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Sam Ericsson visits Regent

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INTERNATIONAL LAW SOCIETY
Sam Ericsson ILS Presentation
February 2, 2006
Background Information on Sam Ericsson
Sam Ericsson
Sam Ericsson

An immigrant from Sweden, Sam is a graduate of Harvard Law School. In the 1970s he specialized in complex business litigation. In the 1980s he participated in 50 Supreme Court briefs as Director of the Christian Legal Society. He was lead counsel in the landmark California case closing the door on "clergy malpractice" and took the lead in opening campuses to religious clubs by proposing the Equal Access Act to Congress.

Advocates' mission is to bear witness of Jesus Christ through the legal profession by encouraging and enabling advocates to meet locally, organize nationally, cooperate regionally and link globally

The title of Mr. Ericsson's presentation to ILS was "Transforming the Balkans Radically from the Inside Out."

Transforming the Balkans Radically From the Inside Out

The Balkan stories included the initial invitations in 1991 to visit Sofia, Bulgaria, a city and country I had never thought of visiting. But when I received two independent phone calls within 24 hours -- including one call from a total stranger whose mother, we discovered, had worked with my father 40 years earlier in Stockholm, Sweden -- I decided to visit Sofia.  I have been back 25 times since that initial visit.

The Rule of Law Institute of Bulgaria was launched  in 1995 by Advocates International. Starting with 4 young lawyers in 1994, RLI's director, a Christian lawyer, Latcho Popov, has mentored over 100 law students and young lawyers over the past 13 years. Today RLI is a 200 lawyer network with regular meetings in 7 cities. RLI's religious freedom work has enabled Bulgaria to move from a 2 in 1989 to a 9 on a 1-10 scale of religious freedom. Latcho is also the president of Advocates Europe which links 35 European nations.

The other nation that we discussed at the ILS meeting was Albania . In 1967, the dictator, Enver Hoxia, declared atheism to be the official religion of Albania. The mere possession of a Bible, cross or crucifix meant a 10-year prison term.

Advocates International got involved in Albania on March 24, 1992 when two faxes arrived within 10 minutes -- one from Vienna, Austria and the other from Kona, Hawaii. Both faxes had the exact same invitation: Please go to Tirana, Albania to meet the minister of justice and discuss ethics. Advocates Board member, Roger Sherrard, and I went to Albania and started working with the judiciary in 1992.

Advocates has given input on their Constitution, especially the provisions relating to religious freedom and an independent judiciary. On a 1-10 scale for religious freedom, evangelical leaders say today that they have a 10!

Sam Ericsson with Student John Balonze

Laura Bonin, 1L

"Sam Ericsson is truly dedicated to "living in HIStory."  His consistent perception of God's hand in every aspect of his life truly motivates him to seek out God's purpose and direction.  His life story is inspirational and shows God's power to work through those that are faithful in seemingly impossible situations."

Ericsson far exceeds his goal of impacting one person at a time.  With staff of only three workers, Ericsson started Advocates International, a true testament to his dedication to maintain the connection of law and morality in the United States, Latin America, Europe, and across the globe. 

Stephen DeBoer, 1L

"I thoroughly enjoyed Sam Ericsson's talk. He is an engaging speaker who's love for God is clearly communicated though his life and words. His captivating stories evidence the excitement which comes from wholeheartedly serving such a powerful God."