantt and Professor Ben Madison have nominated CEFLER for the ABA's Gambrell Award for Professionalism for the work of the Center for Ethical Formation and Legal Reform.

Associate Professor Gloria Whittico submitted a proposal to W&M for their symposium entitled “Implicit Racial Bias,” to be held March 2017. To read some of her excellent work on race and law, see 'If Past Is Prologue': Toward the Development of a New 'Freedom Suit' for the Remediation of Foster Care Disproportionalities Among African-American Children.

Adjunct Professor Carol Rasnic published, "What the German Bundestag Could Learn From the U.S. Congress on the Right to Strike" in the Hungarian Labor Law eJournal.

Regent University School of Law Professor’s Viral Video Sparks Book Idea

It all started eight years ago with a videotaped lecture he gave to prospective law students.

Don’t Talk to the Police” – his lecture on the Fifth Amendment—talk dozens of times before.
Regent University School of Law professor James Duane had given his “

Professor James Duane.
“I’d been doing this thing for years, but I’d never taped any of them,” said Duane.

But this time, he made an exception: He invited his current students to join in on the lecture. And when a few students couldn’t make it to the class in real-time, he put it on Regent’s website and sent it to 40-some students via email.

A week later, he received a phone call from the head of the university’s IT department.

“She said, ‘Jim, we’ve got a problem over here,” said Duane.

The video had attracted such a high volume of viewers that the school’s server was unable to handle it. Duane agreed to release the video onto what was then known as “iTunes University,” a forum for internet-users to browse and download videos from different schools.

“That’s when it all began, people started downloading it and put it on all kinds of websites,” said Duane. “That video went viral and it changed my life.”

Duane recalls the first day he learned that his lecture had been uploaded onto YouTube when a colleague told him that it had reached 2,000 views.

“It blew my mind, I was shocked. 2,000? That’s a lot of views for a law professor,” he said. “I remember thinking, ‘gosh, if I had known 2,000 people were going to watch it I would’ve done a better job.”

To this day, several versions of the video have been uploaded for a total of 21 million all-time viewership and counting. In fact, the video has gained such popularity that Duane is recognized in public.

“I’ve heard some strange things: I was speaking about this subject at a college and a young man came up to me and said they had my video on a loop all throughout a party on campus,” said Duane. “It was the soundtrack of the party, that’s pretty bizarre.”

So, in the summer of 2015, when a publisher from Amazon approached him about writing a short book based on the video’s astounding popularity, Duane was hesitant.

“I was dubious,” he said. “Who would buy the book if the video is online? And [the publisher] said, ‘Trust me, this could sell.’”

His book, You Have the Right to Remain Innocent launched September 2016. Now, it sits at the number one spot in Amazon’s Kindle Store in the Law, Practical Guides section. He believes the theme of the book, “the protection of the underdog,” is a message that resonates with people who hold beliefs across the entire political ideology spectrum.

“Nobody likes unfairness,” said Duane. “There’s a God-given trait within every one of us that instinctively recoils at the thought of unfairness.”

The book takes a deep-dive into real cases where real people were honestly convicted – many of them later proved to be innocent beyond a shadow of a doubt. Duane poured over the transcripts of these cases to nail down how these false convictions happen in the first place:

“Police officers use techniques that are really quite effective in getting the guilty people to confess,” said Duane. “But they’re too effective, because they too often work on innocent people.”

Duane explained that oftentimes a suspect is all too willing to talk to police.

“They think, ‘I have nothing to hide, why shouldn’t I? I’m innocent, I’m glad to cooperate,’” said Duane. “Because they’re na├»ve, because they don’t understand the risk they face, they don’t understand how the system works.”

This book, he said, was written for them.

Learn more about Regent University’s School of Law.

By Brett Wilson Tubbs

Regent Law Alumnus Selected to Supreme Court of Wisconsin

Two paths diverge in a wood, and Regent University School of Law alumnus Justice Daniel Kelly ’91 took the road that led to the Supreme Court of Wisconsin.

Photo courtesy of Justice Daniel Kelly.
The newly appointed justice calls his life a “winding road,” after growing up in Santa Barbara, California and just outside of Denver, Colorado. He landed in Wisconsin to pursue his undergraduate degree, where he met his wife.

“I’ve been terribly blessed by the places I’ve been able to call home,” said Kelly. Another one of those places? Regent University. Kelly returned to campus for the first time this fall to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Regent Law Review – he served as the publication’s first-ever editor-in-chief.

