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5.23.2018

Going Beyond Program Learning Outcomes


Assessment of Program Learning Outcomes: Law Schools Move into the Twenty-First Century




Center for Ethical Formation and Legal Education Reform (CEFLER) Co-Director Ben Madison recently posted about law school pedagogy changing over the years.  He gives five suggestions for implementing pedagogical practices:
  1. Find an expert in assessment. 
  2. Read The Rubric Meets the Road in Law School Program Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes as a Fundamental Way for Law Schools to Improve and Fulfill Their Respective Missions
  3. Read Student Learning Outcomes and Law School Assessment (Carolina Academic Press 2015). 
  4. Involve your faculty in the process of assessment. 
  5. Do not be afraid to engage in self-assessment of your law school’s program of learning and its learning outcomes.


Read more about these suggestions and Professor Madison's full blog post here >>

3.26.2018

CEFLER Presentation at Regent Law Admitted Student Day

On March 23, 2018, Dean Natt Gantt and Professor Ben Madison had the opportunity to speak to a group of admitted Regent Law students who will start school this fall. They spoke on "Distinctives of the Regent Law Experience," discussing what Christian legal education looks like through an integrated curriculum.



The Center for Ethical Formation and Legal Education Reform (CEFLER) plays a part in this integration by supporting the Regent Law programming that seeks to develop the professional identity and ethical judgment in our students, including the following:

  • Biblical Integration throughout the curriculum.
  • Devotional time in each class.
  • Courses such as Foundations of Law, Foundations of Practice, and Professional Responsibility, which include training on moral decision-making in the real world.
  • Partnering with Regent's School of Psychology and Counseling for testing and vocational recommendations for students to help them discern their calling.
  • A mentoring program to promote individual character formation and professional development through lasting relationships with lawyers and judges nationwide.
CEFLER was founded in 2012 after Gantt and Madison were influenced by a landmark report published by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The report, titled "Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Practice of Law," contends that law schools need to place greater emphasis on offering an integrated curriculum that cultivates students’ moral formation and understanding of what it means to practice law with professional and personal integrity.

In their presentation, Gantt and Madison referenced a quote from this Carnegie report: “Law school provides the single experience that virtually all legal professionals share. It forms minds and shapes identities.” Such positive forming and shaping is what CEFLER seeks to do: to produce lawyers who have an understanding of the nature and purpose of the legal profession and are committed to the ethical practice of law.

Unsettled: Inside the Strange World of Asbestos Lawsuits

The Business Law Society at Regent University hosted a screening of UnSettled, a documentary that deals with ethical issues surrounding the asbestos litigation, especially on the Plaintiffs’ side.



Center for Ethical Formation and Legal Education Reform Co-Director Natt Gantt sat on the panel.

The documentary focused on issues such as paralegals coaching witnesses on what to say, filing frivolous lawsuits, and filing an unnecessarily large number of suits in an attempt to win more money. After the screening, the panel provided feedback regarding the issues addressed in the documentary as well as fielding some questions.

"The purpose of the UnSettled Screening and Panel was to inform current students of the ethical realities in the practice of law and especially in 'Big Law,'" said James Rhyne, President of Regent Law's Business Law Society. "The hope was to illustrate through the screening and discussion how we as attorneys-in-the-making can make a positive impact in the practice of law and society's stigma regarding attorneys in general."

3.14.2018

Regent Law Launches "Making the Pledge" Initiative

On March 1, 2018, The Center for Ethical Formation and Legal Education Reform (CEFLER) and Law Career Services launched a new initiative called “Making the Pledge." In this program, Regent Law students are asked to pledge 50 hours of public service during their time at law school.

Students can sign up through Career Services and are asked to log their service hours online as well as have someone within the volunteer organization verify their hours.

Hon. Patricia L. West (ret.), Associate Dean of Career & Alumni Services, believes that Making the Pledge will both serve the needs of the community and challenge students. "Our commitment to community service underscores the mission of the Law School and University," said Judge West. "It also teaches students to apply theoretical academic knowledge to clients, which will better equip them for the bar exam, their future practice, and networking with legal professionals.”

With completion of the 50 hours, graduating students will receive a certificate from Career Services and acknowledgment in the Law Commissioning booklet.

CEFLER Co-Founder Ben Madison believes that the new initiative ties directly to CEFLER's mission as well. "Making the Pledge ties into the core of the values we seek to cultivate among our law students—the most central of which is service to others," said Madison. "We seek to cultivate a culture of service at our school and Making the Pledge is an avenue in which students can begin to see the difference they can make in the lives of others."




