2L Stephanie Hartman had her eye on law from a young age. While growing up in Las Vegas, she liked to the idea of going into an analytical field that would enable her to make a difference in the lives of others.
"I always knew I wanted to study political science. Power structures in government were of great interest to me and I wanted to understand the inter workings of governmental relations from an international perspective," says Hartman.
After earning her B.A. in Political Science from Stanford University, Stephanie worked in banking for a few years, and then decided it was time to head east for a legal adventure. Her experiences prior to law school gave her an appreciation for the Christian environment at Regent Law, although adjusting to a Christian education did come with its challenges.
"Initially, I was thrown off by teachers and students praying in class because it is not what I am used to," she says. However, she quickly came to realize the impact of Regent’s emphasis on spiritual vitality. "The incorporation of prayer in the classroom has changed my life," she says.
In addition to studying full-time, Hartman is a student intern at the Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia (Norfolk), Vice President of the Virginia Bar Association Law School Council (VBA), Vice President of Community Relations for the Hispanic Law Students Association, a part-time graduate assistant, and a member of both the International Law Society (ILS) and Phi Alpha Delta (PAD). She finds encouragement in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. "In the scheme of things, this life is temporary. God made us, He loves us, and He wants us to have a relationship in him. To worry and be bogged down is a waste," she says.
Although her commitments can be "overwhelming" at times, Hartman says that after her experience in the workforce as a full-time employee she "wouldn’t have it any other way." In the midst of all the challenges of law school, Hartman says it is paramount to remind ourselves of the ultimate goal, a relationship with Christ that begins in this world and extends into the next. According to Hartman, this is what renews and inspires her to press forward.
Florida International University
"The plans you have are not the plans God has."
These insightful words from a complete stranger caused Anastasios Kamoutsas, 3L and President of PILAR (Public Interest Law Advocates at Regent) to consider attending Regent Law. Active in the ministry and very involved in family life in Miami, he had never thought of leaving the place where he grew up. But as Anastasios continues to learn, God usually has better plans for our lives than we could dare to hope or imagine. Kamoutsas grew up in Miami, Florida, learning to speak both Greek and Spanish thanks to his dad's Greek heritage and his mother's Cuban family. He had always set his sights on law for one reason.
Falling into hard financial times, his mom encouraged him to enter a lucrative profession. Taking him aside one day, she told Anastasios, "You can either be a doctor or a lawyer." Kamoutsas concluded that law better suited his writing and speaking skills. In choosing law he was aligning himself with God's plan for his life, but for the wrong reason entirely.
"I just wanted to make money, that was all law was about for me," Kamoutsas said. "I could read, I could write, I could analyze - I'll do law. I'm going to make money during the day and then go home," he said.
Kamoutsas thought he was dutifully following the right course up until mid-way through the application process. As he took the LSAT and calculated the expense of law school he prayed more fervently for direction. "Lord, I'm spending all this time to go to law school, all this money--I'm going to be in debt. Why do I want to study law?" he thought. God did not answer his question until a year and a half into the law program at Regent. As he took core Regent classes such as Christian Foundations of Law, he began to see the Biblical principles that lay behind the legal issues he was studying.
Regent Law's motto - "Law is more than a profession. It's a calling" - caused him to realize God wanted him to view the legal profession as a ministry and not just a job. "If you seek me first, if you seek what I'm calling you to do which is to practice law and to study law in a way where you're going to be able to help people, then everything else will follow... I'll give you the job, I'll give you the money, but all I want you to do is seek me first," says Anastasios, paraphrasing a few of God's many lessons to him in the last semester. While he is currently interested in being a prosecuting attorney, Kamoutsas is confident that God will confirm that at the right time. His advice to Regent students and prospective students is simple. "Be open to God's will. Law school is preparing you not just for law, but for life."
Nicole LeBoeuf’s journey to Regent Law did not follow a straight path. Having parents who are both attorneys, she grew up knowing exactly what she did not want to do—pursue law. “I wanted to become a professional singer,” 3L LeBoeuf shared. Musical doors opened quickly: at age 16, she auditioned for American Idol and was sent to Hollywood. Out of 70,000 auditions nationwide, LeBoeuf was among 117 chosen. Although she didn’t make it to the finals, the experience was invaluable: “American Idol opened a lot of doors for me,” she said.
