Trinity Law School History
At its core, our community is shaped by our commitment to the Gospel – the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. We exist to serve Christ by championing a biblical view of human law and government through our students, graduates, faculty, and staff.
In 1980, a trio of Christian leaders – Dr. John Warwick Montgomery, Dr. Harold Lindsell, and Dr. Walter Martin – had a vision for an institution called the Simon Greenleaf School of Law. Their goal was the academic integration of law, human rights, and defense of the Christian faith. Eventually this school was renamed Simon Greenleaf University to reflect broader educational goals.
In 1997, SGU joined Trinity International University and was renamed Trinity Law School. Trinity’s broadly evangelical ethos includes many of the same emphases that accompanied the Law School’s original founding in 1980, including the integration of the Christian faith and other disciplines such as law and the humanities.
Trinity Law School is part of the Trinity International University family of schools. Trinity International University holds to the statement of faith of the Evangelical Free Church of America (adopted June 26, 2008). The Evangelical Free Church of America is an association of autonomous churches united around these theological convictions.
As an institution committed to inerrant Scripture, given by God as our final authority for faith and life, we hold ourselves accountable to it and to each other with regard to these values as we cultivate academic excellence, Christian faithfulness, and lifelong learning.
Preparing students to flourish as attorneys dedicated to advocate for justice, serve the Church, and pursue the truth throughout the world for Christ.
We are here to model and to engender Christ centeredness in all that we do. The lordship of Christ should affect and be evident in every aspect of education, relationship, and endeavor at Trinity.
We value service to the Church because we believe that the Church is God’s central vehicle to accomplish his work in the world. Our vision for serving the Church is a global vision, just as God’s vision for his Church is global. A particular value affecting Trinity’s work is to identify and meet the educational needs of the EFCA.
We seek to be a learning community that operates by the ethics and values of the Kingdom of God. The makeup of the community should be a reflection of the breadth and diversity of the family of God. The way we treat people should be consistent with the morals, justice, compassion, humility, and love of our Lord. Interaction with students should both reflect an attitude of service to them as individuals and take advantage of opportunities for mentoring and modeling and personal development.
We seek to bring faith, life, and learning to bear on the issues facing our world. Our perspective is one of engagement with culture from a Christ-centered and biblically rooted foundation. We are committed to high standards of research, scholarship, thinking, and living as a means of preparing students to engage the world and to respond honestly and earnestly to those in a pluralistic society.
Meet Our Faculty
Trinity Law School Faculty
Dr. Stephen Kennedy
Ph.D, University of Southern California M.Div., Talbot Theological Seminary B.A., University of Southern CaliforniaDr. Stephen Kennedy was a Congressional Fellow in the United States Senate in 1986 and was a speechwriter in the US Department of Health and Human Services for the three years following his fellowship. He has taught at Georgetown University, Concordia University – Irvine, and Fuller Theological Seminary. He is director of the Human Rights Project at the Timothy Center for Sustainable Transformation and an adjunct faculty member at Biola University and Trinity Law School. At Trinity, Dr. Kennedy teaches Jurisprudence and Legal Institutions and Values, as well as the Summer Human Rights Program in Strasbourg, France.
J.D., University of Minnesota B.A., Hamline UniversityLisa A. Runquist, an attorney in Los Angeles, CA, has represented nonprofits for over 35 years. She is the winner of both the Outstanding Lawyer Award and the Vanguard (Lifetime Achievement) Award from ABA Business Law Section, NP Committee. She is the author/editor of Guide to Representing Religious Organizations (2009), The ABC’s of Nonprofits (2005), Nonprofit Resources (2007), as well as serving as ABA Liaison to the ALI/ABA Principles of the Law of Nonprofit Organizations, ABA Advisor to ULC Uniform Unincorporated Nonprofit Association Act (finalized 2008) and to the ULC Model Protection of Charitable Assets Act (finalized 2011). Her spare time is spent with her husband, Mike Savage, and competing with her three standard poodles.