“It’s phenomenal, this campus has changed so much it was hard to recognize,” said Kelly. “Except for the library, of course, I spent nearly all of my time there.”

Kelly’s professional path follows a roundabout pattern as well, returning to Wisconsin as a clerk for the Court of Appeals of Wisconsin. Then he and his growing family ventured to Washington, D.C. to clerk in the Office of Special Masters of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and serve as a staff attorney.

Then, it was back to Wisconsin, and he’s been there ever since.

“There’s nothing like Wisconsin, the people there are remarkable,” said Kelly. “I’m not one to ascribe characteristics to people, but my experience with Wisconsinites has been extraordinarily welcoming from the very beginning.”

He describes them as a people with “open hands and generous hearts.” He accepted the nomination for his new role on the bench of the Wisconsin Supreme Court in the summer of 2016 after a lengthy interview process.

“I have to say I was very pleased to be in the company I was in with the other applicants,” said Kelly. “I knew most of them and I knew them to be intelligent, and of outstanding character and capability. When I’d see my name in print alongside them, my reaction was, ‘Wow, I get mentioned in the same breath as them, how fun is that?’”

Throughout the initial interview process, Kelly found wisdom in many counselors, and asked for his most trusted inner-circle to speak the truth with him, even if it would be uncomfortable for him to hear. The feedback? Overwhelmingly positive. But admittedly, the most important voice who spoke into the mix was that of his wife’s.

“I think she might’ve said something along the lines of, ‘if you don’t do this, I will slap you, something like that,’” joked Kelly. “She was extraordinarily supportive.”

This support in particular was crucial to Kelly, who explained that the position oftentimes comes with exposure and a risk for “unkind commentary.”

“There was potential for that to wash over on my family, and I wanted to make sure that they were aware of the potential,” said Kelly. “My wife and children have been delightfully supportive.”
But in the midst of the nomination and the whirlwind of taking on a new, public role, Kelly is careful to remember that as he approaches the judiciary, it’s not about him.

“There’s a reason judges wear black robes,” he said. “It’s meant to convey uniformity, that the law you are to answer to is the same regardless of which court you walk into and which individual serves as judge. That’s just as true on the Supreme Court as it is in any of the other courts.”

This “smallness,” this reminder helps him to walk his out through his work by walking humbly, loving unconditionally and speaking soft word that turns away wrath. And though he’s unsure if Regent taught this expressly, he knows this attitude was a “necessary consequence” of his law degree.
To those who are still in the trenches of their own legal education, he encourages prayer and seeking the plan God has for their lives, and to enjoy each fleeting moment.

“This not what real life is like and the privilege to study and to study here in particular is immense, and it’s not something they’ll ever be able to do again,” said Kelly. “It’s meant to be enjoyed, and it’s a place of preparation, not a place of refuge. It’s to train us to be able to wrestle well with life. So, they should study hard – I’m sure they do.”

Learn more about Regent University’s School of Law.

By Brett W. Tubbs

Regent Law Faculty Achievements - Week of November 13, 2016

Regent University's School of Law Faculty members willingly share their knowledge and expertise beyond the classroom to spark scholarly debate and advance the practice of law. Their latest endeavors include the following.

Associate Dean Lynne Marie Kohm, Professors James Duane, Natt Gantt and Ben Madison, and Associate Professor Kathleen McKee presented various topics at the National Christian Legal Society Convention in Washington, D.C. October 20-24. 

Assistant Professor Tessa Dysart spoke at the student Federalist Society chapters at Concordia Law School in Boise, Idaho on Oct. 13, and at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon on Oct. 20.  These presentations were largely based on her articles: The Origination Clause, the Affordable Care Act, and Indirect Constitutional Violations, and The Protected Innocence Initiative: Building Protective State Law Regimes for America’s Sex-Trafficked Children.

Associate Professor Mike Schutt was the keynote speaker at the recent Advocates International Conference in Australia in early October, speaking from his book Redeeming Law: Christian Calling and the Legal Profession.

Professor Eric DeGroff was a panelist on Teachers’ Rights in the Public Schools, at the 2016 Public School Education Summit, sponsored by Education Services of Hampton Roads, Inc., in Norfolk, VA on Oct. 8, 2016.  His work on this can be downloaded at Sex Education in the Public Schools and the Accommodation of Familial Rights. Professor DeGroff also was formally selected last week as chair of the Environmental Section of the Virginia State Bar and will serve in that role for the next year.

