On the evening of Monday, November 14th, the Christian Legal Society held a Faith and Practice Symposium in the Ruby R. Vale Moot Courtroom on Widener Law’s Delaware Campus.
The event focused on the interaction of faith and legal practice, and featured a moderated panel of professors discussing their own experiences. Jana DiCosmo, Vice President and Symposium Chair for the Christian Legal Society, opened the program with a brief welcome, saying, “You can be a great attorney and not have to check your faith at the door.”
Associate Professor Patrick J. Johnston
, who served as moderator, then introduced panelists Professor Ann H. Britton
, Associate Professor Paul L. Regan
, and Visiting Associate Professor Kathleen Turezyn
. Associate Professor Nathaniel C. Nichols
was also originally scheduled to speak, but another commitment left him unavailable.
Professor Turezyn spoke first, noting that she was born and raised a Catholic, and that faith was always a part of her life. “Everything that I do is guided by my faith,” she said, and she also indicated that she often had told students going through difficult times that she would pray for them.
Professor Regan thanked the Christian Legal Society for putting the event together and said of his own faith, “It defines my existence. It’s who I am.”
Professor Britton spoke briefly about her work with legal aid, and indicated that her faith made it difficult for her to hardened her heart to the difficulties she saw around her. Speaking about beliefs and avoiding unnecessary material possessions, she said, “I deliberately live a simple live.”
Following their brief remarks about their own backgrounds, the panelists took questions from the audience. One student asked about the possibility of an employer looking down on a job candidate who emphasized their Christian faith. The panelists agreed that such a situation was possible, but they all indicated that they had never had that experience.
Asked about the difficulty of preaching the gospel to co-workers, Professor Regan said of his time as an associate at Skadden Arps, “If someone asks me something, I’ll tell them anything they want to know,” but he added, “I didn’t feel like I had permission to try to convert anyone. I don’t think a place of work will be happy if you’re pushing your agenda.”
When asked if they had ever had a negative experience with a student after sharing their faith with that student, all three panelists said that they had not.
Jana DiCosmo closed the symposium by noting that law students should not feel restricted in what type of law to study or practice, stating, “It’s not what you practice, it’s how you practice that matters.”