Shortly thereafter, she made her first single and headed to Belmont University to major in music business. Once there, she noticed her classmates had an intense passion for music she didn’t share. Prompted to discover her life’s passion, she eventually realized her heart resonates with work that defends the helpless, namely, human trafficking victims.
A web search led her to the International Justice Mission site, and as she perused it, she realized becoming a lawyer would give her legal grounds to fight human trafficking. “When the Lord revealed to me that my calling was to fight human trafficking as a lawyer, I felt like every single thing in my life, including the bad things, made sense,” she said. LeBoeuf felt God had been preparing her for public speaking through singing experiences, and the difficulties she’d encountered had cultivated an empathetic heart for human trafficking victims.
While applying for law schools, LeBoeuf said, “I recognized how Regent Law values their students. You're not a number here—people genuinely care.” She recalls that within the first two hours of visiting Regent Law during Preview Weekend, she fell in love with the school and the Virginia Beach area.
Upon graduating from Regent Law, LeBoeuf plans to fight human trafficking within the United States.
University of Virginia
Amy Pyecha knew she belonged in a career where she could help people. She considers herself the perfect fit for Regent Law, which, she explains, “puts people back into the legal process.”
After graduating from the University of Virginia with a degree in comparative literature, Amy found herself in a proverbial waiting room. Unsure of what she wanted to do with her degree or whether she ought to pursue graduate school, Amy moved to Norfolk, Va., where she managed a local franchise of a national restaurant chain.
Meanwhile, as people kept suggesting that she consider different "people" professions such as counseling or teaching, Amy found that a management position opened her eyes to many of the legal technicalities that people face on a daily basis. “I saw the law as an opportunity to be kind of a translator and make it more of a helping profession,” she said.
Pyecha also realized her study of comparative literature was perfectly suited to the legal profession because it would allow her to help non-lawyers understand the law. “If you’re reading something from a bad translation you’re going to get a different perspective on the whole work. That relates a lot to law because law is about having the right perspective and looking at things from the right angle,” she said. So although the thought of leaving a salaried position scared her she realized that a career in family law was what God had been preparing her for all along.
As she began to look into different law schools it quickly became apparent that Regent was the only choice for her. She acknowledged that law students and lawyers are typically known as sharks who are only out for themselves, so she knew she had to learn to incorporate her Christian faith into the study and practice of law if she wanted to be successful at keeping kindness in her work.
Thus she found that one of the most surprising things about Regent was the support of her classmates through the rigorous and intense coursework. “The students are actually sympathetic with you and want to help you because they’re learning too and realize that you’re going through the same thing,” she said. “It’s not like you’re walking the plank and if you fall off somebody else is waiting to gobble you up.”
Another thing she greatly values about being at Regent Law is the devotional time at the beginning of every class. “I didn’t realize that the devotionals would mean as much as they do,” she commented. “It really makes you stop and think about all the blessings that you have been given and remind you that you can’t do law school on your own—but you can do it with God.”
Alderson Broaddus College and Liberty University
Third-year Regent Law student and native of India, Allen Anjo sees his life as a series of God-given opportunities, the latest of which is the chance to pursue a joint degree in law and government at Regent University. “It’s an opportunity that God has given me, and I feel that He is going to be able to put all my life experiences together into something that I can’t see at this point.”
Anjo’s life experiences are unique. He was born in Nagaland, an isolated state in the Himalayan Mountains of northeast India. The Nagas were animistic headhunters before the arrival of Christian missionaries in the mid 1800s, a reality still very near to Anjo. “My grandfather was a headhunter in his younger years,” says Anjo. “He converted to Christianity, and my father was then born into a Christian family,” he says. “My father is also the first high school and college graduate from our tribe.”
Like his father, Anjo has also had educational opportunities. After graduating from an American missionary boarding school in India, he came to the U.S. “[God] opened up a door for me to come to college here with my whole tuition paid. That’s not a very common thing, so I grabbed the opportunity,” he says. In addition to earning a business science degree from Alderson Broaddus College in 2004, Anjo earned both an M.A. and an M.Div. from Liberty Seminary in 2009 before coming to Regent Law.
