Spotlight on Joseph Maughon, 3L

Joseph Maughon, 3L
Bryan College (Dayton, TN)
Major: English Literature

Q. Where are you from?
A. Chattanooga, Tennessee, a city whose blend of art culture, outdoor activity, community, food savvy, and technology is nearly miraculous.

Q. How did you spend your summer? 
A. I’m interning with the Culpeper County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office as a summer law clerk. In addition to working with three Regent Law graduates who have graciously acted as both professional and spiritual mentors, I’ve had the privilege of representing the Commonwealth in a variety of criminal cases.

Q. What does becoming a lawyer mean to you? 
A. Becoming a lawyer means working in a system whose goal, though often distorted or poorly sought, is implementing a principle that is actually very well-aligned with my Christian faith: justice. This system also carries room for the opposing force (and the other, equally important heavy emphasis of Christianity) of grace. Non-retributive theories of law allow for the restoration of offenders while also seeking to make victims whole. Becoming a lawyer means having the opportunity to affect this system to better seek and achieve these ends.

Q. What do you wish you knew before you started law school? 
A. How to make quick (and healthy…and non-revolting) meals whose leftovers last a long time. Seriously. Eating healthily takes way too much time when mom’s not around and I’m not on a meal plan. Also, I wish I’d developed a more firm commitment to daily scripture or devotional-reading. It’s too easy to throw that out when balancing time.

Q. What surprised you most about Regent? 
A. I actually continue to be surprised by the staff and faculty’s ceaseless openness, commitment, and hospitality to students. The professors and other school leaders are willing to sacrifice vast amounts of time to serve and help students and make their lives more comfortable in general. They are the polar opposite of the rumored detached, cold, self-important staff and faculty of certain other law schools.

Q. How is law school different from your college experience? 
A. Law school is different in almost every way imaginable. I fancied my college as being rigorous. I knew law school would be a challenge, but did not quite wrap my mind around the level of commitment it requires. A less obvious difference, however, is the importance of “real-life” experience in law school. Learning well an undergraduate field of study does not often require actual experience in that field. In law school, it’s relatively easy to gain knowledge of the law on a theoretical level, but before gaining hands-on experience, that knowledge leads only to an imaginary understanding of the actual workings of the legal world.

Q. What is your favorite class so far and why? 
A. Oddly, after thinking about the question, it would seem that my favorite class is one that almost ruined my law school career and whose content is (to be honest) not very interesting to me: Business Associations. Professor Murray’s teaching style, however, was exceptionally engaging, and he provided his students with real-world application of the law through current news and class activities that brought it well beyond a theoretical level. His devotionals were also honest and relevant.

Q. What kind of law do you hope to practice after graduation? 
A. I hope to practice international criminal law. Specifically, I want to work with an organization combating human trafficking. I should also note that because trafficking in the United States is an increasing problem, I would not be opposed to working on a national level, but the plan with which I came to law school had an international focus. We’ll see where God puts me.

Q. How would you describe the group of your closest friends found here at Regent? 
A. It’s a blessing to have friends like these at law school. In addition to providing spiritual support in times busy and calm, we meet together for occasional meals and other activities. In order to stay sane, it’s important to escape the legal studies bubble, and it’s also important to fellowship with others—obviously, this friend group helps with both.

Q. How do you prefer to study? 
A. I find that I do my best studying very early in the morning (3 or 4am) with a cup of hand-poured coffee and either neoclassical music or electronica (I know, I know) (playing through headphones). Tragically, the fact that I hate waking up early ensures that this happens very rarely. The library always works, too (though that setting is so quiet that I would lose my mind if there were noise for some reason (not that that would ever happen).

Q. What is your favorite book of all time and why? 
A. My favorite book is Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. In addition to unorthodox stylistic choices that set the book apart from other novels, the book deals with questions of morality, worship, modern technology’s effect on the interior life, and the ways in which we define ourselves in a way that is more honest and accurate than any other book I’ve read. The facts that there are hundreds of plotlines and that the story is endearingly absurd (yet believable) are only added value.

Q. What is your favorite Bible verse? 
A. Lamentations 3:22: “Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.” The use of the word “consumed” here speaks strongly to me. The verse’s power, in my mind, stems from the honesty of that word. The verse does not suggest that God’s love means that everything will be okay—it only suggests that in the end, we’ll make it out alive. There’s no suggestion that we won’t be beaten up. Because my (and, I think, the average Christian’s) life experience suggests that getting beaten up a lot in some way or another is the way things are supposed to happen, I consider this to be one of the most hope-inducing verses in the Bible: it gives hope despite the defeat we all experience from time to time. That this hope stems from the fact that we are loved makes the verse extremely touching. (Jeremiah 31:1-6 might tie for this, actually. Its poetic language is incredible.)

Q. If you could meet with anyone alive or dead, who would it be and why? 
A. Job, whom I would like to ask how he remained faithful after God basically made a bet with the devil that put his whole life (except his lifeblood itself) on the table. I know it’s hard enough for me to stay faithful when I’m living comfortably in America.

Q. If you could have lunch with any faculty member or administrator at Regent who would it be and why? 
A. Professor Ching. He’s totally down-to-earth while also being witty and brilliant. Fortunately for incoming students, he sets up (hopefully he still does this) lunches with his 1L classes, so that was an opportunity I had once before.

Q. What kinds of extra-curricular activities are you involved with? 
A. I have the privilege of being president of the university chapter of International Justice Mission, a board member on Law Review, and a student ambassador. I also enjoy weekly informal prayer meetings with a small group of law students.

Q. If you had an entire weekend available, what would you do in the Hampton Roads area? 
A. I’d like to rent or borrow a kayak or canoe and explore an inlet or river, maybe camp for the night on an island if there’s one around. That or try to learn to surf.

Q. Is there anything else you would like your peers or future law students to learn about you? 
A. Anyone who enjoys modern literature, rock climbing, or brewing hand-poured coffee, come talk to me.

Click HERE if you would like to be considered for a similar Q and A feature on this blog.

No comments: