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Law is More than a Profession.


Academic year: 2021

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It’s a Calling.

Law is More than a Profession.








In Brief











Regent Law School’s greatest distinction is its integration of Christian principles in the instruction of law. Courtney Laginess, a second-year law student at Regent, knows this well.

Laginess graduated from Duke University with a joint degree in Political Science and Philosophy in 2002. His next step was to either go to graduate school or step into the professional world.

The temptation of moving to Washington, D.C., and accepting his dream job of working with a grassroots political organization, was strong. He was offered the position of special assistant.

A scholarship opportunity and his acceptance letter to Regent made his decision difficult. After praying and visiting the campus he knew his future was at Regent Law School. The difference he found in comparison with other schools he considered was Regent’s commitment to its mission.

“This school has a vision it takes seriously,” Laginess said. “Other schools have mission statements, but the professors and research they do don’t follow their mission as Regent does.”

He sees this difference in the interaction among students and faculty, the instruction and organizations sponsored at Regent. “As simple as that sounds, it is rather profound in a lot of ways,” he said.

Laginess enjoys the time of prayer and devotions led by professors during class. The subject matter is also integrated with “biblical examples in order to help us understand it,” he said. Professors have faith-based conversations with students regarding the law because the legal rule should be based on scripture. They also discuss biblical law and compare it with law in today’s society.

Regent Law shows that “Christians acting in solidarity with a commitment to Jesus Christ really can make a cultural impact,” he said. “We can have a lasting effect” in society.

After graduation, Laginess plans to accomplish what the school has challenged students to do: “change the world.”





has a


it takes


• Established in 1986 as a full-time, three-year law program. • Today, 500 students attend the school.

• Gained full ABA accreditation in 1996, allowing students to sit for the bar examination in any jurisdiction in the nation.

• Students come from 44 states, over 230 colleges and universities, and numerous foreign countries. • Students regularly earn top honors at regional and national moot court and negotiation competitions. • Regent University is prominently located in Virginia Beach, Virginia; the Chesapeake Bay and

Atlantic Ocean skirt the city with 28 miles of public beaches.

• Alumni practice in 45 states, the District of Columbia and several foreign countries as elected government officials, associates and partners in private practice and legal organizations.



Regent University School of Law is committed to

training students to become excellent lawyers. Central to this commitment is the integration of Christian thinking in all we do. We integrate biblical principles into the substance of the law we teach by training and mentoring students to bring a Christian perspective to bear on the way they live and practice law.

“This mission is the core of who we are; indeed, the school was founded only because of this mission,” stated Dean Jeffrey Brauch in an article published in the Fall 2001 edition of The University of Toledo Law Review. The school puts an emphasis on “why”— not just “what.” Classroom instruction includes discussion of how Christian theology has helped to shape the law from the beginning of the common law to today. This biblical view is stressed during the school’s first-year course–Christian Foundations of Law–which is Regent’s equivalent to the traditional Legal Methods or Elements of Law course taught at other law schools.

Regent Law also puts an emphasis on “ought”—not just “is.” Regardless of what the law looks like today or has looked like in the past, students examine whether Christian theology guides us as to what the law

should look like in the future. For example, the Criminal Law course will discuss the

considerable biblical support for restitution to crime victims. Family Law considers theologically sound alternatives to no-fault divorce that would better value and preserve the family.

The faculty works hard to do this integration work in a thoughtful and scholarly manner. Faculty members’ own legal training did not necessarily prepare them to provide the kind of education Regent Law offers students. They bring widely divergent backgrounds and

experience to this endeavor, Brauch stated. Some have theological training; others have, through their own reading and study, given a great deal of thought to the integration of faith and law. Some are relatively new to this endeavor, so the faculty began a training program a few years ago to ensure that all faculty members have a basic understanding of the rich body of literature that already exists on the relationship between law and Christian theology. They read and discussed works by Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin and Anabaptist writers. As new scholars join the faculty, they go through the same training process.

In addition, faculty members continue to meet monthly to make sure the process of integrating Christian principles in the law is done with excellence. Our mission is not just to do something that sounds good for our prospectus. The integration of Christian principles governs everything we do.



