Blackstone Clarifies And Amplifies Legal Students’ Call To Service
Somewhere out there right now — even as you read this — the future is changing.
It’s changing in dozens of states and on five continents . . . in judges’ chambers and non-profit cubicles . . . in legal conferences and Family Policy Councils . . . in legislature committee rooms and government offices . . . in law school lecture halls and media centers and church foyers.
The Blackstone graduates are hard at work.
This is the 12th summer for the Blackstone Legal Fellowship, a unique leadership training program for first- and second-year law students who have discovered, firsthand, how hostile America’s law schools can be not only to people of faith, but to students inclined to believe that our nation’s laws stem from the authority of the U.S. Constitution — and the wisdom of the exceptional men who composed it.
Blackstone students are themselves academically exceptional; many come from the most prestigious law schools in the country. They often arrive having unwittingly embraced much of the propaganda and disinformation continually promoted on their campuses. That deceptive veil is quickly lifted as they obtain crucial insights that will revise their understanding of law and, for most of them, refocus their professional careers and personal faith for the rest of their lives.
Over a two-week period in early summer, hundreds of these attorneys-to-be absorb an intensive scholarly regimen taught by outstanding lawyers, historians, and professors. These instructors enrich the students’ knowledge of constitutional originalism, religious liberty, and various legal issues and systems — while teaching them to integrate their personal faith with a dynamic legal career.
Then, as summer interns, they take their newfound knowledge onto legal battlefields — across the country and around the world — for six weeks of frontline baptism in the cultural crossfires that are shaping what tomorrow will look like in America and abroad.
What they see and hear and experience firsthand there. . . working out their summer internships among countless law firms and legislators, policy groups and nonprofits, pro-life and pro-family organizations . . . changes them.
You can hear it, in their conversations, when they return for a final week of debriefing and training at summer’s end.
"I grew up in a culture that compartmentalized a Christian worldview and a Christian lifestyle," says Anthony Sham, who served his 2007 internship at the Mississippi Center for Public Policy. "Living a Christian life did not require actively engaging or reclaiming culture. This view was flipped upside-down after only nine weeks of association with ADF. I personally feel better-equipped to reclaim our fallen culture in all circumstances — legal or otherwise — that may arise."
"God’s purposes are not achieved when Christians sit idly by and watch culture change around them." Neil Friedrich, 2008 Blackstone Fellow
Alana Hake, who interned in 2006 with Americans United for Life, says Blackstone "renewed my conviction that working for cultural change is not polishing brass on a sinking ship. Victories in the area of pro-life, religious liberty, and family values not only have the potential to preserve individuals’ lives and enable them to hear of salvation, but also to glorify God, as society is reordered bit by bit, according to His design.
"Remembering that there are others who share my worldview," she says, "gives me as much courage to raise my voice as knowing reasoned arguments for truth."
"My time in Europe offered a sobering glimpse of what the United States could become in 10 years if we don’t act now," says Neil Friedrich, who interned in 2008 with a London pro-life group. "God’s purposes are not achieved when Christians sit idly by and watch culture change around them. A reverence for God’s law demands nothing less than our wholehearted efforts to engage the culture and champion the necessity of a Christian worldview."
That’s a lesson more than a thousand Blackstone interns have taken to heart since 2000. The graduates of the early years are already moving into crucial roles as attorneys working nation-shaping cases . . . filling critical posts in state legal and judicial offices . . . writing for influential legal journals . . . serving with proactive nonprofits . . . sharing what they gleaned from Blackstone in classrooms across the country. Soon, this summer’s interns will join them.
Not only do these young people now know more about their calling and the Constitution, they know that they are not alone. Together, they are changing campuses, communities, and a nation’s legal landscape — transforming America and impacting a world, one person, one case at a time.