Spotlight on Christopher Bell, 3L

Christopher Bell, 3L

Q. Where are you from?
A. I grew up in Horseheads, New York, a small town in Upstate New York. My parents moved to Virginia Beach, Virginia in 2000 while I was midway through high school. I graduated from Kempsville High School (5 minutes from Regent), and then attended East Carolina University.

Q. What does becoming a lawyer mean to you?
A. Advocating for those who cannot advocate for themselves. The legal field is nuanced and complicated. Even the simplest legal issues may become nightmares when someone who is untrained and inexperienced attempts to navigate the legal minefield alone.

Q. How did you spend your summer?
A. I have spent the last two summers with the Portsmouth Commonwealth's Attorney's Office in Portsmouth, Virginia. My first summer consisted of writing dozens of appellate briefs and advisory memos. This past summer I was in court every day trying cases with my Third-Year Practice Certificate. I am still working with Portsmouth during the school year.

Q. What do you wish you knew before you started law school?
A. To change your question slightly (if that’s allowed), I wish I read more. Before law school, I only read what was required in school or in daily life, but not for pleasure or for my own edification. Reading is an integral part of the legal profession and it is important to get started early.

Q. What surprised you most about Regent?
A. How accepting the students and faculty are. I probably should have expected as much from a Christian university, but even so, I have been continuously amazed at how caring and compassionate everyone is at Regent. Students and faculty genuinely care about each other here. It is truly amazing.

Q. How is law school different from your college experience?
A. Written exams! My Bachelor’s Degree was not an intensive concentration by any stretch of the imagination. Considering most of my exams were multiple choice, I was not adequately prepared for law school exams. Our Property mid-term 1L year was a big surprise to say the least.

Q. What is your favorite class so far and why?
A. Constitutional Criminal Procedure because it has been the most practical class I have taken so far with the most entertaining hypos. I frequently refer back to my Constitutional Criminal Procedure outline for quick reference while working at the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office. I recently wrote a memo on the four Dunn Factors to determine if the area where a defendant was arrested would be considered curtilage by the court. The next day, the supervising attorney called me into a meeting with the arresting officer so that I could interview the officer to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of our case. My supervising attorney appreciated my insights and trusted my judgment, all thanks to the foundation that was built in that class.

Q. What kind of law do you hope to practice after graduation?
A. Criminal Law. I have always wanted to become a prosecutor and my experience working in the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office has only affirmed my desire. There is a lot more that goes on behind the scenes and outside the courtroom than you would imagine, but I enjoy every moment of it.

Q. How would you describe the group of your closest friends found here at Regent?
A. Diverse. I am constantly amazed at the assortment of backgrounds and experiences that students at Regent possess. I’m friends with students who have come to law school right after college and those who are pursuing their second career. They come from all over the country and even the world. There really is no set profile of what a student at Regent looks like, and I am grateful for that.

Q. How do you prefer to study?
A. It depends. During the semester, I typically study on campus because there are too many distractions at home. When exams hit I hunker down on the reading balcony in the Library.

Q. What is your favorite book of all time and why?
A. For what it is worth, (especially considering I just admitted that I do not read for pleasure very often), my favorite book of all time is The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. It speaks to my pessimistic, snarky, and socially-awkward side.

Q. What is your favorite Bible verse?
A.  Hebrews 12 has become my law school verse. It inspires me to keep up the hard work, run the race, and keep any eye on the finish line.

Q. If you could meet with anyone alive or dead, who would it be and why?
A. I am inspired by stories of successful businessmen who also possessed character. There is something to be said for entrepreneurs who take big risks without cutting corners or shortchanging their values. Professor Lentz occasionally reads from his book It Was Never about the Ketchup: The Life and Leadership Secrets of H. J. Heinz. I would enjoy sitting down with H.J. Heinz to speak with him about his business model and how he juggled the responsibilities of his empire while still genuinely caring about every employee. I believe that the lessons learned from his wisdom would transcend the business world.

Q. If you could have lunch with any faculty member or administrator at Regent who would it be and why?
A. Professor DeGroff and Professor Pfeiffer.  Both are Negotiation professors at Regent and I am currently preparing for the Regional ABA Negotiation Competition in mid-November.  After competing at both the regional and national levels last year, I would appreciate any insight that I could glean from them so that our teams can represent Regent well again this year.

Q. What kinds of extracurricular activities are you involved with?
A. I work with the Portsmouth Commonwealth's Attorney's Office; I am Chairman of The Alternative Dispute Resolution Board (ADR Board); I compete in negotiation competitions with the ADR Board; I work as a graduate assistant; and I am a husband and father.

Q. If you had an entire weekend available, what would you do in the Hampton Roads area?
A. As the father of a three-year-old daughter and a newborn son, I try to spend my free time with my family. A fun-filled Hampton Roads weekend for us would start with a morning at the Norfolk Zoo, lunch via carhop at Doumar’s in Norfolk, and then a breezy afternoon flying kites atop Virginia Beach’s highest point, Mt. Trashmore. For a travel themed second day, we would ride the Tide into downtown Norfolk, pick up the Ferry at Norfolk’s Waterside and make the voyage across the treacherous Elizabeth River into Portsmouth. In Portsmouth, we would enjoy the Children’s Museum of Virginia and stop across the street in the Coffee Shoppe for a latte or Italian soda (they have great wraps and salads too).

Q. Is there anything else you would like your peers or future law students to learn about you?
A. I believe that it is important to live a well-rounded life. That is especially true during our time in law school. I may not be at the top of my class, but I hold my own in the rankings in addition to being heavily involved in school, work, and at home. I do not have any regrets because I have something to show for my time here. So, if you are just starting out, get involved! If you are in the final stretch, keep up the hard work and finish strong!

I would be happy to speak with anyone who has questions about juggling a family life during law school, my experiences with the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, or anything else for that matter. Please feel free to email me at or stop by my office in Robertson Hall Room 252F.

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