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Legal Aid Success Stories

MichaelMichael Deering and Erica Pero

Sentara Healthcare was founded in Norfolk, Va. in 1888, and it is the largest integrated health care provider in Southeastern Virginia and North Carolina, serving more than 2 million residents.

Still headquartered in Norfolk, Sentara often recruits Regent Law students for internships, externships, and possible job opportunities within the corporation.

 

EricaRegent law students Michael Deering and Erica Pero, are currently enjoying the rigors of an externship with Sentara's legal department. Both students praise the experience for adding to their studies a depth of skills not gained in the classroom.

"I was treated as a young attorney and was expected to produce results equivalent to the work of a young attorney," says Deering of his externship experience. "The practice of law is not law school. The drudgery of reading for class and writing memos morphs into an excitement about producing the best work possible."

Pero agrees. "The legal department at Sentara Healthcare is a close-knit group of fantastic attorneys," she says. "I was treated as an equal from day one. I was given complex tasks that stretched my abilities and forced me to step outside my comfort zone."

The students report to the entire legal department at Sentara's corporate headquarters, but have also been privileged to work with corporate vice presidents and medical executives.

Pero deals with most of Sentara's corporate matters: mergers, acquisitions, creation of corporate entities, contracts with employees, and tax issues. One of her major projects was to file a Hart-Scott-Rodino pre-merger notification report with the Federal Trade Commission in preparation for a major acquisition in Northern Virginia.

Deering has also been involved in many different projects including corporate bylaws, trademark issues, home health and palliative care, and negotiations.

Their summer hours kept them busy full time, and this fall they'll each work 180 hours to complete the externship credit. To Deering, it's all time well spent.

"The work you produce with your hands and mind, the time you spend analyzing, researching, and communicating, all ultimately affect an individual either within the corporation or on the outside," he said. "To me, there is no greater satisfaction than to know that my efforts, perseverance, and diligence have helped someone in some way."

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SarahSarah Hajovsky

Second year law student Sarah Hajovsky wants to use her J.D. in the field of international human rights. She doesn't have to go overseas, however, to gain the necessary legal experience. Instead, she only has to travel ten miles from the Regent University campus to gain exposure to some of the most important international humanitarian work being done today.

Since September, Hajovsky has been externing 12-15 hours a week with the Civil Military Fusion Centre (CFC) at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Supreme Allied Command Headquarters in Norfolk, Va. Her projects support CFC's goal of "creating an environment where information can flow freely between civilian and military actors engaged in complex crises, with the intent to ultimately help those in need."

"I thoroughly enjoy participating in projects that have international significance," said Hajovsky. "And CFC is designed to facilitate communication between non-government organizations and the military when handling sensitive humanitarian disasters around the globe."

Hajovsky reports to the Knowledge Manager for North East Africa who is responsible for overseeing the humanitarian crisis in this region. In response to current events, Hajovsky has been compiling information for and maintaining an informational website on piracy off the coast of Somalia. In addition to writing a legal brief detailing the jurisdictional issues surrounding the prosecution of piracy, she also works for a member of the NATO general counsel.

Through her NATO externship, Hajovsky has gained a better understanding of maritime law and universal jurisdiction, along with the applicable United Nation Security Council Provisions, International Maritime Organization regulations, and the Suppression of Unlawful Acts directives. Read about other Regent Law externs here.

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