Professor Ben Madison Presents at 2016 SEALS Conference

On August 3-9, CEFLER Co-director Professor Ben Madison presented at the Southeastern Association of Law Schools Annual (SEALS) Conference.

Madison's first presentation was with Lynne Marie Kohm, Associate Dean of Faculty Development and External Affairs at Regent University School of Law.  The two introduced Regent Law's curriculum changes in program assessments. Although such developments are now an expectation by ABA Standard 315, Regent was among the first in the group of schools attending the presentation to make curriculum changes based on taking selected program learning outcomes.  As Professor Madison commented, “I have received a number of requests after the SEALS Conference for the materials we developed to get to the point at which we’re actually gathering data on the extent to which our J.D. program is meeting the Program Learning Outcomes our faculty has adopted.”

Dean Lynne Marie Kohm with Professor Madison

Madison's other two talks were on ways to improve formative assessments so that students receive meaningful feedback during the semester rather than having the final exam as their first indication of how they're really doing.  Madison is a fan of this approach.   Another new ABA standard, Standard 314, requires that law schools employment formative assessments (in-semester evaluations designed to give “meaningful feedback” to students, and also to use multiple summative (graded) assessments rather than the traditional end-of-semester final exam as the sole grade.  "To me that's as much about the legal academy recognizing its own professional identity as teachers and to provide superior methods to enhance student learning, in both doctrinal courses, clinical courses, and courses that address ethical decisions," he said.

Between 700 and 1000 folks attended the 2016 conference, held at Amelia Island Resort. Other Regent Law faculty in attendance included Dean Michael Hernandez and Professors Jim Duane, Tom Folsom, Tessa Dysart, and newest faculty member Caleb Griffin.  Professor Madison and Tessa Dysart are members of SEALS New Law Teachers Committee, responsible for programming to help new professor prepare to teach courses for the first time and best practices to use in that process.

"Three presentations in three days was draining," said Professor Madison, "but it was also an atmosphere of professors trading ideas, encouraging one another, and generally having a good time."

L to R: Dean Kohm, Prof. James Duane, former Regent Law Prof. Haskell Murray, and Prof. Tom Folsom

Learn more about SEALS on their website:
The Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS), a regional association of law schools, hosts an annual meeting that is held in late July or early August. A highlight of the meeting is the New Scholars Workshop which offers newer faculty the opportunity to present a work in progress, and to receive feedback from assigned mentors and audience participants.
The meeting also offers legal educators panels and discussion groups that focus on pedagogy; thus offering law professors an opportunity to enhance their classroom teaching. 
Finally, it provides numerous panels and discussion groups of a host of cutting-edge topics that will prove important for both scholarly works and teaching covering the breadth of legal issues.  Because the meeting attracts scholars from all over the U.S., indeed from around the world, the discussions can be lively and intense.

Associate Dean Gantt Featured as August Harvey Fellow

The Harvey Fellows Program provides scholarships to Christian students who are pursuing graduate studies at premier universities in fields considered to be underrepresented by Christians and who possess a unique vision to impact society through their vocations.

Initiated by the Mustard Seed Foundation (MSF) in 1992, the Harvey Fellows Program seeks to mark, equip and encourage individuals to actively integrate their faith and vocation as leaders in strategic occupations.  Through the program, the Foundation seeks to identify, prepare, and celebrate this generation's Daniels, Esthers, Josephs and Lydias - people of God willing and able to assume positions of leadership and influence for the cause of Christ in fields such as media, government, scientific research, industry, the arts, and higher education.

Harvey Fellows come from around the globe and work in diverse fields. Currently there are over 300 Harvey Fellows worldwide, representing twenty-four countries and over forty academic and vocational fields. Click here for a listing of all current and senior Harvey Fellows by field of study.

The following is from the Harvey Fellows Quarterly August 2016 newsletter, which features Professor and Associate Dean Natt Gantt.  Dean Gantt received a Harvey Fellowship in 1993 to help fund his studies at Harvard Law School.  He was also selected to be Secretary of the Harvey Fellows Advisory Board earlier this year.