3.12.2018

Professor Ben Madison Presents on Self-Directedness

On February 17, 2018, Professor Ben Madison traveled to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to attend a workshop hosted by the Holloran Center at the University of St. Thomas School of Law.  The workshop was designed to develop rubrics to help professors evaluate students’ progress in a variety of competencies related to professional identity.



Professor Madison's working group, which includes Neil Hamilton of St. Thomas, Kendall Kerew and Nicolle Iannarone of Georgia State University College of Law, Ann Nowak of Touro Law School, Rupa Bhandari of Santa Clara University School of Law, and Susan Fine of George Washington School of Law, has been working on self-directedness. The group is developing rubrics on elements of self-directedness, which starts with self-awareness and a willingness to receive feedback.

Other working groups at the workshop included ones on professionalism, cultural competence, integrity, and teamwork/collaboration.  Over the past year, these working groups have developed rubrics, benchmarks, and other teaching tools for professors who want to teach elements of professional identity training.  The purpose of the workshop was to allow participants to present their materials and receive feedback.  The working groups are now moving toward putting the materials in final form so that others may benefit from them.

“These working groups are doing some of the most cutting-edge work in legal education,” said Madison. “Dean Gantt and I are integrating some of the materials already in our school's first-year Foundations of Practice course.   The collaboration with other faculty seeking to help students develop professional competencies has been invaluable to our efforts.”

Read more about self-directedness from the results of two surveys conducted by Natt Gantt and Ben Madison. Download the paper for free here >>

1.25.2018

Regent Recognizes National Mentoring Month

This January marks the 17th annual National Mentoring Month, a campaign to promote youth mentoring in the United States.




President Donald Trump offered these words as he recognized the occasion: “In our youth, we must learn the behaviors and habits of successful adults, how to treat others, how to overcome failure, and how to give back to our communities.”

These ideas are similar to the goals of the Center for Ethical Formation and Legal Education Reform (CEFLER) Mentor Program. Since its inception in 2013, the program has promoted our students’ individual character formation and professional development through lasting relationships with lawyers and judges throughout the United States.

Our goal is that our law students will learn the behaviors and habits of successful Christian attorneys, how to treat their clients and coworkers, how to deal with the unique challenges of living the life of an attorney, and how to give back to the community through pro-bono work. Being in a mentor relationship provides a special opportunity for our students to learn these traits by spending time with someone who has walked where they hope to walk.

We are thankful to every one of our mentors who take time to provide their practical insight to complement the education Regent Law students receive in the classroom.

Learn more about the CEFLER Mentor Program at www.cefler.org/mentor >

12.18.2017

The Benefits of Job Shadowing

Marcus Mitchell
When Regent Law 1L Marcus Mitchell came to Rosey Mellion, Associate Director of Law School Career and Alumni Services, asking about how to get more knowledge about criminal defense work, Rosey had the perfect match. Mitchell was already externing with a local law office, and he wanted to pursue another opportunity to work with an attorney.

Rosey encouraged Marcus to contact Regent Law alumnus Stephen Pfeiffer (’07) to see if Marcus could “shadow” Stephen for a day. Job shadowing is a chance to experience a day in the life of an attorney who works in a field of interest. “I wanted to foster Marcus's enthusiasm to network and experience the practice of law outside of the classroom,” said Rosey, “and I believe that through their interaction, that Stephen’s reputation and success will be an added inspiration for Marcus. With his self-driven initiative, Marcus will leverage his network into an amazing career.”

Stephen Pfeiffer is a partner at Wolcott Rivers Gates, one of the largest and most reputable law firms in Virginia Beach. There, Stephen practices primarily in criminal defense on the state and federal levels, but he specializes in DUI defense and is known by many as the “go-to lawyer” for DUI/DWI in his area. He was glad to help Marcus.

The two met one Friday morning, where Marcus saw Stephen go into action right away. “He got continuances on DUI cases, and then settled an assault and battery case between two parties.” But the third DUI case was what stood out to Marcus. Marcus said, “After watching some attorneys before him get their case shot down because they were unprepared for the judge's questions, [Stephen] was completely the opposite. He had multiple cases from the appellate level and had the appropriate statutes selected to answer the judge's questions without missing a beat. The prosecutor couldn't keep up; all of the charges were dismissed.”

Marcus had the opportunity to meet one of the judges, and after court, talk with Stephen about law school. Stephen shared his experience at Regent and gave Marcus tips and contacts to reach out to for additional shadowing experience.

“Overall, it was a great experience,” said Marcus. “I'm glad I had the opportunity to do it.”