When asked why he chose Regent Law, Anjo says, “It came down to one thing – a Christian law school. I knew I wanted to go to a law school that had Christian values because it’s no good being a lawyer and looking to do justice if you don’t have a foundational understanding of what real justice is,” he says. “Let’s put it this way, ‘Law is not a profession. It’s a calling,’ definitely resonates with me. It is not a profession,” says Anjo. “I’ve never wanted to be a lawyer. I see my time in law school as not primarily about getting a law degree but fulfilling a God ordained process, a need within myself or somebody else by being here.”
Though it may not yet be clear how God will bring all of Anjo’s life experiences together, there are glimmers of possibility. Anjo’s wife, an American lawyer from Kentucky whom he married in 2009, has helped him narrow his area of interest at Regent Law. “At this point, we’re looking into international law, and specifically, human rights,” he says.
On a trip to Burma several years ago, Anjo’s wife met the Karen people group who asked for her help in bringing them justice. She pursued a legal degree with that in mind. Anjo says, “At this point it’s hard for me to separate myself and what I want to do from what my wife wants to do because we both have this mission. We will go back to Southeast Asia, whether to Nagaland or Burma or Thailand, we don’t know,” he says. “It’s definitely our heart to go back and do something for the people, one way or another.”
Another possibility for Anjo may be a joint project with his father who is the Executive Secretary of the Nagaland Baptist Church Council. “We want to start a college or university back home in the same spirit as Regent… to have a school that embodies Christian values,” he says.
Regent Law welcomes Allen Anjo, and we look forward to seeing which opportunities he will pursue.
University of Florida
Usually, when we at Regent Law speak of helping a person find their voice we do so in the context of social justice. But 3L Hyae-min Sarah Chang reminds us that it is not only the oppressed, but our own students, who have voices just waiting to be heard.
Hyae-min, who goes by her middle name Sarah, is the lone girl and middle child of three. Her parents emigrated from South Korea to Tampa, Fla. in 1983, where she was born and raised.
In high school Sarah realized that her hunger for truth and passion for justice were the perfect makings of a lawyer. However, it was not long before she found that dream fading into the background of her culture.
“Doctors, dentists, pharmacists, and engineers all abound in the [Korean-American] community,” said Sarah. “I never knew a Korean lawyer, especially a female. The culture encourages us be quiet and keep harmony.” She explained that “asking questions, thinking outside of the box, and speaking out” are diametrically opposed to the way Korean women are expected to behave. As a result, Sarah subconsciously abandoned her dream and voice in her struggle for acceptance.
Not only that, but being a Christian at a secular school added to her inhibitions, and it was not until she was a year away from her undergrad graduation that (then English major) Sarah realized the full impact of the cultural and spiritual burdens impeding her calling.
“I lost my passion and my belief in myself concerning [law] as I got to college because I didn’t feel like I could take the steps to pursue justice and righteousness when I was not seeing it at all,” she said. “I wanted to be like a light on a hill but felt like I was going to be this tiny little candle. I was really discouraged.”
Then came the question that began to change it all. Sarah submitted a Biblically based analysis of Emily Dickinson’s poetry to a professor who returned the final paper with a “large ‘A’” on the front, accompanied by the question, “Where have you been all semester?”
“I was really surprised because I had never gotten that kind of a reaction from a professor,” Chang said. He pulled her aside and said that she should not be afraid to speak her mind, and no matter what her opinions were, to take strength in who she knew she was.
Despite her parents reminding and encouraging her of her high school dream to be a lawyer, Hyae-min still struggled to break out of her comfort zone and “approached the law school process with a lot of hesitation and uncertainty – and prayer. I didn’t want to go somewhere where I wouldn’t be able to learn about how to glorify God through the law. And then I heard about Regent.”
Coming from a school as large as the University of Florida, Sarah was taken aback, and even a little put-off, by Regent’s size. But on the second day of her visit Professor Charles Oates pulled her aside and asked for her story and how he could pray for her. That is when she knew that this is where she belonged.