L.O. Natt Gantt, II '93
Professor and Associate Dean, Regent University School of Law

Sara VanderHaagen, HFAB Communications Chair: How would you described your vocation, and how are you pursuing that in your current position?
Natt Gantt: I always have had a heart to see people's lives transformed by the power of God.  Lawyers often face significant ethical dilemmas in the profession, so it is enormously enriching to teach at a Christian law school where I can inspire my students to develop a biblical framework for ethical decision-making.  In teaching legal ethics and my other courses, I also challenge my students to be "salt and light" in the legal profession.  Furthermore, it is incredibly rewarding to write, speak, and engage the legal academy and profession in ways that motivate us to develop lawyers of character and integrity.

SV: How has being a Harvey Fellow affected your vocation and life? 
NG: Receiving the Harvey Fellowship was a blessing that furthered my desire to integrate my faith into my professional calling.  Since receiving the fellowship many years ago, I have been inspired and encouraged in my own work as I see all the amazingly gifted applicants who have received fellowships over the years and are making a kingdom impact in their respective fields.

SV: What about your work most excites or inspires you right now?
NG: Legal education right now is in the midst of tremendous change, and one of the current pressures on legal educators is that we have to do a better job helping our students develop their professional identity.  This pressure creates an exciting opportunity for Christian law professors, as we can discuss with the broader academy and profession the importance of cultivating values and encouraging moral formation in law students and young lawyers.

SV: What about God's work most excites or inspires you right now?
NG: In interacting with my students and Regent colleagues and with lawyers and professors from other institutions, I am continually inspired to see how God impacts the lives of others--many times in environments where I don't expect it.  We indeed put Him in a box when we overlook how He can touch the lives of others in "secular" professions.

The Whole Lawyer and the Character Quotient

Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers (ETL), an initiative of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, released yesterday the results of its survey of 24,000 lawyers from all 50 states.  

Here is an excerpt from their press release:

"In a first-of-its kind project, Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers, an initiative of IAALS, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, reveals the keys to success: first, lawyers must have a high “character quotient.” Integrity, work ethic, grit, and common sense are just a few of the necessary characteristics. Second, according to IAALS’ report, Foundations for Practice: The Whole Lawyer and the Character Quotient, findings show that, while character reigns, being a successful lawyer requires a blend of character quotient with professional competencies and legal skills."

The report, titled, “Foundations for Practice: The Whole Lawyer and the Character Quotient,” makes the following conclusion:

"We no longer have to wonder what new lawyers need. We know what they need and they need more than we once thought. Intelligence, on its own, is not enough. Technical legal skills are not enough. They require a broader set of characteristics (or, the character quotient), professional competencies, and legal skills that, when taken together, produce a whole lawyer. When we value any one foundation, like intelligence, and when we value any one group of foundations, like legal skills, we shortchange not only the potential of that lawyer—we also shortchange the clients who rely on them."

Regent Law is a member of ETL's consortium of law schools, and reports such as this one confirm that the work of groups like Regent Law's Center for Ethical Formation and Legal Education Reform (CEFLER) is critical to improving legal education and the legal profession.  Committed to developing students’ professional identity, CEFLER provides training that cultivates in students the practical judgment, character formation, and ethical decision-making skills that are important to the practice of law.  Our goal is to produce lawyers who understand the nature and purpose of the legal profession and are committed to the ethical practice of law.

Learn more about CEFLER at >

Suggested Reading for Incoming Law Students

    Law School Study & Writing Skills
    • Bridging the Gap Between College and Law School: Strategies for Success, Ruta K. Stropus and Charlotte D. Taylor, Carolina Academic Press, 2001.
    • The Eight Secrets of Top Exam Performance in Law School: An Easy to Use, Step-by-Step Program for Achieving Great Grades!, Harcourt Legal & Professional Publications, Inc., 1997.
    • How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth, 3rd edition, Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart, Zondervan, 1993.
    • The Elements of Legal Style, 2nd edition, Bryan A. Garner, Oxford University Press, 2002.
    • Plain English for Lawyers, 5th edition, Richard C. Wydick, Carolina Academic Press, 1998.
    • The Elements of Style, 4th editionWill Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White, Longman, 1999.
    • Fowler's Modern English Usage, 3rd revised edition, R. W. Burchfield, Oxford University Press, 2004.
    • One-L: The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School, reprint edition, Scott Turrow, Penguin Books, 2010.