J.D., Trinity Law School
Judge Daniel S. Lopez
J.D., Loyola University of Chicago M.A., Claremont Graduate University B.A., Claremont McKenna CollegeIn 1989, Judge Daniel S. Lopez was first appointed to the East Los Angeles Municipal Court by Governor George Deukmejian. In 1994, Judge Lopez was elevated to the Superior Court by Governor Pete Wilson. He is a graduate of Claremont McKenna College, Claremont Graduate University and Loyola Law School. As an attorney, Judge Lopez worked with the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Orange County Public Defender’s Office, and was in private practice for ten years prior to his appointment to the bench. During the course of his 24 year career as a Superior Court Judge for the County of Los Angeles, Judge Lopez specialized in criminal assignments covering misdemeanor cases, felony matters and juvenile delinquency cases. Judge Lopez has served as a supervising judge at East Los Angeles Court, Pomona Juvenile Court and West Covina Court. Although he officially retired last year, Judge Lopez continues to pursue his passion of working with the youth of the El Monte City School District, where he established their Mock Trial Academy in 2010. Judge Lopez also continues to preside over their monthly sessions of Truancy Court and Teen Court. Most importantly, Judge Lopez has been a member of Trinity Law School’s Adjunct Faculty for almost 20 years, where he teaches Trial Advocacy and Juvenile Law & Procedure. Currently, Judge Lopez is on assignment as a retired judge in the East District of the Los Angeles County Superior Court in the Pomona Courthouse. Judge Lopez is one of eight children born into the Lopez family, where he grew up in the South Gate area of Los Angeles County. He and his wife, Yolanda, have been married for over 40 years and have four adult children and one precious granddaughter.
J.D., Pepperdine Law School
M.A., Trinity Graduate School
B.A., Whittier CollegeKevin Holsclaw served as Acting Assistant Attorney General for Legislation in the United States Department of Justice and formerly served as a Special Assistant Attorney General for the California Department of Justice with the responsibility for development of criminal justice policy for the California Attorney General. He also participated as a member of the Megan’s Law Task Force, the U.S.-Medico Border Task Force, and the National Association of Attorneys General Task Force concerning the Victim’s Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. He is a recipient of an Outstanding Achievement Award from Victims, Families and Survivors of the Oklahoma City Bombing, the Randolph Award, the highest award given by the United States Department of Justice, and the Marvin Award, given each year to the outstanding attorney by the National Association of Attorneys General. Professor Holsclaw also served as Legislative Counsel to Congressman Dan Lungren from 2005-2013 and served as Interim Dean of Trinity Law School in 2001.
J.D., Trinity Law School B.A., California State University, FullertonMichele IronCastle is a solo practitioner in the area of civil litigation. She received her J.D. from Trinity Law School and her B.A. from California State University, Fullerton. Ms. IronCastle’s experience ranges from working at the Christian Legal Aid Office assisting needy clients in Orange County pro bono to practicing law as a sole practitioner. She has served as second chair in an employment trial, resulting in a $477,000 jury verdict for her clients. Additionally, she was an associate attorney in a legal team for the Tijero v. Aaron Brothers class action lawsuit, which settled for $900,000. Ms. IronCastle has done extensive motion work and has argued before the Court of Appeal for her clients. In her free time, she serves as JV manager for the Ice Lions, the JSerra High School ice hockey team, for their 2015-16 season. She was manager for their previous season as well. Before the Ice Lions, Ms. IronCastle was involved as a team manager for the Orange County Hockey Club from 2011 to 2014. She joined the Trinity Law School faculty in 2016.
J.D., University of San Diego School of Law
J.D., Trinity Law School
INSTRUCTOR - CRIMINAL LAW
J.D., Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles
J.D., Western State College of Law
J.D., University of San Diego School of LawKristin is an Adjunct Professor at Trinity Law School and a partner at Nordhoff Bengfort. Kristin is a California Certified Family Law Specialist with nearly 15 years of practice experience. She teaches Community Property and Family Law. Kristin received her J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law. She is a Newport Beach native and is an active presence in her community, with two young children of her own. In addition to being a wife and mother, Kristin serves on the boards of Casa Theresa (a non-profit organization providing services to pregnant women in crisis) and the Lido Island Yacht Club.
Anne Bachle Fifer
JD, University of Michigan Law School
Dr. Thaddeus Williams
AFFILIATE FACULTY MEMBER
Ph.D., Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam M.A., Talbot School of Theology B.A., Biola UniversityDr. Thaddeus Williams began serving the Trinity Law School community in 2013. His Jurisprudence and Legal Institutions and Values courses challenge students to integrate their study of law with the distinctives of a biblical worldview, while meaningfully engaging the various philosophical and political ideologies that shape law and public policy. Professor Williams earned his Ph.D. in Theology with highest honors at the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam, and holds an M.A. in Philosophy of Religion and Ethics from Talbot School of Theology. His books include Love, Freedom, and Evil (Rodopi, 2011), and The Exchange (AIMBooks, 2013), along with multiple articles in peer-reviewed journals, magazines, blogs, and books. He serves as editor of the annual virtue edition of the Journal of Christian Legal Thought, a lecturer for the Blackstone Legal Fellowship, a Senior Fellow of the TruthXChange Thinktank, and a teaching pastor at TerraNova Church. Professor Williams has taught internationally, including Francis Schaeffer’s L’Abri Fellowships in Holland and Switzerland, and currently teaches Systematic Theology at Biola University. He lives in Orange County with his wife and three daughters.