Upon beginning classes Sarah confessed that she initially reverted to her former self, and even sat praying that she would not get called on. “After the first few days I thought ‘What am I doing? I’m here to study, to glorify God, but I’m being so self-conscious and so self-centered.’” The Lord reminded her that her identity is in Christ. “It doesn’t matter if I get a question wrong or embarrass myself in some way. My identity in Christ is solid.”
And so Hyae-min’s story is not as much about finding her voice as it is listening for God’s voice. He in turn gives her the courage and confidence to project the voice she has always had.
Pensacola Christian College
How does a woman bent on becoming a medical doctor suddenly change her mind and pursue a legal career? We asked Regent Law 3L student, Colby Barron. “It was a long journey,” she says. “When I got into the science field, I found that it is not very open to Christians or to people that believe in Intelligent Design, so that made me start thinking about doing something else where I could, as a Christian, affect some type of change.”
After graduating from college with a degree in pre-medicine, Barron began working for a Houston law firm specializing in medical malpractice. “My bosses kept telling me I needed to switch to law,” she says. But she continued her pursuit of medicine until national events caused her to rethink her plans.
“The thing that really switched my mind from medicine to law was when the health care bill passed,” says Barron. “I was actually in the interview process for medical school, and I said to myself, ‘I can’t work in a socialized system.’” So Barron considered law school. In her legal work, she encountered a Texas statute that allows hospitals to override the wishes of patients and their families regarding end-of-life care. Barron thought, “Wow, I need to be in a position where I can actually change this.”
Barron’s perspective and desire to bring about change is influenced by her Christian faith, as was her choice of law schools. After looking at schools nearer to her family in Texas, she decided on Regent Law. “I wanted to be taught law from a Christian perspective,” says Barron. “I also knew some of the alumni, and they highly recommended Regent.”
As she transitions from a science background to the study of law, Barron says, “I feel like I’ve been ripped out of the place where I was and everything I knew and thrown into something completely different. But I really like it - more than I expected.” Though she finds the law enjoyable, the transition has been challenging. “I have to completely retrain my brain,” she says. “Retraining myself to think subjectively is more difficult for me than actually studying for the classes! I have to rethink my approach to studying.”
One thing that helps Barron in her transition is the surprising sense of humor she finds among Regent Law professors. “The professors are funny! They crack jokes in class, and yet they manage to tie them into the subject matter. It’s much more engaging to students to listen to professors who are not just intelligent, but interesting as well.”
Barron also appreciates the information Regent Law provided her during orientation. “Very few law schools have a week-long orientation,” she notes. “I showed my schedule to my bosses at the law firm, and they said, “No law schools help their students this much!” Barron especially appreciated Dean Gantt’s orientation overview which gave her a solid context for her next three years.
Regent Law welcomes Colby Barron.
Regent Law's motto (“Law is more than a profession. It’s a calling”) resonates strongly with 3L student Joel Dunn who wasn’t planning to go to law school. Before his change of direction, Dunn’s aspirations remained close to home. Growing up on the family cotton farm in West Texas, Dunn planned to follow in the footsteps of his great uncle and enter Christian ministry, so he became a licensed preacher during college.
But in 2006, Dunn’s thoughts turned to law when Dr. Del Tackett, the former president of the Focus on the Family Institute and chief spokesperson for The Truth Project, mentioned to Dunn that he should consider law school. Dunn began to research Christian law schools. “I knew that if I wanted to go to law school, I wanted it to be one that held up Christ,” says Dunn. “I didn’t know if one existed.”
In his search, Dunn found Regent Law. But with his deep Texas roots, he thought Regent Law’s Virginia Beach, Va. location was a long way from home. A visit from law recruiter and alum Kerriél Bailey, who drove 350 miles from Dallas to Lubbock especially to meet Dunn, made all the difference. “Her admiration for what the school does and what it stands for really solidified that if I were going to go into law, this is where I would be,” says Dunn.
Dunn and his wife made the trip across country, and their Regent Law experience has exceeded their expectations. Dunn is impressed with the earnestness and godliness of the faculty which he sensed working alongside two of the deans during Regent Law’s annual Community Service Day. “Cutting down grass and trees with the dean of your law school is not an experience you get to have in just any school – to get to visit with him on that level and see his heart for God is completely unique,” he says.