    History & Philosophy of Law
    • Defending the Declaration: How the Bible and Christianity Influenced the Writing of the Declaration of Independence, 1st edition, Gary T. Amos, Wolgemuth & Hyatt Publishing, 1989.
    • The Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, Signet Classics, 2003.
    • Miracle at Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention, May to September 1787, 1st edition, Catherine Drinker Bowen, Back Bay Books, 1986.
    • Debate of the Constitution: Federalist and Antifederalist Speeches, Articles & Letters During the Struggle Over Ratification, Part Two: January to August 1788, Edited by Bernard Bailyn, Library of America, 1993.
    • No Liberty for License: The Forgotten Logic of the First Amendment, first edition, David Lowenthal, 
    • Spence Publishing Company, 1997.
    • 50 Questions on the Natural Law: What It Is and Why We Need It, Charles E. Rice, Ignatius Press, 1999. 
    • The Lion and the Throne: The Life and Times of Sir Edward Coke, first edition, Catherine D. Bowen, Little Brown & Co., 1990.
    • The Tradition of Natural Law: A Philosopher's Reflections, Yves Rene Simon and Vukan Kuic, Fordham University Press, 1999.
    • Reason in the Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law & Education, Phillip E. Johnson, InterVarsity Press, 1998.
    • The Rise of Modern Judicial Review: From Judicial Interpretation to Judge-Made Law, revised edition, Christopher Wolfe, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1994.

    Profession of Law, Ethics, Crime & Justice
    • A Nation Under Lawyers: How the Crisis in the Legal Profession Is Transforming American Society, 1st edition, Mary Ann Glendon, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1994.
    • Beyond All Reason: The Radical Assault of Truth in American Law, Daniel Farber and Susanna Sherry, Oxford University Press, 1997.
    • The Death of Common Sense: How Law is Suffocating America, Philip K. Howard, Grand Central Publishing, 1996.
    • Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality, Robert P. George, Oxford University Press, 1995.
    • The Interaction of Law and Religion, Harold J. Berman, Abingdon Press, 1974.
    • Crime and Its Victims: What We Can Do, Daniel W. Van Ness, InterVarsity Press, 1986.
    • Justice that Restores, Charles W. Colson, Tyndale House Publishers, 2001.
    • Restoring Justice, Dan Van Ness and Karen Heetderks Strong, 2nd edition, Anderson Publishing Co., 2001.
    • The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict, 3rd edition, Ken C. Sande, Baker Books, 2000.
    • In Search of Atticus Finch: A Motivational Book for Lawyers, Mike Papantonio, Seville Publishing, 1998. 

    Christian Principles
    • Redeeming Law: Christian Calling and the Legal Profession, Michael P. Schutt, InterVarsity Press, 2007.
    • Click here to read the author's blog
    • Burden of Truth: Defending the Truth in an Age of Unbelief, Charles W. Colson and Anne Morse, Tyndale House Publishers, 1998.
    • The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life, Os Guinness, Thomas Nelson Publishing, 2003.
    • Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis, Harper San Francisco, 2009.
    • The Other Six Days: Vocations, Work, and Ministry in Biblical Perspective, R. Paul Stevens, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2000.
    • Out of the Saltshaker: Evangelism as a Way of Life, Rebecca Manley Pippert, InterVarsity Press, 1999.
    • Postmodern Times: A Christian Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture, Gene Edward Veith, Jr., Crossway Books, 1994.
    • The Sensate Culture, Harold O. J. Brown, Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2007.

    Law in Literature
    • The Law as Literature, Ephraim London, Simon & Schuster, 1966.
    • Les Miserables, Victor Hugo.
    • 1984, George Orwell, Signet Classic, 1950.
    • To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee, Grand Central Publishing, 1988.
    • Witness, Whittaker Chambers, Regnery Publishing, 1987.

    • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Jean Arthur, James Stewart, and Claude Rains, Columbia Tristar, 1939.
    • The Oxbow Incident, Anthony Quinn, Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, and Harry Morgan, Twentieth Century Fox, 1942.
    • Young Mr. Lincoln, Henry Fonda and Lamar Trotti, Twentieth Century Fox, 1939.
    • Anatomy of a Murder, James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazarra, Eve Arden, and George C. Scott, Columbia Tristar, 1959.
    • Adam's Rib, Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1949.
    • Judgment at Nuremburg, Spencer Tracy and Maximillian Schnell, United Artists, 1961.
    • Witness for the Prosecution, Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, and Charles Laughton, MGM-Pathe Communications, 1957.
    • Breaker Morant, Edward Woodward, Jack Thompson, John Waters, and Bryan Brown, South Australian Film Corp., 1979.
    • Twelve Angry Men, Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, United Artists, 1957.
    • A Civil Action, John Travolta, Robert Duvall, Stephen Fry, James Gandolfini, Dan Hedaya, Zeljko Ivanek, and John Lithgow, Touchstone Pictures, 1999.

