A panel from the 2007 J. Reuben Clark Law Society Conference featuring: Robert F. Cochran, Jr., Louis D. Brandeis Professor of Law, Pepperdine University School of Law; W. Cole Durham, Gates University Professor of Law, Director, BYU International Center for Law and Religion Studies, J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU; and Elizabeth Sewell, Associate Director, BYU International Center for Law and Religion Studies, J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU
Joseph I. Bentley
Chair, J. Reuben Clark Law Society International
Joseph I. Bentley is an attorney, graduating from the University of Chicago Law School and is a retired partner in the law firm of Latham and Watkins. He has contributed to the Encyclopedia of Mormonism and co-authored, with Dallin Oaks, an article in BYU Studies entitled "Joseph Smith and Legal Process: In the Wake of the Steamboat Nauvoo."
For the past three years he is serving as a volume editor for the Joseph Smith Papers Project. Bentley is currently Chair of the Council for Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University and International Board Chair of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society. In the Church he served a full-time mission in Argentina and has served as a high councilor, bishop, stake president, and regional representative. For the past decade he has served as Director of LDS Public Affairs for Orange County, California.
Robert Cochran Jr.
Professor Cochran is the co-author of Lawyers, Clients, and Moral Responsibility (West 1994); Cases and Materials on the Rules of the Legal Profession (West 1996); The Counselor-at-Law: A Collaborative Approach to Client Interviewing and Counseling (LEXIS Law Publishing 1999); Christian Perspectives on Legal Thought (Yale University Press 2001); and Law and Community: The Case of Torts (Rowman and Littlefield 2003).
He is the founder of Pepperdine's Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics.
A 1994-95 and 1997-98 Rick J. Caruso Research Fellow, Professor Cochran teaches Torts, Legal Ethics, Religion and Law, Alternative Dispute Resolution, and Family Law. "I teach because I think that truth is important. My hope is that, in interaction with my students, we will discover the truth," he says.
After graduating from law school, Professor Cochran clerked for the Honorable John A. Field, Jr., United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He went on to practice with the firm of Boyle and Bain of Charlottesville, Virginia, and has been a visiting professor at T.C. Williams School of Law, University of Richmond, and Wake Forest University School of Law.
W. Cole Durham Jr.
W. Cole Durham, Jr. is the director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University. Multiple honors have come to him as director of the Center, including a university professorship, appointment as co-chair of the OSCE Advisory Panel of Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief, and service as vice president of the International Academy for Freedom of Religion and Belief.
A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Professor Durham has been heavily involved in comparative constitutional law and church-state relations throughout his career. He has published widely on Comparative Law, currently serves as the chair of both the Comparative Law Section and the Law and Religion Section of the American Association of Law Schools, and is a member of several U.S. and international advisory boards dealing with religious freedom and church-state relations.
Elizabeth A. Sewell
Professor Sewell is the Associate Director of the BYU International Center for Law and Religion Studies. She received her B.A. in 1994 from Brigham Young University, graduating magna cum laude, with University Honors, and gave the student commencement speech. She received her J.D. in 1997 from the J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU, graduating summa cum laude and Order of the Coif. She also served as Editor-in-chief of the BYU Law Review.
Professor Sewell clerked for the Honorable J. Clifford Wallace of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from 1997 to 1998. She then practiced with Mayer, Brown & Platt in Washington, D.C. from 1998 to 2000. In 2000, she joined the faculty of the J. Reuben Clark Law School, where she teaches comparative constitutional law.