J.D., Howard University School of Law B.A., Whittier CollegeLloyd Tooks is a California native, born and raised in San Diego. Upon graduating from San Diego High School, he attended Whittier College on a football scholarship. After graduating from Whittier College, he attended Howard University School of Law, receiving a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree, cum laude. He was also a member and officer of the Howard Law Journal. After graduation from Howard, Professor Tooks was selected to be a law clerk for the Honorable James M. Carter, Circuit Judge, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. After his one-year clerkship, Professor Tooks was hired as an associate attorney with the then-San Francisco law firm of Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro. After two years with Pillsbury he left to become a founding partner in the Los Angeles law firm of Sanders & Tisdale. Four years later, he began his career as a sole practitioner in San Diego, specializing in federal court litigation concerning employment discrimination and constitutional issues. From 1985 through 2000, Professor Tooks was also a lecturer and trainer for employers regarding employment discrimination law and workplace diversity. Professor Tooks began his career as an adjunct professor of law at Trinity in 1998, teaching the Employment Discrimination Law course. He continues to teach that course while also continuing his federal court litigation practice.
J.D., Chapman University School of LawMeghan O. Taylor teaches Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure. She received her undergraduate degree from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, CA, graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. While at Point Loma she played for the nationally ranked Women’s Volleyball team and studied abroad in Galway, Ireland. In the year prior to attending law school she served in AmeriCorps, the domestic Peace Corps. Professor Taylor attended law school at Chapman University School of Law in Orange, CA where she served on the Executive Board of Chapman’s Journal of Criminal Justice and was a member of the Mock Trial team, winning a National Championship at the American Bar Association’s Arbitration competition. She earned a Juris Doctor degree and passed the California State Bar exam on her first attempt. Professor Taylor clerked with both the Orange County Office of the Public Defender and the San Diego Office of the Public Defender. Prior to opening her own firm, she spent eight years at a prestigious Orange County Criminal Defense firm.
Laurie A. Stewart
J.D., Chapman University School of Law
M.A., Talbot School of Theology
B.A., California State University Fullerton
Professor Laurie Stewart is an Adjunct Professor at Trinity Law School, having taught Legal Research & Writing, Christian ADR, and now Torts. Originally from Iowa, Professor Stewart moved to California to go to college, earning her B.A. from California University Fullerton. In 2003, she graduated from Chapman University School of Law, earning her J.D. degree. While in law school, she served as the Associate Managing Editor for the Nexus Journal, where she also published an article, Reviving Religious Liberty in America 8 Nexus J. Op. 151 (2003) (a historical examination of the First Amendment establishment clause and the original intent of the framers of the United States Constitution). Additionally, Professor Stewart served as the Vice-President of the Christian Legal Society, participated in the Mock Trial competition, was selected as a Dean’s Fellow to teach legal research to first-year law students. After earning her law degree, she worked with Dr. John Eastman, supervising summer Blackstone Fellow students. Most recently, in 2019, Professor Stewart earned her M.A. from Talbot School of Theology. She wrote her Master’s Thesis on “A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Women, Religion & the Law.”
Professor Stewart started practicing law in 2003, first in California, then in Iowa. Her legal practice focused on Civil Litigation, Alternative Dispute Resolution, and Municipal Law. In Iowa, she served as President of Iowa Association of Mediators and on the Council for the ADR Section of the Iowa State Bar Association. Professor Stewart had the privilege of serving on the Iowa Supreme Court Family Law Task Force ADR Work Group. Additionally, she is a Certified Christian Conciliator with the Institute for Christian Conciliation. As a civil litigator, she has represented plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of civil matters, including defending religious liberty and traditional family values. Professor Stewart has worked with several public interest groups, including Alliance Defending Freedom, Pacific Justice Institute, Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, and Center for Individual Freedom. In 2006, she received the C. William Carlson award from Pacific Justice Institute for her “exceptional level of integrity and commitment.” Professor Stewart teaches seminars to universities, colleges, churches, and other groups all over the world on Conflict Resolution, Human Rights, and Christian Apologetics.
Professor Stewart has served on the boards of Women in Apologetics, Iowa Association of Mediators, Marketplace Women of Orange County, Orange County chapter of the Federalist Society, Orange County Women Lawyers, and Camp Berachah. She currently sits on the board of Intelligent Faith and is on the Advisory Board for Christ Transformational Ministries. Professor Stewart and her husband, John Stewart, have three grown daughters and an energetic German Shepherd.