Many of Regent Law's 2,500+ alumni have worked or are presently working to bring justice to the oppressed and promote the rule of law around the world. We hope you enjoy reading the following alumni profiles, which represent just a small portion of our many alumni literally changing the world.
Five years ago I came to Regent law for one reason: because God called me to use the law to fight injustice. Regent was the only place I knew where I would receive not only a top-notch legal education, but also a biblical perspective on human rights, two things I viewed as indispensable to preparing me to fulfill God's call on my life. My first year was challenging and rewarding. I not only learned the law, but also how to think critically from a biblical worldview. At the end of my second year, Regent Law launched the Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law, much to my excitement. Through the Center's internship grant program, I received one of four grants that year and was sent to Strasbourg, France to intern at the European Centre for Law and Justice. Using the law to protect persecuted Christians in the Middle East and to help secure the right to life for unborn children in Europe was exhilarating. I was doing what God had called me to do!
Through my internship, clerking with the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) throughout the school year, taking classes like international Trafficking in Persons from expert Kathleen McKee, and receiving excellent teaching in all of my law classes, I felt completely prepared to use the law to fight injustice at the end of my three years at Regent. I now stand here humbled that the Lord has graciously allowed for me to return to the Center for Global Justice to help prepare more advocates for justice. Take a look below and see what some of our alumni are doing in the human rights field.
A native of Mexico, Keila returned there as a rising 3L to work for Casa Alianza Mexico with orphans, street children and trafficked victims, while also continuing to build the Center’s partnership with Christian Congresswoman Rosi Orozco, a leader in human rights advocacy. Keila recently shared this update with us:
In March 2016, I will commence working for the Office of the Arizona Attorney General, Child and Family Protection Division, Protective Services Section, as an Assistant Attorney General. Specifically, this position will entail representing the state in juvenile dependency matters and making recommendations to the court on behalf of the state concerning children, youth, and families who are in circumstances involving child abuse, neglect, and/or abandonment. It is solely due to God's providence that I've been hired for such a specific position which fits each and every area which I've desired to be involved in as an attorney, as well as a child advocate.
Seven years prior, in my personal statement as I applied to Regent University School of Law, I wrote: "Many times things do not make sense and I do not understand why God allows painful situations to occur, and yet my own life serves as a reminder of the blessings that can come amidst painful circumstances." Having worked with abused and neglected children prior to law school, my heart and passion towards advocating for the protection of children led me to pursue a law degree. This calling towards child advocacy has been something I've at times fought against; I've even tried to forget about it when tremendous fears and challenges arose which simply seemed impossible to overcome. My journey while in law school was far from easy and even after graduating from law school, I faced even more serious adversity and hardship.
Now, as I embark on this exciting chapter of life, I do so realizing that God's ways are indeed higher and better than any of mine. My focus verse as I celebrate this new beginning is Isaiah 26:12: "Lord, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us."
Kirk works for Tiny Hands International (THI)—a Christian non-profit organization dedicated to empowering the church in the developing world and helping the poor overcome poverty. THI is particularly called to orphans, street children, and the victims of the sex-trafficking industry.
While at Regent, Kirk had the opportunity, with the help of the Center for Global Justice, to intern in Lira, Uganda. He worked with the Justice Centre, a branch of the local court that helps indigent clients who, due to a history of war in the area, had lost their land. Experiencing a new culture and engaging the legal processes in a developing country were invaluable experiences that helped prepare him for the work that he is doing with THI.
THI seeks to help “the least of these.” In the last year and a half, THI intercepted about 1,000 girls at the border of Nepal/India. Yet, UNICEF reports that 7,000 women and girls are trafficked out of Nepal each year. Kirk helps THI brainstorm and implement better ways to rescue these girls and deter the traffickers.
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9). This verse helps him to keep close as he transitions from school and begins to follow the path the Lord lays out before him. Kirk readily admits that he has many weaknesses especially when considering that he has entered a new country, with an unfamiliar culture, a different people, various religions, and a foreign language! But Kirk emphasized, "fortunately, we have a God whose power is made perfect in my weakness."
During her second year at Regent Law, Olivia worked with the Center for Global Justice as a Student Staff member. She assisted on various research projects, including exploring possible internship opportunities for future students.
In the summer of 2012, Olivia interned throught the Center with the European Centre for Law and Justice(ECLJ) in Strasbourg, France. During her time with the ECLJ, Olivia conducted research pertaining to issues of first impression for the ECHR, gained a deeper understanding of European law, attended ECHR proceedings, and worked on a project to help the cause of then-imprisoned Iranian pastor, Youcef Nadarkhani. In addition, she translated several ECLJ documents from French to English, one of which was presented to the ECHR.