Dunn has also been pleasantly surprised by the structure of law school classes. “I thought it would be just read, read, read,” he says. “But I really like putting the pieces together… understanding why the law is the way it is… how the laws of God have been truly instrumental in the creation of the laws of man. I don’t know that you would get to see that anywhere else,” says Dunn.
Because of his passion for the Christian foundations of American law, Dunn is particularly interested in Constitutional law and the possibility of public service, but he also senses other possible avenues his future may take. His wife, Stephanie, who has a Master’s degree in social work, is passionate about the International Justice Mission which Dunn says is, “an avenue where we both could serve together vocationally.” The Dunn’s are also passionate about helping men get out of and stay out of the trap of pornography and helping couples who have experienced infidelity or pornography addictions.
Though his specific direction is yet uncertain, Dunn is crystal clear about his call to Regent Law. “This is absolutely where I’m supposed to be,” he says. “The good thing about being called… is that it is not as scary as it would have been. You hear all these horror stories about law school, but I know that I’m called here, so I’m not worried about it. I know God has a purpose for me to be here, and so I can just rest in Him that he’s going to take care of it,” he says. “As long as I do my best, I will get out of it I need to get out of it, and it will be along His lines.” We welcome Joel Dunn as he pursues his legal calling here at Regent Law.
University of Tulsa
“I didn’t expect to love it this much!” says 3L Emily Rebecca Dunn of her initial Regent Law experience.
Before coming to Regent, through her work as a nanny Dunn met many attorneys who gave her less than glowing impressions of what law school would be like. “I heard all these depressing things about law school, so I had it in my mind that I was just going to get it over with like a bad dentist appointment … a three-year long dentist appointment,” says Dunn. “But I love it! I can’t stop talking about it.”
‘Talking’ has not come easy for Dunn who has 70-80% congenital hearing loss. Growing up in Oklahoma, Dunn’s parents enrolled her in a special school that taught sign language because her speech was so poor. But Dunn’s teachers believed that, with good therapy, she could eventually develop speech. In first grade, she consequently changed schools. By the third grade, Dunn was part of the gifted and talented program and weaned from special education altogether.
Dunn continued to excel and graduated from public high school at the top of her class. As a National Merit Finalist, Dunn received a full scholarship to the University of Tulsa. She majored in business so she would be prepared to open her own practice after law school.
Becoming a lawyer has been Dunn’s dream since her first exposure to law in an 8th grade civics class. Through high school, Dunn volunteered with the Tulsa Youth Court, a program where students try actual court cases involving juvenile misdemeanors. “The point of the program was to restore the person who had made a mistake – their first offense,” says Dunn. “I just soaked up the opportunity to pour into these children’s lives.” Dunn describes leaving the Youth Court program as bittersweet. “I thought, ‘I have to go through seven more years of school to get back to this?’” she says. “Making a difference in the kids’ lives is what really ignited my passion to get into the legal field.”
Dunn has been passionate about attending Regent Law since her freshman year of college when she first read the school motto, “Law is more than a profession. It’s a calling.” “I thought, ‘This is exactly how I feel!’” she says. “This isn’t something I want to do for a job ... it’s what I’m passionate about. I saw [the motto] and said, ‘Forget any other law school, I’m going here!'”
Of her Regent Law experience so far, Dunn says, “Regent has exceeded my expectations. I feel like here at Regent, they’re concerned about the whole person, not just your legal knowledge and whether you can spout off a rule.” Because her husband is a member of the U.S. Coast Guard, Dunn sees their transfer to Virginia
Beach so she could attend Regent Law as Providential, but she’s uncertain about future plans. “I don’t even know which bar I’m going to take!” she says. “I don’t have a lot of power as to where I’ll be practicing. I just know that I have a passion for children and families. I also love problem solving. I hope my passion will be put to good use.” Regent Law hopes so too and welcomes Emily Rebecca Dunn.
Patrick Henry College
Third-year Regent Law student Jessica Pak is passionate and purposeful about pursuing her legal education. Pak became interested in law at age 14 when she participated in the American Legion Oratorical Contest as part of her homeschool curriculum. The contest seeks to promote a deeper appreciation for the U.S. Constitution among high school students by asking them to write and deliver speeches on the topic. “In that process,” says Pak, “I started to realize how fascinated I was with the American system of government and the foundations of law.”
