Stockton Brown, 3L
“The Regent Mentoring Program has been a great blessing in my law school career. I entered the program in the spring semester of my 1L year, and after contacting my mentor, Ashley Warner, over the summer, we decided to meet in Kinston, North Carolina, before my 2L year began. Because I was living at home in North Carolina and working for a judge this summer, it was convenient for me to drive down to Kinston, North Carolina, to the firm of Perry, Perry, & Perry where Ashley works. I had a beautiful day at their firm, where I was able to meet several other Regent Law graduates who are practicing in criminal and real estate law, as well as James Stockton “Jimbo” Perry. It was amazing to witness Christian attorneys who were literally being “salt and light” in the part of the world where God has placed them. Jake Warner has shared the Gospel with many of his federal criminal clients and several of the attorneys mentioned that it was “not about the,” but about honoring God with the work that He had given them to do. They were literally seeking first the kingdom of God in the legal field.
I was humbled by their hospitality and generosity. After discussing that my name, “Stockton” was a family name, Jimbo informed me that his son’s name is Stockton, as well as his grandfather, and his own middle name is Stockton. He thought that surely we were related, and gave me a genealogy of the Stockton name in his family, as well as an invitation to his mother’s house for lunch? At the end of the day, Jimbo invited me to return for the next summer as a legal inter, and said that I would also be able to work at The Refuge, a retreat center for children that Jimbo, among others, started recently in the Kinston area. I am confident that Ashley Warner and I were supposed to be paired together fore this Mentoring Program, and I was so encouraged by her wisdom and insight into my 1L year and the practical advice that she gave for beginning my 2L year. The day in Kinston was definitely a gift from God, and I feel led to partner with them next summer.
I felt so received and welcomed by everyone that I met, and I was reminded as I drove home of a verse in Isaiah that God had spoken to me the previous night – “I will go before you, and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” Isaiah 45: 2-3. in all of the events of the day, it was as if God went before me, took the door off the hinges, and laid down the door! I was so encouraged by God’s presence and faithfulness in bringing me to Regent Law to learn not only the legal knowledge, but also the knowledge of how to walk humbly with God, as we are encouraged in Micah 6:8.”
Sarah Morris, 2L
After I toured Regent as an undergrad and interacted with the professors, I saw that Regent was a unique institution from the others that I had researched and visited. I knew that Regent was going to not only equip me academically and professionally, but it is also supportive of my values, viewing law as a means to glorifying God with our talents and knowledge.
When I signed up for the program at the end of my 1L year, I personally knew few attorneys. I wanted the chance to learn more about the legal profession from not only an experienced attorney, but also one who sought to integrate his or her values into their profession. I wanted to see practically what that might look like in real life application.
My assigned mentor, Virginia Van Valkenburg, is an Assistant United States Attorney with the Eastern Division in Norfolk. Virginia works in the civil division and has been there for ten years. I’ve met with Virginia both at her office and at professional events, such as a meeting at the Norfolk and Portsmouth Bar Association (NPBA), which I recently joined. Virginia is the President of the NPBA, so I have learned more about how they are involved in helping our community. Through talking with Virginia, I’ve also learned about the civil division at the USAO and the many types of cases she has handled there. Virginia has been a real encouragement to me. I so appreciate her openness as we have talked about both professional and personal topics. I have also found that we have a lot in common, such as our mutual love for exploring new countries!
Our reputation in the legal community can be either one of our greatest strengths or weaknesses. I have learned more about how the manner in which we relate to the opposing side especially speaks volumes about our character. I am grateful for Virginia’s friendship. I have someone I can meet with or call to get insights and learn from as I begin my own journey in the legal profession. Every attorney (and law student) has a unique opportunity to integrate his or her values in the legal profession. I think we need to prayerfully use discernment as we seek to find what that might look like in our own career. I believe we are to treat every person with respect and dignity, whether they are on our “team” or not. Personally, as a law student, I can also say that I have learned more to walk by faith in the Lord, taking one day at a time and leaning on His daily strength rather than my own.