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First Adventist Attorney Weekend Attracts 50 Lawyers

Story by Cheryl Cathlin
Published 10/27/2011

Bruce Cameron, law professor at Regent University School of Law in Virginia Beach, Va., shares the keynote address at the Sunday evening dinner. 

Some 50 Seventh-day Adventist legal professionals enjoyed fellowship and professional enrichment during the recent inaugural Columbia Union Attorney Weekend. The event was organized by Adventist Lawyers Association (ALA), which “exists to unite and support Adventist lawyers in service to the community and each other.” The general counsel offices of both the General Conference and the Columbia Union Conference sponsored the weekend.

“Other conferences around the country have been hosting events for their attorneys for years, and we are grateful that we were able to kick off an inaugural event for attorneys in the Columbia Union Conference,” said Meki Bracken, ALA co-director.
The weekend started with worship at Potomac Conference’s Sligo church in Takoma Park, Md., where Zack Plantak, PhD, professor of Religion at nearby Washington Adventist University, presented an inspiring message on Romans 8. After the worship service, attendees enjoyed a potluck lunch in the Sligo church fellowship hall while Karnik Doukmetzian, general counsel for the General Conference, shared remarks.  
On Sunday evening, attorneys returned for the Annual ALA Attorney Dinner, held at Potomac’s Beltsville (Md.) church. Attendees included pre-law students from Washington Adventist University. Wally Carson, vice president and general counsel for the Columbia Union, welcomed attendees, and Bruce Cameron, a law professor at Regent University in Virginia Beach, gave the keynote address.
Cameron spoke to attorneys on the topic of “Smarter than a Snake: The Bible, Emotional Intelligence and the Successful Practice of Law.” Cameron—who has spent more than 30 years litigating religious freedom and constitutional law cases in the employment context, including Title VII Religious Accommodation Issues—offered practicing and aspiring attorneys advice on the principles and attitudes that should govern the Christian lawyer’s daily practice.

“This event is a wonderful opportunity for Adventist legal professionals to come together and encourage one another,” commented Brandon Patterson, public defender for Baltimore County, Maryland, and a member of Restoration Praise Center, in Lanham, Md. “We have to continue to support one another with more events like this.” 

Jackson Doggette, general counsel and director of Philanthropy for the Allegheny East Conference; Brandon Patterson, public defender for Baltimore County, Maryland; and Karnik Doukmetzian, general counsel for the General Conference, share a laugh.

From left, Colin Caleb, a member of the Restoration Praise Center and an attorney; Susie John; Stephen Brennwald, partner at Brennwald & Robertson, LLP; and Tangela Russell, a member of the Metropolitan church in Hyattsville, Md., and a recent Howard University Law School graduate