It was partly because of her convictions about the foundations of law that Pak chose to study at Regent University School of Law. Though she was accepted to eight schools including the University of Virginia, Pak turned down substantial scholarships in favor of Regent Law because of the Christian emphasis. “Regent stands out as very unique,” she says. “While there are a lot of great law schools, Regent shows a different worldview. Whether or not it is acknowledged, law exists and law survives because there is a higher law. Regent acknowledges that,” says Pak.
In addition to the Christian emphasis, Pak chose Regent Law because of the strong academic program. “The professors are extremely qualified,” she says. “I’m confident that I’ll not only get very sound teaching, but also it’s going to be very rigorous and excellent academic standards,” she says.
Pak is used to rigorous academics. Her hard work at Patrick Henry College earned her opportunities to experience American government firsthand through internships with the American Legislative Exchange Council and the Department of Education.
As well as gaining government experience, Pak developed her deep and very personal passion for fighting discrimination. Prior to coming to Regent Law, she worked for the Department of Justice in the Civil Rights Department where she helped enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by conducting on-sight, corporate compliance investigations. “I got to work alongside people with some very serious disabilities, and I had a lot of exposure to very different people from all kinds of backgrounds,” she says. “I got to see from their point of view the discrimination that they face and the stereotypes they confront, and it has strengthened my resolve all the more to fight discrimination and objectification.”
To further achieve her life’s purpose of fighting discrimination, Pak plans to focus her legal studies on the areas of civil rights law, first amendment law, and international law. “I’m not confident about exactly what I’m going to be doing in life,” she says, “but I know that it will have to do with fighting discrimination and promoting the individuality of each person, and being a voice for those who have no voice.“ She says she would be happy to work for The Department of Justice in the Civil Rights section after law school. We welcome Jessica Pak to Regent Law.
Open. Understated. Determined.
Though you might not sense it upon first meeting her, Regent Law 3L Christie McGinley knows exactly what she wants. Underneath her quiet, friendly demeanor is a woman of strong convictions, especially when it comes to her legal studies.
When deciding which law school to pursue, McGinley's Christian commitment made the choice an easy one: Regent Law or no law at all. "To be honest, Regent was the only place I applied. In my mind, it was either I go to law school here at Regent or go get a job," she says.
Her "all or nothing" approach is even more impressive given her status as a top incoming member of the Class of 2013 with other options abounding. "I wanted to study law but I didn't want to do it from anything but a Christian perspective," she says. "I wanted to make sure I was getting the right foundation."
While McGinley's Christian foundations were laid at home growing up in eastern Pennsylvania, she credits her college experience with transforming that faith into a more dependent relationship with God. "College is when my faith became less about just following the rules and more about wanting God to be in control, which is hard for someone like me who likes to have that control," she says.
She's always found the law interesting, yet it's not the first profession that springs to mind as a good fit for McGinley, who describes herself as "not argumentative" and "not outspoken." Here's what led this amenable, non-competitive young woman to choose a career in law: meeting lawyers who integrated their Christian faith with professional excellence and integrity.
Her college advisor, a lawyer who helped her complete a senior project on Christian liberties, was one such individual. "I had never heard of a lawyer so respected by everyone he knew, and I was blown away," she says. "It was amazing to see how he lived out his faith in his practice and I just thought to myself, 'Wow - that's something I want to be able to do.'"
Now, at Regent, McGinley is learning what it means for her personally to live out her faith as a law student and future lawyer. There is no road map, but there are hints of strong resolve.
When asked, for instance, what cause she is most passionate about, McGinley takes a long, thoughtful pause and in her understated way says, "My causes have always been on a smaller scale. I'm not a traveler; I'm not someone who's going to move all over the world. I was very inspired by my mom who seems to make her life about just getting to know people, and I know she's brought a lot of people to Christ that way. And I think that's an amazing testimony to have."
Holding firmly to her Christian foundations, McGinley remains open about her future legal calling. "I'm trying to just let God tell me where to go." We are excited to see where He leads her.