Professor James Duane spoke about the Fifth Amendment during the week of October 18 at Georgetown Law School in Washington, D.C., and at Cornell Law School in Ithaca, NY on his articles: The Right to Remain Silent: A New Answer to an Old Question, and The Extraordinary Trajectory of Griffin v. California: The Aftermath of Playing Fifty Years of Scrabble with the Fifth Amendment.  Professor Duane will be presenting his work "You Have the Right to Remain Innocent" at Albright College, in Reading, PA, in cooperation with the Berks County Bar Association Lecture in Contemporary Legal Issues for a 2017 event. He was also invited by Alliance Defending Freedom to participate as faculty for the Blackstone Legal Fellowship 2017.

Associate Professor Jim Davids has accepted an offer from Liberty University Law Review to publish his article, "The Role of Worldview in the Judicial Decisions of John Paul Stevens" in their upcoming judiciary-focused spring issue.

Associate Dean Lynne Marie Kohm presented “Baby Daddy Drama: Father’s Rights in the Context of Abortion” (working off a parallel piece: A Prospective Analysis of Family Fragmentation: Baby Mama Drama Meets Jane Austen) at the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates Conference in Fredericksburg, VA on October 27.

Professor Lou Hensler’s proposal for "Religious Critiques of the Law" was accepted for Pepperdine Law School’s Nootbaar Conference in March 2017.

Assistant Professor Caleb Griffin’s proposal was accepted to the SEALS New Scholars Program which will take place July 30 through August 6, 2017 in Boca Raton, FL.

Professors Natt Gant and Ben Madison
will present at the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility Conference next year on professional identity formation.

Professor Ben Madison’s proposal on "The Rubric Meets the Road in Legal Education: Program Assessment of the Degree to Which a Law School’s J.D. Program is Achieving it Learning Outcomes" was accepted for the Detroit Mercy Law Review.  Professor Madison also just accepted an invitation to present at an ABA Conference in St. Louis May31-June 2, 2017.

Dean Michael Hernandez, Associate Dean Lynne Marie Kohm, and Professors Natt Gantt and Lou Hensler were invited to participate in an official induction ceremony for their publications over the past two years into the University Library collection, featured as the Spotlight on Faculty Scholarship event on November 15, 2016.

Regent Law Adjunct Professor Dr. Carol Rasnic is presenting "How (if at all) did the 2013 and 2015 U.S. Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Decisions Affect Employment Discrimination Law?" this week at the Annual General Meeting of the Irish Association of Law Teachers in Waterford, Ireland.

Raising Up More Lawyers for Jesus with Regent School of Law Dean Michael Hernandez

This past weekend, Dean Hernandez was interviewed on Lawyers for Jesus Radio hosted by Noel Sterett '06, a Regent Law alum and partner at Mauck & Baker, LLC in Chicago, IL.

Listen in to hear Dean Hernandez discuss Faith in the Law.

Regent Hosts Annual Regional Moot Court Tournament

Regent University hosted the Mid Atlantic American Moot Court Association (AMCA) tournament the weekend of November 4, 2016. Students in the Regent University Debate Association (RUDA) from the College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) registered five teams, two of which earned third and fourth place in the regional competition. Three students, Alexandria Cross, Ronald Pantalena, and Christopher Mateer, received top-10 speaker awards.

"I think the students did very well," said Dr. Nick Higgins, CAS assistant professor and RUDA sponsor. "We will have two teams that will be invited to go to the national tournament in Florida in January. Now we are just working with them to refine their arguments, looking at where the judges poked holes in them, and create a better way to go about and ensure we, Lord willing, have victory in Florida."

Eleven RUDA students competed in teams of two. They presented arguments about voter ID laws, and whether they violate the equal protection clause in the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Gender played a role in this year's AMCA scenario by presenting a fictitious case where a woman was denied her right to vote after marrying, changing her name, and attempting to vote before she could obtain a new ID. New for this year, competitors had to prove they had standing to bring about a lawsuit before a judge would hear the scenario case.

Competitors came to the annual tournament at Regent from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, the University of Virginia, George Washington University, James Madison University, Bridgewater College, Patrick Henry College, and Liberty University. Judges determined speaker awards based on knowledge of case facts, legal reasoning, and the manner in which contestants presented themselves while facing pressure from judges. Points were awarded in these categories, and then aggregated.

"These students have been working anywhere from three to six hours per week just on presenting their arguments to myself and Lindsey Gilman, a third year law school student who helps coach them," said Higgins. "She and I are there two to three days per week, and we have students come and give arguments to us, and we badger them back and forth like they would at a tournament. The students do their own legal research and prepare their own arguments, and they've been doing this since the first week of school."

