Testimonies

 

Alana Hake, Blackstone Legal Fellowship 2006

Alana graduated from Washington University with her JD in 2008 and was on the Washington University Law Review. She completed her Blackstone Legal Fellowship field internship with Americans United for Life. Alana clerked for Judge Sidney Fitzwater at the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas. Since 2009, she has been an associate with Lewis and Roca LLP in Arizona.
“The Blackstone Legal Fellowship 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 gives me as much courage to raise my voice as knowing reasoned arguments for truth. Blackstone was a wonderful summer, a time of wonderful memories and deep learning.”

Anthony Sham, Blackstone Legal Fellowship 2007

A 2008 Baylor University graduate, Tony is a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy JAG Corps. In his position with JAG, he served for three years as a defense attorney.  He deployed to Afghanistan in 2012 and looks forward to continuing to serve his country through the JAG Corps for many years to come.

“I grew up in a culture that compartmentalized a Christian worldview and a Christian lifestyle; living a Christian life did not require actively engaging or reclaiming culture. This view was flipped upside-down after only 9 weeks of association with Alliance Defending Freedom.  I personally feel better-equipped to reclaim our fallen culture in all circumstances (legal or otherwise) that may arise.”

Evan Baehr, Blackstone Legal Fellowship 2007

Evan became a Blackstone Legal Fellowship intern in 2007 while attending Yale Law School. He served at the Beckett Fund during his Phase II internship before deciding to transfer from Yale to Harvard to pursue a graduate degree in business. While at Yale, Evan was the Director of the Yale Forum on Faith and Politics. Evan is currently an entrepreneur with three companies, one of which is a consulting firm for prospective Ivy League students.

“The Blackstone Legal Fellowship, through its lectures, discussions, and reading materials, revealed to me a cohesiveness and integration of the Christian worldview—philosophy, theology, and political theory—that I had previously not understood.  It lucidly presented the coherence of apologetics, theology, exegesis, history, legal philosophy, and political advocacy.  These subject areas are not best imagined as a stone with many facets, but rather as a rug woven of many colors of thread: its integrated whole would not be complete without the contribution of each independent strand.  While I had previously understood each unique strand, Blackstone wove them together.”

Anna Franzonello, Blackstone Legal Fellowship 2007

In 2009, Anna graduated from the University of Notre Dame, where she served as the president of the Federalist Society. She interned with Family Research Council during her 2007 Blackstone Legal Fellowship summer. Anna has served as staff counsel with Americans United for Life since 2009.

“The first two weeks in Phoenix were intense.  The lectures were invigorating and I often found myself saying, “I wish I had heard this before I took Con Law!”  The topics were diverse, yet all connected.  Phase 1 unveiled the scale of the attack against truth, and through awesome presenters, also gave the battle plan and weapons necessary to fight back. Yet, it was more than just the information that was presented that has prepared me.  The people that I met, the relationships that I formed, are ones that I could not have just reading the books, or attending any lecture.  Living, eating, studying with the other fellows for two weeks, I formed friendships that are vital for the years to come.  Not only do I know I’m not alone, but I really know the people who are on my team.”

James Pavisian, Blackstone Legal Fellowship 2007

In 2009, James graduated from Washburn University, where he was a staff member of the Washburn Law Journal, and had his note, The Case for Human Ingenuity: How Adderall Has Sullied the Game, published in 2009.  He also filled the roles of treasurer and secretary of the Christian Legal Society.  Currently, James works for the Parmele Law Firm in Kansas.

“Before participating in the Blackstone Legal Fellowship, I was sitting on the fence on a lot of important issues such as abortion and same-sex “marriage.”  As a Christian, I believed that both abortion and same-sex “marriage” were wrong, but as a future lawyer I was not equipped to justify my belief through case law, history, and sound public policy arguments.”

Neil Friedrich, Blackstone Legal Fellowship 2008

Neil participated in Blackstone Legal Fellowship in 2008, serving his Phase II internship at Comment on Reproductive Ethics with Countess Quintavalle in the United Kingdom. As a student at Wake Forest University, Neil was an editor on Law Review, and served on the leadership board of Christian Legal Society. Currently, Neil is with The Webb Law Firm in Pennsylvania.

“Living in America, coming from an agnostic household, growing up in a mainline denomination – it is easy to become desensitized by recent cultural changes.  For a long time, I believed that these changes were inevitable.  While I would never alter my beliefs to better reflect cultural norms, I wasn’t too interested in changing the norms either.  The Blackstone Legal Fellowship reminded me that God created man to live according to His law, current cultural norms fail to reflect that law, and living contrary to God’s law is bondage.

“This summer, I had the opportunity to see a nation and a people who have pulled even farther away from God’s law than the United States.  My time in Europe offered a sobering glimpse of what the United States could become in 10 years if we don’t act now.  At the beginning of the summer, I might have accepted that some cultural change was inevitable, but not all that bad – by August, I realized that small changes over time become great.

“Blackstone Legal Fellowship reminded me that 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 whole-hearted efforts to engage the culture and champion the necessity of a Christian worldview.”

Aaron Baker, Blackstone Legal Fellowship 2008

During his internship with Blackstone Legal Fellowship in 2008, Aaron had the opportunity to work with Indiana Family Institute. As a student, he served as vice president of Federalist Society, president of Christian Legal Society, a member of Law Review, and an intern for Congressman Mike Pence on Capitol Hill. Aaron currently works with the Law Office of Stephen Keister.

“Having been a Blackstone Legal Fellowship intern, I am better equipped to deftly dodge dangerous ideas that are not Christ-centered with humility and wisdom. I am grateful to have seen the demonstration of a thought-process that connects dangerous ideas to disastrous consequences. There has been an awakening of cognitive processes within me that is similar to a liberal education: the freedom of coming fully alive. The result of this is becoming more attuned with events around me and their implications, knowing how to better deal with those whom I disagree, while having the hope that comes with knowing that Christ’s Truth will never fail or be defeated.  It is these attitudes and practices that I will use in recovering the rule of law in America.”

Carman Leone, Blackstone Legal Fellowship 2008

Carman was welcomed as a Blackstone intern in 2008, filling his internship role in Rome. He graduated from Villanova University in 2010.  In addition to serving as president of the Christian Legal Society, Carman wrote for the Journal of Social Catholic Thought, and participated on the Moot Court Board.  Carman is now serving with the US Air Force Jag Corp.

“My participation this summer has lit a fire within my heart to take back the legal and moral ground in the judiciary that has been lost in recent years.  Lawyers and supporters of all Christian denominations must unite, just as the Blackstone Legal Fellowship Class of 2008 has united this past summer, by overlooking denominational differences and focusing on the orthodoxy of our Christendom in order to win back the rule of law.”

Calvin Liang, Blackstone Legal Fellowship 2008

Calvin graduated with his law degree from the London School of Economics in 2009. During his time at law school, he established a Lawyer’s Christian Fellowship on his campus. In 2008, Calvin interned with Alliance Defending Freedom in Arizona as a part of his Blackstone Legal Fellowship experience. He went on to get his LLB degree from the London School of Economics in 2009, and is currently serving in a clerkship with the Singapore Supreme Court.

“My participation in the Blackstone Legal Fellowship has inspired me to fearlessly declare the Christian worldview in the public square. Where previously I had considered the retreat of Christian values as inevitable, I have developed a greater realization that the Truth is indivisible and must impact every area of our lives.”