Unlike law schools criticized for too much theory and not enough skill building, Regent Law develops graduates who are practice ready and prepared to serve others. This summer, 19 Regent Law students worked with various legal organizations in four states and nine countries as part of the annual internship grant program with Regent’s Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law (CGJ).
“Summer internships, clerkships and apprenticeships are excellent opportunities to get hands-on experience while putting the knowledge and skills our students have gained to use serving others,” explains School of Law Dean Michael Hernandez.
CGJ offers one of the university’s most-high profile summer programs. Their interns don’t just observe. Each was fully engaged and fully prepared for legal (and spiritual) battles to combat human trafficking, advance the rule of law, protect children, secure religious freedom, and tackle other related human-rights issues.
“Through this donor-funded internship program, students’ lives are changed every summer,” says Ernie Walton, CGJ’s administrative director. “God confirms their calling to be human rights attorneys who advocate for the oppressed.”
Second-year law student Daniel Tirle served in his native country of Romania, working with People to People Foundation. The Christian charity helps institutionalized and poor children with their basic needs, such as food, health care and education. “Regent University offered me the tools and the platform necessary to impact the lives of the people I worked with,” Tirle says. “I am thankful for this amazing honor to be in Romania and to serve these children.”
“Newlyweds” Christy and Palmer Hurst traveled to Strasbourg, France as CGJ interns with the European Centre for Law and Justice, which is a global partner of the American Center for Law and Justice. On day one of their six-week internship, the Hursts were tasked with helping prepare a 35-page petition, which was presented to the European Parliamentary Assembly, urging them to adopt legislation that would criminalize partial-birth abortion and neonatal infanticide across the continent.
To write the petition, the Hursts found themselves analyzing 35 to 40 testimonies of European doctors, nurses and midwives who recounted the killings of aborted babies who were born alive. “It was a spiritual battle. When we got home, we had to sit and really just pray,” Christy remembers. “We were doing this work so that this could be brought to light and so that every single country can come to the aid of these babies.”
Palmer adds, “What was hardest for me was reading testimonies from doctors who wondered how they can continue practicing medicine knowing what they have done.”
While the Hursts are still waiting for word on a final vote by the Parliamentary Assembly, Christy believes the work they did could change the course of entire nations: “The fact that my training from Regent has allowed me to potentially change European law so that no babies will ever, ever have to suffer that way ever again, it’s incredible. We’re not talking one country; we’re talking 35. It’s almost unfathomable.”
Courtney Marasigan’s internship took her to Kampala, Uganda, where she worked with the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP), the equivalent of the U.S. Justice Department. While admitting that she felt “overburdened” at times during her internship, the third-year law student says her faith – and the spiritual support of her professors and fellow students – sustained her.
“It pressed heavily on my heart when advocating for proper prosecution procedures under (Uganda’s) anti-torture law, catching a glimpse of discrimination as a foreigner, and merely witnessing the persevering spirits of beautiful people in a third-world country.” Marasigan continues, “Though difficult for one to shoulder the burden of such experiences alone, my first year at Regent Law sufficiently equipped me to cope in the best way possible.”
Joseph Kohm III traveled the farthest for his internship. He spent six weeks in Tangerang, Indonesia at Universitas Pelita Harapan, a Christian undergraduate university with a law school that focuses on fighting sex and labor trafficking, protecting believers from persecution, and other Rule of Law issues.
Kohm says Regent Law’s focus on and integration of the Bible uniquely equipped him for his internship experience: “Because of that education, I was fortunate enough to be used by God to communicate His principles through the law to Indonesian law students. Regent has consistently prepared Christ-focused law students to make a difference for the Kingdom the world over, and I feel immensely blessed to be one of them.”
Participating in one CGJ internship over the semester break wasn’t enough for Natasha Delille, so she did two. Delille started off her summer with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) International in Vienna, Austria, where she worked to help the Christian legal organization protect religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage and family around the world. Her next assignment, with Freedom Firm in India, brought her face to face with victims of human trafficking – women and girls who have been sold into the commercial sex trade.
“I was thrown into the deep end,” Delille explains. “I freaked out, of course, because it was my first legal internship. But then I realized that I’ve done this in my research and writing class. I’ve been reading these types of cases, so I was prepared, and I was confident that this was where God wanted me to be. Regent had a lot to do with that academically and spiritually speaking.”
While the goal is to continue strategically placing students both nationally and internationally, Dean Hernandez says Regent Law needs significant help to make that possible: “We greatly appreciate the support of the many faithful donors who have funded Global Justice internships, and we would welcome additional partners who support our mission and are passionate about seeing justice pursued and achieved worldwide.”
Since 2010, more than 100 Regent Law students have served as CGJ interns around the world. For additional information about the Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law, call 757.352.4660 or visit regent.edu/globaljustice.