Olivia now works as an associate attorney with the American Center for Law and Justice. Her work is primarily focused on protecting the First Amendment freedoms of speech and religion, but she also works to protect the rights of the most vulnerable—unborn children.
Kristy knew her interest in the legal field looked something like love and justice for the least of these. Regent was just the place to discover the calling God had for her. Through her work with the Center, her path became brighter and brighter before her. She had the opportunity to intern with the Kansas Department for Children and Families addressing policy on children sexually exploited for commercial purposes.
Her experience there led to a full time position after graduation. She currently serves as Strategic Partnerships Liaison for the Faith-based and Community Initiatives division of the Department for Children and Families in Topeka, Kansas. Her job requires a working knowledge of the intersection between child welfare issues and the legal aspects of building a case to prosecute perpetrators. The position provides a unique opportunity to work in tandem with the Kansas Attorney General’s office, the Agency’s foster care providers and community partners across the State to implement statutory requirements for responding to this issue. She gives credit for her successes to a strong work ethic cultivated by the rigorous academics of Regent’s program, the Center’s support, and most of all, God’s divine positioning and favor on her life.
In today’s society, any large organization, especially an international one, needs legal support to function effectively and efficiently.
As a staff attorney in the General Counsel’s Office of Campus Crusade for Christ, International (“CCCI”), Tara and other staff attorneys handle the legal aspects of ministry so that the staff on the ground can focus on the mission: building spiritual movements everywhere so that everyone knows someone who truly follows Christ.
CCCI began its legal internship program while Tara was a second-year law student at Regent. She competed with students from Pepperdine and other candidates interviewed by CCCI at the Christian Legal Society’s national conference to land the internship which eventually lead to her present job.
It turns out that Regent Law’s strong reputation went a long way towards CCCI choosing to interview Regent Law students for its new legal internship program, and toward CCCI eventually bringing Tara on staff. “I never would have imagined that this is where I would be after law school,” she says. “I didn’t even know working for CCCI would be an option,” she continues, “and if I had not gone to Regent, I probably would not be an attorney for Campus Crusade right now.”
Kyle believes in the power of the market to create a positive social and environmental change. He runs operations for The Blind Project, where he has helped build Biographe -- a sustainable style brand that employs and empowers survivors of the commercial sex trade. Kyle is the founding partner at Westaway Law -- an innovative New York City law firm that counsels social entrepreneurs.
Kyle is a Cordes Fellow. He lectures on social entrepreneurship at Harvard Law School and Stanford Law School. He launched Socentlaw -- a blog dedicated to the legal side of social enterprise as well as writing for Triple Pundit, Social Earth and Law for Change. He sits on the board of Explore -- a charter school in Brooklyn -- and The Adventure Project -- a nonprofit that seeks to add venture capital to social entrepreneurs in the developing world.
Ann Buwalda is dedicated to seeking justice for the oppressed. In 1996, she opened Just Law International, an immigration law firm in the Washington, D.C., area representing businesses and individuals worldwide. Through asylum cases alone, her staff has represented clients from more than 32 countries.
1989, Buwalda launched the United States branch of the Jubilee Campaign. Formed in London in the early 1980s, the Jubilee Campaign aims to promote human rights and religious liberties in countries that imprison, terrorize or otherwise oppress minorities.
Under Buwalda’s direction, the Jubilee Campaign’s U.S. branch advocates for children’s protection and refugee issues, and against religious and political persecution. The organization works to bring international intervention and assistance, which requires some creative and daring work at times.
While the Jubilee Campaign will push for change in law when necessary, Buwalda explains its main mission: “We support and empower partners within countries. We seek out partners who are already doing the work within our mandate and assist them in areas of need.” Currently, Jubilee Campaign partners with organizations in Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Egypt and the Philippines.
Since 1990, Buwalda has participated almost annually at the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Commission and the Human Rights Council in Geneva, where she has given numerous interventions under various categories.
In 2004, she labored with other advocates before Congress to successfully pass the North Korea Freedom Act. In 2005 she testified before the Subcommittee on International Relations concerning North Korean refugees in China. That same year, her work in organizing speakers for a congressional hearing and briefing to free “Kids Behind Bars” in the Philippines led to a change of law to release Philippine children from adult prisons and transfer them to rehabilitation.
Buwalda teaches a course on International Religious Freedom at Regent.
Tony Brewer is working to “trade tears for hope.”
In 1993, while working as a lawyer, he was asked, “Will you help us adopt a child from China?”
“That short, simple question uttered back in 1993 ended up capturing me . . . because on the other end of it was a beautiful, sometimes expressionless, needy child -- the kind that your heart yearns to help as soon as you see him or her, and who unfortunately lives all over the world,” writes Brewer.
