An Au Revoir Tribute to Chief Justice Leroy Rountree Hassell, Sr.

Last week we at Regent University School of Law lost a special friend and an important advocate for our work here – Chief Justice Leroy Rountree Hassell, Sr. Many of us feel as if we lost a dear friend and relative, as God had blessed us dearly with the presence and encouragement of the Chief Justice for more than a decade.

Chief Justice Hassell was Regent University School of Law’s Jurist in Residence. He would visit the law school on a monthly basis, spending a concentrated time here with us each spring semester, teaching, speaking, and conversing with faculty, students, prospective law school candidates, and graduates. He had such a pulse on the life of the law school that the Regent Law Review instituted the annual Hassell Writing Competition, which now takes place each year in honor of the faith and practice principals espoused by the Chief Justice. Furthermore, the Chief Justice routinely hired Regent law graduates year after year, mentoring them, sharing wisdom and expertise with them, and devoting himself to their careers as people called to a mission field in the law. Indeed, more than one clerk would recount that “he was more like a second father than a boss to me.” As we bid him farewell for a time, and lift up prayers for his wife and children and extended family, it is important to honor him for who he was – a man of God.

Jesus Christ was the most important person in his life. That is why he connected himself with Regent Law, and that is why he served the State of Virginia so formidably. Justice Hassell preached the Gospel through his life. As he swore new attorneys into the bar, he would encourage them to serve the indigent community, taking care of the least of these to “love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27.) He would daily talk about how good God was to him, how blessed he was with his wife’s support, how greatly he loved his family, and how honored he was with his work and calling. He also talked about God's goodness during his speeches to attorneys at the Virginia State Bar conference and at almost every public occasion. Attorneys throughout the Commonwealth recognized this, as he was most recently honored by the Virginia Bar Association (VBA) with their Lifetime Achievement Award, and was scheduled to be honored by the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association (VTLA) as the unanimous choice to receive the VTLA Distinguished Service Award at their upcoming “Voice of the People” conference this coming March.

Chief Justice Hassell was a champion for the people, and a victor in eternity. He fought the good fight; he finished the race; and he kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7). Please honor Justice Hassell by viewing his death as an open door to share about God's goodness. In Christ believers have the assurance of eternal security (I John 5:11-13) and the hope of the resurrection to come (John 11:25). The "homecoming" of a beloved friend, advocate and jurist may carry an air of sadness in our loss, but it is an open door to respectfully let people know the hope to which Jesus Christ calls us. Please honor Justice Hassell by letting people know that he is at home with Christ.

I Corinthians 15:5 (NIV) "Where, o death, is your victory? Where, o death, is your sting?"

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