Throughout her distinguished legal career, Judge Patricia West has worked continuously to serve her community and the Commonwealth of Virginia. As a prosecutor, she advocated for children and families. As Secretary of Public Safety she served in Governor George Allen’s Cabinet, and as a judge on the Virginia Beach Circuit Court, she presided over countless civil and criminal cases. As the chief deputy attorney general for the state, West oversaw the day-to-day legal and administrative operations of the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia. Regent University is delighted to welcome Judge West as a Distinguished Professor and Associate Dean of the Schools of Law and Government.
West first forged a relationship with Regent more than a decade ago, when she began serving on the Board of Visitors for the School of Law. Her transition to a full-time position with Regent in 2014 is yet another avenue for her to work with students whom she considers among the “finest legal advocates” in the nation, and she is passionate about preparing students to fulfill the school’s mission: Christian Leadership to Change the World. In her own words, “I always saw Regent as a high-quality law school with a unique purpose. I wanted to be involved with the school because I believe in the mission.”
Even from a very young age, West felt that God placed a calling on her life to pursue a career in law. She was a pioneer in her family as the first one to attend college, let alone pursue a law degree. She graduated with a B.A. and a JD from The College of William & Mary. Despite all of her remarkable accomplishments, West is quick to give God credit for the work He has done through her legal career. “I believe that God called me to law, and I have enjoyed watching His plan unfold in my life,” she explains. Eric Patterson, dean of the Robertson School of Government, says, “Judge West is an example of how God prepares a person for what is next. She faithfully served as a prosecutor, and then a judge, and then in the State Capitol. Successful service led to greater opportunity and influence.”
West has often stated that some of the most fulfilling moments of her career were spent “interacting one-on-one with kids and families” where she was able to individually touch lives.
“In her short time with us, Judge West has shown a deep love for this school — our mission, her colleagues and our students,” says Regent Law Dean Jeffrey Brauch. “I am particularly thankful that our student, aspiring Christian leaders, have the opportunity to spend time with someone who has been such a successful Christian leader in a number of pivotal roles.”
Recounting her journey, West is focused on helping Regent students see themselves as agents of change in a world desperate for genuine leadership. “We need Christian leaders to work in government and in all fields of practice,” she says. “I want to encourage students to be a source of change and to understand that God has strategically ordered their steps. He may open doors; He may close doors. But know that, through it all, God is always directing us towards our life’s work.”
Whether through good breaks or closed doors, He moves us toward our life’s work, if we allow Him to.”