Regent Law School has dedicated funds, faculty, programs and resources to integrate biblical principles into the substance of law. The school supports initiatives such as the school’s first-year course–Christian Foundations in the Law; student/faculty retreats; books; the Summer Program in Christian Jurisprudence; scholarly faculty pursuits; an International Law and Human Rights Program in Strasbourg, France; monthly faculty meetings on biblical integration; a Christian Pre-Law Conference and an alliance with the Institute for Christian Legal Studies. These are just some of the successful initiatives that help Regent Law School to effectively mentor and teach students to



The Institute for Christian Legal Studies (ICLS) was created in 2002, by the efforts of the Christian Legal Society and Regent Law School as a ministry to law students and

professors who desire to teach, study and write about law from a Christian perspective.

Many law students across the country want a principled, biblical approach to the study and practice of law, but their Christian law professors may not be able to devote much time or effort to serious biblical thinking. It is difficult for law students to do the work necessary to uncover the rich treasures available to assist them in integrating faith and learning.

The mission of the Institute for Christian Legal Studies is to help students and professors tackle the difficulties of integration of faith and life in the law. Building on the heritage of the Christian Legal Society’s Law Student Ministries and Regent Law School’s mission, ICLS will continue to challenge law students and law professors in the areas of spiritual formation, the integration of faith and learning and compassionate outreach to the poor and needy.

Since the commencement of the Christian Legal Society and Regent partnership, ICLS has used a variety of vehicles to reach these goals. Print and online

resources for law students and professors were developed to assist them in studying, understanding and writing about the law from a Christian perspective. The goal is integration of a distinctively Christian perspective into the substantive areas of the law. Publications to date include an annotated bibliography for law students, a reader on the Biblical Foundations of Criminal Law and a short study on Biblical Foundations of Procedural Law. A Torts and Family Law primer are also in the works.

The ICLS is networking, assisting and encouraging law professors and lawyer mentors on law school campuses, so that law students will have men and women “on-site” who are ready and able to mentor students in fulfilling Christ’s mission in their studies.

ICLS Director and Regent Law Professor Mike Schutt has visited more than 50 law schools and college campuses to meet with law students and professors, encouraging them in spiritual formation and working with them in the integration of faith and scholarship. ICLS has maintained the contacts developed on these visits in order to bring together students and faculty as part of a coherent, national network of Christian students and mentors. These students and professors are the core audience of the annual Christian Legal Scholars Symposium, which is held each year in conjunction with the Christian Legal Society national conference.



Regent’s Summer Program in Christian Jurisprudence provides an excellent opportunity for Christian law students and lawyers to earn law school credit or CLE credit while studying topics of particular interest to Christian lawyers. The program encourages Christian law students and practicing lawyers to study and pursue a Christian perspective on law and legal institutions. This program offers two one-week modular courses.

This year’s courses will be taught by leading Christian legal scholars, whose perspectives demonstrate commitment to integration of Christian principles and the law. Harold Berman, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Law at Emory School of Law, taught for 37 years and was James Barr Ames Professor of Law at Harvard University before joining Emory

in 1985. Professor Berman has authored more than 21 books, including Law and Revolution (1983) and his most recent work Law and Revolution, Volume II: The Impact of the Protestant Reformations on the Western Legal Tradition (2004).

Professionals from the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) also will teach a course during the workshop. The ACLJ has become one of America’s preeminent public interest law firms and an educational organization dedicated to defending and advancing religious liberty, the sanctity of human life and the two-parent, marriage-bound family. Lawyers at the center specialize in federal litigation, regulatory proceedings, nonprofit tax issues, First Amendment, family law and pro-life legal matters. They have appeared in state courts around the country and federal courts from various United States District Courts to the Supreme Court in defense of civil and religious liberties.

The Regent Law community came together on January 31, 2004 for the annual Student/Faculty Retreat. Encouraging

speakers challenged students and faculty to become “Christian Lawyers in a Non-Christian World: A Life Worthy of the Calling.”

Steve Lentz, a partner at the Lentz, Stepanovich & Fournier law firm in Virginia Beach, Virginia, spoke with students about being a Christian and a lawyer. He challenged students and faculty to ask themselves, when they die, will it matter to the world that they were ever born?

Lentz told students to make their faith a priority. “Jesus is the point of life,” he said. He also told them to “do whatever it takes,” work hard in their future career, but not to

“be afraid of messing up,” either. In recalling an experience at work, Lentz encouraged attendees to allow God to influence their character. “It’s who you are that we need, the rest you can learn,” his employer once told him.

Taking Lentz’s advice, second-year law student Chantel Keys said she wants “to change the stereotypes of lawyers focused on winning cases just to earn money.” “There is a new breed coming out and I want to be a part of it,” she said.

