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Regent Law Alumna Judge April Wood Sworn In as North Carolina Court of Appeals Judge

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (January 1, 2021) – Regent University School of Law Dean Mark Martin, who served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina from 2014-2019, presided over Judge April Wood’s North Carolina Court of Appeals swearing-in ceremony on New Year’s Day. Wood, a 1997 School of Law alumna, won the seat during the general election in November. 

Judge April Wood Notable Alumni and Regent Law Dean Mark Martin

“It was an honor to swear-in Judge Wood. Her legal training and extensive experience on the District Court will be a tremendous asset during her service on the NC Court of Appeals,” said Martin. “She is an excellent example of how our students graduate from Regent Law prepared to impact the communities they serve by upholding the Constitution and serving as a guardian of the rule of law.”

Wood was first elected to the NC Judicial District 22B District Court Bench in 2002, serving the citizens of Davie and Davidson County for 18 years. Until the judicial district was split, she also served Iredell and Alexander counties. 

As a District Court Judge, she presided over domestic violence cases, cases involving the Department of Social Services, juvenile delinquency cases, child custody and support cases, equitable distribution of marital property, criminal cases, traffic matters, involuntary commitments, and other civil law disputes. She is a certified Juvenile Court Judge. Prior to being elected, Wood maintained a law practice in Thomasville, North Carolina.

“I am thankful for the voters who chose to elect me to Seat 4 on the NC Court of Appeals. I look forward to taking my knowledge ― gained from my training at Regent University School of Law and my many years of being a district judge ― to the court of appeals,” said Wood. 

The swearing-in ceremony was held at the Davidson County Courthouse; a reception followed at the Childress Vineyard’s Pavilion.

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Regent Law’s more than 3,300 graduates practice law in 49 states and over 20 countries and include 38 currently sitting judges. The School of Law currently ranks in the top 25 percent of all law schools for obtaining judicial clerkships and ranked 20th in the nation for Ultimate Bar Passage in 2019. The school offers the Juris Doctor (J.D.) in three-year and part-time formats, an online M.A. in Law, an online M.A. in Financial Planning & Law, an on-campus and online LL.M. in Human Rights and an on-campus and online LL.M. in American Legal Studies.

Founded in 1978, Regent University has more than 11,000 students studying on its 70-acre campus in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and online around the world. The university offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from a Christian perspective in 135+ areas of study including business, communication and the arts, counseling, cybersecurity, divinity, education, government, law, leadership, nursing, healthcare and psychology. Regent University, ranked among top national universities (U.S. News & World Report, 2020), is one of only 23 universities nationally to receive an “A” rating for its comprehensive liberal arts core curriculum.

Judge Steven G. Rogers ’95 Selected as Judge of the Year

Judge Steven Rogers ’95 (School of Law). Photo courtesy Judge Steven Rogers.
Judge Steven Rogers ’95 (School of Law). Photo courtesy Judge Steven Rogers.

The first time Regent University School of Law alumnus Judge Steven Rogers ’95 ever logged onto the internet – screeching dialup tone and all – was to view his bar exam results on campus.

More than two decades later, he’s bringing law to life for young students who don’t remember a world without the wide web.

“They think, ‘It was before the internet, why would I pay attention to the Bill of Rights?” said Rogers. “It’s hard to relate these old principles to the Snapchat generation. But they affect their everyday lives.”

In June 2016, Rogers was named Judge of the Year for 2016 in Florida for his work with Justice Teaching, a statewide program that matches elementary, middle and high schools with professionals in the legal field. The initiative began in 2006, by Florida Supreme Court Justice Fred Lewis.

“It was a really good honor for me,” said Rogers. “To be picked out of all the judges in the state of Florida, from Pensacola to Key West, that’s pretty special.”

Rogers brings his expertise as a Circuit Judge to students in Ocala, Florida, with a series of exercises that give context, relevance and a bit of fun to the subject of law.

“We’ll go through the Bill of Rights by imagining that aliens are invading,” said Rogers. “They tell us that we have too many rights and that we have to choose five of them that we want to keep.”

Throughout the exercise, Rogers will explain why rights like the freedom of religion and the right to peaceably assemble, and the right for a jury trial but a right to an attorney go hand-in-hand when it comes to the law.

“It’s a fun activity, and we have a really good time,” said Rogers. “And I get a new audience every year because they haven’t stopped making fifth-graders yet.”

In his day-to-day life, Rogers’ goal is to bring the same level of understanding to his constituents as he carries out his duties.

“People are in court because something bad is going on in their lives,” said Rogers. “My job is to help them navigate through that time. My goal is to help them know they’ve been listened to and to give them a decision that they hopefully can understand, even though I know not everyone is going to agree with it.”

To his fellow alumni, his advice – along with “remembering values” – is clear:

“Finish law school and be a member of the bar,” said Rogers. “A lot of times I’ll see lawyers who’ve compromised their character and ethics. But they need to know that their reputation goes beyond a particular case. Law and the principles of law are founded on a lot more than greed, money, power and influence.”

Learn more about Regent University’s School of Law.