This fall, Regent University’s School of Law hosted the 2016 Conference of Religiously Affiliated Law Schools (RALS). The biennial symposium provides law professors with an opportunity to address issues of particular relevance to faith-based law institutions.
This year’s conference – titled “Changes and Challenges for Faith Based Legal Education” – attracted panelists from institutions such as, St. Mary’s School of Law, University of Illinois College of Law, University of Houston Law Center and Florida Coastal School of Law.
“We were honored to host the 2016 Religiously Affiliated Law Schools (RALS) Conference,” said LAW Dean Michael Hernandez. “The conference provides an excellent opportunity for our faculty to host and engage professors from other law schools and to showcase Regent Law’s Christian mission and commitment to academic excellence.”
Throughout the conference, panelists zeroed in on topics such as “Implementing Ethical Formation & Professional Identity in Law School,” “Potential Accreditation and Tax Exempt Status Issues for Religiously Affiliated Law Schools After Obergefell,” “New Scholarship,” and “Pursuing Global Justice.”
Professor Edna Udobong from Liberty University School of Law presented on The Challenge of Global Justice: Advocating for Equal Rights in an Unequal World.
“Global justice is a broad topic, but we have to start somewhere,” said Udobong. “God is the source of justice.”
She explained that law schools should influence local law; provide legal and spiritual assistance; give continuous advocacy; train law enforcement; and counsel children and their parents in refugee camps to serve those seeking justice.
“That’s our mission,” said Udobong. “To train students and ourselves to fulfill the Great Commission.”
Dean of St. Thomas University School of Law, Robert Vischer spoke on Institutional Engagement & Institutional Misison – Why Religiously Affiliated Law Schools Should be Deeply and Proactively Engaged with the #BlackLivesMatter Movement. He called for a need of compassion for those involved in religiously affiliated law schools in a world that is losing its capacity for showing empathy for others.
“What are we doing in this area? And what is a law school for? How do we move forward on these important issues?” asked Vischer. “These topics have required me to get out of my comfort zone. It’s a lot easier for me to attend an alumni party than it is for me to go to a protest – but if the students are there, I’m there.”
Finally, Jim Gash, professor at Pepperdine University School of Law, shared his views on Engaging Students in Global Justice on the Ground in Real Time.
“The students that you attract are going to law school not just to be equipped with the law, but they will learn how to be ministers to the broken,” said Gash. “That’s what we do: We create ministers to the broken and we prepare them to serve.”
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