Keys wants to work toward resolutions through a collaborative approach in family cases. “I want to see the benefits of putting people together

instead of ripping them apart, as the legal system today does,” she said.






Regent Law School hosted a dinner with keynote speaker Ken Sande, president of Peacemakers Ministries. The event took place on Friday, April 2, 2004, at the Founders Inn in Virginia Beach, Virginia.


Regent Law School is hosting a reception for alumni, prospective students and friends from North Carolina this spring. The event will be held at the Hampton Inn in the Crabtree area of Raleigh, North Carolina, on May 15, 2004.



Regent’s Summer Program in Christian Jurisprudence provides an excellent opportunity for Christian law students and lawyers to earn law school credit or CLE credit while studying topics of interest to the Christian lawyer. The program is designed for maximum flexibility and consists of two separate one-week modular courses, August 2-6 and 9-13, 2004. (www.regent.edu/ jurisprudence)



A team of Regent Law students recently defeated teams from Yale, Boston University, the University of South Carolina and other law schools at the ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition held in Washington, D.C. The undefeated team advanced ahead of approximately 120 teams nationwide, along with fifteen other teams. The finalists will head to Chicago for the national competition in April.



Virginia Supreme Court Justice Leroy R. Hassell, Sr., spent a week at the law school as jurist-in-residence. From March 15-19 Justice Hassell taught classes, met with faculty and student leaders and spoke at the university chapel.

Get the latest news by visiting the News & Events page on Regent Law School’s website at



The Christian Foundations course has been offered to students since the beginning of Regent Law School. Dean Herb Titus (the school’s first dean) created the course, which until a couple of years ago was called “The Common Law.”

In 1997, Dean Brauch revised the

curriculum and compiled a new set of reading materials. He published them in a book titled, Is Higher Law Common Law? Readings on the Influence of Christian Thought on Anglo-American Law, which is now the text for

the course.

This course is different from the other courses students take during their first year at law school. Most courses ask “what?” What is a contract? What is a breach of contract? What remedy is available if a contract is breached? What are the rules regarding ownership of property?

Christian Foundations is mainly a “why?” course. Why do we enforce contracts? Why do we protect property rights? Why do we have the legal system we do? It requires students to take a step back and consider our legal system’s origin, specifically tracing the influence of Christian thought and the dominant philosophies that have shaped and continue to shape our law.

Essentially, the course tells a story about

worldview and how it has affected our law. It shows that for the first 800 years or so of the Anglo-American legal tradition, the dominant worldview was based on belief in objective truth and a “higher law” by which human law could be shaped and evaluated.

“In the last 150 years or so, society has shifted from that view to a more relativistic one. We are skeptical of whether there is such a thing as truth. And we no longer look to transcendent standards to create or evaluate law,” Brauch said.

Students read from many primary sources; including published works from the greatest legal thinkers of the last millennium.

The course is required for all Regent Law students. We believe they will be better lawyers if they understand the origins of our legal system, where it is going and why. The principles they learn in the class help them in every other class as they integrate Christian thought into each area of law, Brauch said.

“I hope students will have a better idea about why our legal system is what it is. I also hope that they will be better able to think about law from a thoroughly Christian worldview, so that they can evaluate critical legal issues facing our country today and help shape just laws as a lawyer, judge or legislator,” he said.




Regent Law In Brief is published by Regent Law School located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. This publication is mailed to alumni and friends of Regent Law School.

REGENT LAW IN BRIEF CONTRIBUTORS: JEFFREY BRAUCH, Dean; JAMES MURPHY, Associate Dean; SHERRY-ANN MORRIS, Director of Marketing & Communications; JENNIFER MURRAY, Web & Communications Specialist; KATHI PRUETT, Designer; HANNAH GOODWYN, Communications Assistant.

CONTACT INFORMATION: Department of Marketing & Communications, Regent Law School, 1000 Regent University Drive, RH239, Virginia Beach, Va. 23464-9800 • 757.226.4566 • Fax: 757.226.4513 • E-mail: lawnews@regent.edu • Web site: www.regent.edu/law.

Regent University admits students without discrimination on the basis of race, color, disability, gender, religion, or national or ethnic origin. Regent University is certified by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia to operate campuses within the Commonwealth of Virginia.

“In the last

150 years or

so, society

has shifted

from that

view to a more


one. We are

skeptical of

whether there

is such a thing

as truth.

And we no

longer look to



to create or

evaluate law,”

Brauch said.


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