Abigail Southerland serves as Senior Litigation Counsel with the ACLJ. She specializes in First Amendment litigation and represents clients across the country in both state and federal courts, from complaint through trial and appeal. Abigail obtained a key victory for religious employers in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. She presented oral argument before the court, securing the first decision issued by a U.S. court of appeals since the Supreme Court’s decision in Hosanna-Tabor, that a religious organization’s right to choose its ministers and spiritual leaders free from federal and state government interference – a protection known as the ministerial exception – is a limitation imposed on the government that cannot be waived. Abigail represents a variety of clients including private individuals, non-profit organizations, school boards and local government bodies. Abigail is a 2007 graduate of Regent University School of Law where she served as Managing Editor of the Regent Journal of International Law and authored a note published in the journal addressing the conflict between First Amendment freedoms and antidiscrimination laws.