RUDA students who succeeded at the regional tournament took a few days off, but are preparing for a national tournament at Stetson University in Florida in January. RUDA typically focuses on Moot Court in the fall, but may expand to do policy debates in the spring. Higgins says students enjoyed the regional competition and are looking forward to competing again next year.

By Brennan Smith

Law Students Take Second Place at Stetson National Pre-Trial Competition

Regent University School of Law (LAW) Trial Advocacy Board earned early success at the 2016 Ninth Annual National Pre-Trial Competition at the Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, Florida, in late October.

Robertson Hall
LAW students Daniel Waters ’17, Julianna Battenfield ’17, Alison Haefner ’17, Elizabeth Berry ’18, and Justin Burch ’17 earned second place in the competition, coming out ahead of teams from law schools such as University of Miami School of Law, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and Texas Tech University School of Law.

Additionally, the team earned the Second Best Brief in the competition for Prosecution and Second Best Brief for Combined Memoranda. They were coached by LAW adjunct professor Jim Metcalfe.

“Regent Law strives to develop three general legal skills: writing, advocacy and strenuous academics,” said Waters. “This competition required excellence in all three of those areas.” Waters said his favorite part of competing is proving his team’s great writing and advocating skills.

“Consistently at all competitions, judges say [we] are currently better than many lawyers they see in their courts,” said Waters. “That means the Regent Law Advocacy program is training lawyers who are academically and experientially on-par with many top 100 advocacy programs.”

According to Waters, the team will assign 2L students to their Spring Semester 2017, and will continue to prepare for competitions at the regional and national levels.

Learn more about Regent University’s School of Law.

By Brett W. Tubbs

Regent University School of Law Presents “Slavery in India: Myth or Reality?”

The unbroken cycle of poverty, debt and high-demand for slave labor and sex trafficking leaves many broken families and individuals in the nation of India. But individuals and organizations are working to combat this repetitive, tide-like loop.

David Eggert, Evan Henck, and
Abishek Jebaraj.
On Monday, October 31, Regent University School of Law’s Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law presented a discussion titled, “Slavery in India: Myth or Reality?”

The event featured assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney, Grayson County and alumnus Evan Henck ’07 (LAW), and India General Counsel at Justice Ventures International (JVI) Abishek Jebaraj. The panel was moderated by University of Washington & Lee Professor David Eggert.

To Henck, slavery in India is all but a myth. His line of work as the former director of Freedom Firm, an organization that seeks “rescue, restoration and justice” for survivors of sex-trafficking, gave him specific insight into the repetitive problems unfolding every day in India.

“Sex trafficking is everywhere,” said Henck. “I’m not sure how to measure it, but essentially it’s in every city and town in India. Every town seems like they have red light areas.”

Bonded labor is another struggle for Indian cities. Families work to pay off loans for generations, and frequently the women and children absorbed into this type of trafficking are beaten.

According to Jebaraj, slave labor is so extensive in Indian cities that an approximated eight to 10 million people are impacted by it.

“New York City has 12 million residents,” said Jebaraj. “That should give you an idea of how big the problem is."

Henck explained that the injustice is far too widespread to rely solely on education or restoration means to combat the problem.

“The legal means is by far the best means,” said Henck.

He believes that developing the rule of law and establishing repercussions for those who participate in the trafficking of young women, children and slave labor is the most effective means of stopping the trend.

But the problem doesn’t stop with legality, or even recognizing the moral issues tacked with selling labor or sex as commodities. It’s a social issue.

“We’re there because no one else really cares,” said Henck.

For Jebraj and his work with JVI, his hope is for freedom, justice and restoration for the survivors of trafficking. He joined the organization when he was 20 years old. He says the work he’s done over the last decade has shaped him significantly.

“God got my heart,” said Jebaraj. “And I have a more fulfilling calling on my life.”

His call to the students in the room was to “do something,” even if it means dedicating 15 hours of pro-bono work a year to the cause.

“Just a few hours a year can make a small difference,” said Jebaraj. “And, of course, prayer makes a world of a difference.”

Learn more about Regent University School of Law and the Regent Law Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law.

By Brett W. Tubbs

Regent Law's Wealth Management and Financial Planning Program Renewed

Regent University launched its M.A. in Law program in the fall of 2014. A year later, Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson saw the need for a Wealth Man...