Image for ICLRS Student Fellow Alexander Alton, Externship in São Paulo, Brazil

Alexander Alton, International Center for Law and Religion Studies Student Fellow, chose to attend J. Reuben Clark Law School because of his interest in religious liberty, both in the United States and abroad. As a 2016 summer fellow and an extern for the area office of legal counsel for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in São Paulo, Brazil, Alex had a wonderful opportunity to learn more about religious liberty first hand. 

Alex’s time in São Paulo involved researching the effects of international law and Brazilian law on the LDS Church’s legal and ecclesiastical affairs in Brazil. Through this research, Alex gained a better understanding of the challenges the LDS Church faces as it interacts with foreign governments. He prepared legal memoranda in both English and Portuguese, and had the opportunities... more

Image for ICLRS Student Fellow Sarah Clifford, Externship in Auckland, New Zealand

As a humanities undergraduate student, ICLRS Student Fellow Sarah Clifford created her own area of emphasis called "world religions". Her focus was to learn about the motivations behind the actions of members of various religions and understand their larger world view. This interest motivated Sarah to apply for the summer externship with the International Center of Law and Religion Studies because "combining my study of the law with my interest in religion seemed like a logical step for me and the fellowship was one of the best ways to do this."

Sarah spent a good part of her summer 2016 as an extern at the Auckland, New Zealand, office of legal counsel for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day... more

Image for ICLRS Student Fellow Nathan Kinghorn, Externship in Lima, Peru

When Nathan Kinghorn left for Lima, Peru in summer 2016 as a student fellow for the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, he was looking forward to returning to his former missionary stomping grounds as well as an opportunity to learn more about the legal work done in the area counsel office of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Nathan had come to BYU law school with a desire to be active on the religious freedom front and he saw this externship as a training ground. What he didn’t expect was the wealth of experience he would be able to draw upon from those he worked with during the externship.

Nate spent a good portion of his time in Lima analyzing and compiling the Visa laws of five South American countries in an effort to make sure that church leaders, employees, and missionaries sent to those countries had the right Visas. Having just completed his first year of law school, Nate didn’t have a... more

Image for ICLRS Student Fellow Benjamin Thornell, Externship in Accra, Ghana

While in West Africa, ICLRS Summer Fellow, Benjamin Thornell, visited a small island village. Living in mud huts and surviving on river water, food from gardens, and their own livestock, the residents of the village had little access to any modern conveniences except for recently installed electricity used primarily to charge large batteries to power lanterns in their homes. Returning to the Accra, Ghana office of legal counsel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Ben‘s very next assignment involved the exact legal methods used by the LDS Church to authorize humanitarian aid to small towns such as the one he had just visited. It was a valuable, hands on experience in the benefits of legal service. 

Benjamin Thornell’s interest in a 2016 summer fellowship with the International Center for Law and Religion Studies was sparked by a desire to better understand... more

Image for ICLRS Student Fellow Shad Larson, Externship in Johannesburg, South Africa

Shad Larson, an International Center for Law and Religion Studies Student Research Fellow, just wrapped up his summer externship with the office of the legal counsel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Johannesburg, South Africa. Shad got involved because of his interest in religious freedom and “the chance to make a positive impact, however small, in the area."

While in Johannesburg, Shad was exposed to a variety of different issues, people, and areas of the law. He was grateful for his BYU Law School experience because it helped him approach problems differently than he would have prior to attending. He learned quickly that words matter and the best way to learn is to ask questions. “It is vital to double check everything you write and submit,” Shad said. “One misspelled or misplaced word can change the meaning of a document.  I also learned... more

Image for ICLRS Student Fellow Joshua Prince, Externship in Moscow, Russia

“Religious freedom and freedom of belief have been aptly described as our first freedoms. The ability to think and worship freely are what make us human,” explains Joshua Prince, a 2016 Student Fellow for the International Center for Law and Religion Studies. “When people are not free to live according to their religion or even their moral compass, that sense of humanity is lost.” 

Prince’s interest in religious freedom was kindled while serving in the Donetsk Ukraine LDS mission. “I became particularly troubled by the hoops that we had to jump through just to be able to practice our religion,” he said. Upon returning home in 2011, Prince began... more

Image for ICLRS Student Fellow Brenden Stuart, Externship in Hong Kong, China

Spending the summer of 2016 working for a legal office is not that unique as far as a summer externship goes. But working for a legal office in Asia for the summer is a unique experience. Brenden Stuart spent his summer in Hong Kong learning more about the legal workings of the area legal counsel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “It is an interesting and unique talking point in an interview,” said Brenden. “There are very few law students who are able to say they travelled to an international location in order to assist in the legal affairs of a religious organization.”

One of Brenden’s responsibilities was to convert the reporting obligations of ecclesiastical leaders when they become aware of the abuse of a child into language and instructions... more

Image for Center Fellow Tara Fitzgerald in the Spotlight - April 2016

As a Summer Fellow for the International Center of Law and Religion Studied for 2014 and twice member of the Center's Student Management Board, Tara Fitzgerald worked at the Office of General Counsel for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah, undertook research and writing projects, and assisted with and attended religious liberty conferences in Washington, D.C. and Oxford, England. An April 2016 graduate of BYU Law School, Fitzgerald believes a law degree was the thing she was "missing" in her life.