    Mentee Testimony: Chris Pocta

    Christopher Pocta ('16) was invited to join the Center for Ethical Formation and Legal Education Reform (CEFLER) mentor program by Center Director Professor Natt Gantt.

    Chris desired to incorporate ethical and moral components in his own practice and knew the Center for Ethical Formation and Legal Education Reform could help.

    In his two years in the  program, he also found unique opportunities to collaborate with and confide in Christian attorneys.

    April 2016 CEFLER Quarterly eNewsletter

    Click here to subscribe to our quarterly eNewsletter >

    Director's Greeting

    What is Professional Identity?

    Professional identity challenges law students and lawyers to internalize principles and values such that their professional conduct flows naturally from their individual moral compass.

    See the following excerpt from the The Emperor Has No Clothes, But Does Anyone Really Care? How Law Schools are Failing to Develop Students' Professional Identity and Practical Judgment, pages 344-45:
    The concept referred to as "professional identity" needs to be clarified before one can appreciate its significance to a lawyer's development and its connection to the ancient concept of phronesis, or practical wisdom. Scholars have already had difficulty agreeing on a definition of "professionalism." It should be no surprise, then, that "professional identity" has required clarification. The phrase is not clearly defined even within the seminal reports introducing the concept. (Download the article here.)
    The Center for Ethical Formation & Legal Education Reform coordinates the programs and resources Regent Law has committed to developing students' professional identity. Read more » 

    For additional updates on all the work CEFLER is doing, please visit our social networks and website. And be sure to let us know what you think.

    L. O. Natt Gantt II
    CEFLER Director

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    CEFLER News
    Center Director Natt Gantt Quoted in The Virginian-Pilot
    The Virginian-Pilot recently interviewed Professor L.O. Natt Gantt II, Director of CEFLER, regarding a Facebook post by Portsmouth (VA) Councilman Bill Moody.

    Portsmouth City Council fined Councilman Moody for the Facebook post on the basis that the post violated his obligation to protect attorney-client communications on behalf of the city. Moody stated that he plans to appeal the fine in court and that he has filed a complaint with the American Civil Liberties Union.  Read more » 

    Teaching Knowledge, Skills, and Values of Professional Identity Formation

    CEFLER founders, Natt Gantt and Regent Law Associate Dean Ben Madison, were cited by Professor Paul L. Caron in his Weekly Legal Education Roundup on TaxProfBlog for their piece titled, "Teaching Knowledge, Skills, and Values of Professional Identity Formation."

    Regent Law Dean and CELFER Director Present at Pepperdine Conference

    CEFLER Director Natt Gantt and Regent Law Associate Dean Lynne Marie Kohm presented "Teaching Law Students to Love Justice" at Pepperdine Law's annual conference titled "Doing Justice Without Doing Harm"

    After discussing what research has shown about the attributes of millenial law students, Gantt and Kohm identified and examined particular methods legal educators can employ, both in the classroom and programmatically, to foster students' appreciation for lawyers' special responsibility to promote justice.

    CEFLER Events

    Professionalism and Professional Identity

    On January 27, 2016, Center Director Natt Gantt and Regent Law Associate Dean Ben Madison, founders of CEFLER, had the opportunity to speak to students on the topic of professionalism and professional identity.  The talk was hosted by the Washington chapter of Phi Alpha Delta (PAD), the largest co-ed professional law fraternity in the United States.    Read more » 

    Making Ethical Decisions in Challenging Times

    On Tuesday, March 1, 2016, CEFLER hosted Admiral Vern Clark (USN, Ret.), former Chief of Naval Operations. Admiral Clark has an exceptionally decorated 37 year stint, having commanded three ships, two destroyer squadrons, the Atlantic Fleet's Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center, a Carrier Battle Group, the Second Fleet, NATO's Striking Fleet, and the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. Clark forged an effort to make the Navy more competitive and to posture the way for the challenges of the post 911 world and had much wisdom to share about making ethical decisions in challenging times.