Through that exchange, he was propelled to establish A Helping Hand Adoption Agency, and eventually Orphan Voice, A Helping Hand’s outreach ministry to orphans around the world. Through these vehicles, Brewer has orchestrated several thousand adoptions.
The two organizations aim to plant hope into the lives of children by providing Christian education, care-giving, nutritious food, vocational training and love. A Helping Hand specializes in adoptions in China, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Guatemala. Through Orphan Voice programs, Brewer’s team is ministering to over 660 children in countries including China, Cambodia, India and Myanmar.
He says his legal education helps him to be strategic in his work. After graduating from Regent Law in 1991, Brewer went on to complete an LL.M. in International and Comparative Law from Georgetown Law.
“I loved the international law courses that I took at Regent,” says Brewer. “Later, my LL.M. helped to prepare me to think about dealing with other cultures and legal systems. In some of the countries in which we work, there is no developed legal system, and my legal education has helped me see how legal protections should be put in place for the protection of children.”
The great contributions Brewer makes in the lives of the world’s orphans is a leading example of how Regent is preparing leaders to impact the nation and the world. Brewer sees his work as the natural extension of his Christian faith. “It has been my privilege to serve those of different cultures, and I feel greatly blessed by it.”
J. Matthew Szymanski is a senior advisor for the US-Asia Institute and a self-employed consultant. From 1990-2002, he practiced law and served in government in the Washington, D.C. area. From 2002-2007, he served the U.S. Congress as chief of staff for both the House Small Business Committee and the U.S.-China Interparliamentary Exchange. In the latter role, he helped manage U.S.-China relations by organizing 20 U.S. delegations to China and hosting many Chinese delegations in the United States. From 2007-2014, Mr. Szymanski was vice president for corporate relations at Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) at its headquarters in Shanghai, China. He resided on SMIC’s Shanghai campus with his family and together they traveled widely. To promote U.S.-China relations, he hosted U.S. and Chinese delegations at work and at home and volunteered time teaching U.S.-style rule of law (ROL) courses at East China University of Political Science and Law, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Fudan University, and Peking University School of Transnational Law. He also served as an adjunct professor for Council on International Educational Exchange, teaching international business law to American undergraduates studying abroad at East China Normal University. In 2010, the City of Shanghai awarded himLeading Professional status. In 2008, Mr. Szymanski partnered with USAI to establish the USAI-Szymanski ROL Program for Chinese Students to host top Chinese law students in Washington, D.C. For four weeks each summer, a handful of students experience the U.S. system firsthand, observing legislative and judicial proceedings and meeting with officials from all three branches of the U.S. Government. In 2015, he partnered with USAI to establish the USAI-Syzmanski ROL Program for U.S. Students. The inaugural program occurred in May-June, 2016 in China. For more information on Mr. Szymanski, see his LinkedIn profile.
Michelle Hughes is the Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer of VALRAC Innovation, LLC, a company dedicated to preparing the next generation to restore and strengthen the rule of law at home and abroad. She is also Chief of Global Strategy for InternetBar.org, Inc., Senior Development Advisor to Loyola University Chicago School of Law’s L.L.M. program in Rule of Law for Development, a Fellow with the Center for Advanced Defense Studies, and a Senior Fellow with the National Defense University Joint Forces Staff College.
Ms. Hughes was formerly a Senior Executive in the U.S. Department of Defense, where she was the only designated “Highly Qualified Expert” for Rule of Law and Security Sector Reform (SSR). Her work focuses on building capacity for multi-national, interagency, civil-military and public-private cooperation to build and strengthen the rule of law, resolve violent conflict, and enable sustainable peace. She has field experience in 12 conflict countries across four continents, to include a succession of deployments to Afghanistan where her role was to advise Senior Military Commanders on how to connect security force development to governance and justice. From December 2010 to December 2011, she was the Senior Rule of Law Advisor to the NATO Police Training Mission in Afghanistan. She is the principal author of the Joint Force Commander’s Handbook on Military Support to Rule of Law and Security Sector Reform.
In 1996, Ms. Hughes graduated at the top of her class from Regent University School of Law. While in law school, she was an editor of the Law Review, and received numerous academic honors and awards. She has practiced complex civil litigation, prosecution, and criminal defense in 14 State and Federal jurisdictions. She has special expertise in real property law, alternative dispute resolution, and government and military structures, and has served on drafting committees for uniform commercial codes. Her clients have included multinational corporations in the extractive, manufacturing and maritime industries, Fortune 500 Companies, municipalities, and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Read more at http://www.michelle-hughes.com/
As Regional Legal Coordinator with Freedom Firm in Maharashtra, India, Evan Henck ‘07 helped unravel the complex legal and social difficulties that come with prosecuting sex trafficking.
Read a first-hand account of Evan’s work here.