After majoring in music education, Fitzgerald spent several years of "exploration and service" in various places and capacities, from serving a mission to teaching... more

Image for ICLRS Student Fellow McKenna Mills, Externship in Moscow

Teaching the laws of men in light of the laws of God is something that applies not only at BYU Law but also in extensions of the BYU Law education all over the world. McKenna Mills, a second-year law student, spent part of her summer 2015 as an extern for the Office of the General Counsel for the European East Area in Moscow, Russia. During her experience, Mills had the opportunity to help plan and prepare a seminar to teach local attorneys more about the fundamental beliefs of the LDS Church. One of the biggest highlights of the experience came when she realized how much she was making a difference.

"I realized that this seminar was more than just educating them about the Church. It could be the first opportunity for many to feel the Spirit and learn of the gospel, and in a professional... more

Image for ICLRS Student Fellow Ian Collins, Externship in Johannesburg

BYU Law student Ian Collins spent a summer 2015 externship in Johannesburg, South Africa, working at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Office of General Counsel for the Africa South East Area.

Because the LDS Church has multiple entities in most of the sub-Saharan African nations along with islands found to the east of Africa such as Madagascar and Mauritius, Ian ensures that they are all registered with their respective governments and that they pay their taxes. This requires corresponding... more

Image for Lauren Ravsten Robins, ICLRS Student Fellow

Working for LDS Church  area legal counsel in Johannesburg, South Africa, during summer 2014 gave BYU Law student Lauren Ravsten the opportunity to apply what she learned during her first year of law school to a variety of assignments. "I have been doing some legal writing, as well as reviewing contracts, and working with property issues," Ravset said. "Pretty much, all of the classes I took my first year have come into practical use in this externship. It is comforting to know that what I am learning in the classroom is applied in real life." BYU Law School's Center of Law and Religious Studies was one of the main reasons Ravsten chose to attend BYU Law School. When this year's round of... more

Image for Ryan Andersen, ICLRS Student Fellow

BYU Law student, Ryan Andersen, became interested in freedom of religion while serving in a Russian-speaking mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He noticed the Church was spending a time and money to comply with government requirements, yet was still restricted. During summer 2014 he had the opportunity to work for the Church’s General Counsel for the Europe East Area. He worked on a variety of projects relating to Church operations in Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan. "This internship felt like a way I could make an important contribution in a place that matters to me," he said. Due to the civil law system in Russia, Andersen was able to learn about a system different than his own. He was, however, able to apply some of his knowledge and... more

Image for Eva Brady, ICLRS Student Fellow

BYU Law Student, Eva Brady, filled an externship with the Area Legal Offices for the LDS Church in Lima, Peru, during summer 2014. "I first heard about this opportunity several years ago as an undergraduate in a pre-law class,” Brady said. “An attorney mentioned his experience interning with the Area Legal Offices for the Church. I went up and talked to him after the class and I have been sold ever since." Brady's work has been primarily focused on divorce laws and laws affecting religious freedom in Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. "I really enjoy the subject matter of what I am working on and feel that the documents that I am preparing will be able to help many people," she said. "I am working with topics that I am passionate about." Arranging her externship through... more

Image for Victoria Chen, ICLRS Student Fellow

BYU Law student Victoria Chen bid on the purchase of theme parks in China as part of her summer 2014 externship with the Chinese firm Zhong Lun. In addition, she taught a legal writing course to first-year students at the Beijing Foreign Studies University. She concluded her summer externship experience in Hong Kong working for the LDS Area Legal Counsel. "I feel that the Law School’s International Center for Law and Religion Studies sets BYU apart from other law schools,” Chen said. “It is one of the reasons I chose to attend BYU Law, I wanted to be part of its international summer program." With the variety of projects Chen has worked on this summer, she has gained additional interest in legal fields such as international... more

Image for Summer Externship in New Zealand: Rachel Snow

Brigham  Young University Law student Rachel Snow reports on the six weeks she spent during summer 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand as a Student Research Fellow for the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, working with the Area Legal Counsel for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Rachel is a summa cum laude graduate of BYU-Idaho, with a BA in art history and minor in English. Before enrolling in laws school she taught English in China and served a mission for the LDS Church in Columbus, Ohio. She has also served for two years leading the Documents Team on the Student Executive Committee for the International Law and Religion Symposium. She is also president of the 2012 BYU Law Trial Advocacy team. In a YouTube video interview Rachel explains the rewards of her externship in Auckland.

Image for Carols in the Commons 2011: Brandon Bastian, Josh Bishop, Kia Hohaia
L-R: Josh Bishop, Brandon Bastian, Kia Hohaia

Three members of the Student Executive Committee for the 2012 International Law and Religion Symposium — Brandon Bastian, Joshua Bishop, and Kia Hohaia — participated in the Law School Choir performance Carols in the Commons in December 2011. Soloist Brandon has served for two years a co-chair of the Symposium Concierge/Hosting team. He was a Student Fellow for the International Center for Law and Religion Studies during summer 2011, working with the Office of General Counsel for the LDS Church in Salt Lake City and leading the student team that contributed to the Center's amicus brief in the landmark US Supreme Court case Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Church and School v. EEOC. Josh has also served on the Executive Committee for two years, as member and... more

Image for Fellowship Helps BYU Law Student Prepare for Work After Graduation

[From the website of the J. Reuben Clark Law School, 11 July 2011]

Elsa Jacobsen is one of ten law students and recent graduates who contributed research to a Supreme Court amicus brief for Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Church and School v. EEOC. Jacobsen gained valuable experience in research throughout her education at BYU Law—from her legal research and writing class to a Law and Religion Fellowship... more