    Center Founders Natt Gantt and Ben Madison Speak at NPBA Bench/Bar Conference

    On Tuesday, March 22, Center founders L.O. Natt Gantt II and Ben Madison, along with William and Mary Law School Dean Davison Douglas, spoke at the Norfolk & Portsmouth Bar Association (NPBA) Bench/Bar Conference on The Future of Legal Practice.

    The NPBA Bench Bar committee plans and executes the annual Bench Bar conference, where local lawyers and judges can obtain MCLE credit and valuable information to improve their practice. Approximately 150 lawyers and judges attended the conference, which is now in its 18th year.
    Mentee Testimony: Carter Budwell
    My name is Carter Budwell. I am a third year law student at Regent University School of Law, and plan on taking the Virginia bar exam this summer.

    Unlike many of my peers who joined the mentor/mentee program as first year law students, I did not join until the fall of my third year. It was just something I did not think that much about. But I decided that having a connection with a practicing attorney can only help me, and cannot hurt me.

    Beyond the Rule
    How Can You Effectively Teach Professional Identity?If one chooses to make teaching professional identity a goal of one’s course, then the following are suggestions for effectively meeting this goal:
    1. Include professional identity formation as a course goal in the syllabus.
    2. Within major course topics, include professional identity hypotheticals that challenge students to make a judgment involving values and professionalism. Encourage discussion of...

    Questions of Professional Identity
    by Professor Jeffrey A. Brauch
    One of my great joys as a law professor is following the progress of some of my former students as they begin law practice and mature as lawyers. I catch up with them at formal alumni events, but even more through phone conversations, social media, or informal chats in person. We talk about life, family, and practice. Alumni share joys and frustrations. Sometimes they seek advice.

    We almost never discuss substantive legal questions. No one ever wants a refresher on removing cases from state to federal court.


    Resource Highlight: A Book on Professional Identity by Scott Fruehwald

    What I Learned from Writing My Book on Professional Identityby Scott Fruehwald

    The editors of this blog have asked me to write about the lessons I learned while writing my book, Developing Your Professional Identity: Creating Your Inner Lawyer(2015).

    First, a text on developing professional identity must begin by having students examine who they are today and how they got there. A person must understand who she is before she can develop a professional identity...


    Other Blog Posts

    CEFLER Calendar

    42nd ABA National Conference on Professional Responsibility
    This conference will bring together legal scholars, jurists and specialists in the professional responsibility field for two days of intensive seminars covering a wide range of issues.

    Conference topics will address recent trends and developments in legal ethics, professional discipline for lawyers, professionalism and practice issues.

    Philadelphia, PA

    June 1-3, 2016

    View other events on the CELFER calendar online »
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    Judge West Prepares Christian Leaders for Tough Challenges in their Careers

    Violent crime, sexual abuse and broken families are harsh realities the real world offers on a daily basis. Some Regent University graduates will serve in careers that demand close interaction with those involved in challenging situations. While it's impossible to perfectly prepare anyone for these tragedies, The Robertson School of Government (RSG) invited Judge Patricia L. West, distinguished professor, to share stories of ethical challenges she's faced in her career, and how she handled them from a Christian perspective.  Judge West is also the Associate Dean of Regent Law Career, Alumni & Student Services, and Distinguished Professor at Regent Law.

    "God doesn't want us to all be together in a little clump, pat ourselves on the back, and tell each other what great Christians we are," said West. "He wants us to be out there in the darkness. That's the only way that we can ever win anyone."

    West sat down and shared stories from her time as a judge in Virginia Beach Circuit Court, Virginia Beach Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, and her experience working for Virginia's Attorney General. She shared stories of cases involving tragedy, tough decisions and teachable moments. Facing unrepentant convicted murderers, child sex predators, and victims of haneius crimes took peace, calmness and discernment West says only came from her relationship with God.

    "God has granted me the ability to see all of this awful stuff, hate that it happens, but not get jaded by it," said West. "I know it's there, and these things happen, and I cannot explain it apart from God's grace. The things that I've seen and talked about today are a side of the world that most people don't even need to know about, unless they're working in it and want to try to help with it."

    As a prosecutor, West counseled and nurtured victims. As a judge, she delivered justice to convicted criminals. After serving sentences, some would come forward and thank her.

    "I'm sure a lot of the people I locked up didn't really know I was hoping that I was really making a positive difference in their life, but that was my prayer always, that they would go into prison, and a prison ministry might change their life. They needed to be punished, but my deepest desire, when I imposed those sentences, was that they would come out better people."

    By Brennan Smith