Go to Main Page

Return to Christian Legal Chronicles


SO YOU WANT TO BE A CHRISTIAN LAWYER?

Noble Profession:

The law is a noble profession -- much maligned -- but honorable nevertheless.  It’s up there.  It’s part of the elite three:

1.    Doctors;

2.    Ministers; and

3.    Attorneys.

Helping Profession:

People come to you with problems – difficult legal problems – often tragic situations.  You help people solve those legal problems. 

If you primarily desire to become rich, go to Wall Street (maybe).  If you desire to work your tail off and help people, go into law.  Some attorneys became fabulously wealthy and famous by virtue of their profession.  Statistically, though, many do not.

Hard Work:

It’s a fact: Most lawyers work long and lonely hours.  Some attorneys call the law a “jealous mistress” (because it demands so much of one’s time and energy).

Law School:

At least in California, you are generally required to work your way through three years of law school, and then you must prepare for and pass an arduous three day “Bar Exam”. 

There’s a place for every personality and talent in law.

The law field is as diverse as diverse can be.  You can be a “nerd” type and find legal work that never requires you to set foot in a courtroom (or leave your office!).  You can be a trial lawyer, and the Courtroom will be your second office, your home away from home.  And there’s everything in between.  You’ll want to find your niche. 

You ought to evaluate your strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes.  Born trial lawyers love the courtroom but loathe paperwork.  Others are petrified of the courtroom and find delight in tedious research and grinding out masses of legal documents.   Others enjoy a mix and variety in their practice.

You can work for the government, a big firm, a small law firm, or go solo.  There are so many areas of law, they are too numerous to list.

“How do I maximize my chances for success?”

What I advise is, after you’ve decided what type of law interests you, if you can and as the Lord leads, seek to initially work with the strongest and most skilled lawyer possible.  New lawyers (and many law clerks) are apprentices.  The senior lawyers are (or should be) masters and mentors.  If you train with the best you will, almost by osmosis, gain the practical, strategic, and winning skills and mind sets you need to succeed.  As Jesus said, “a servant is not greater than his master” (John 13:16, 15:20).

“Will I be able to work in a secular law firm environment?”

Working at a secular law firm will, no doubt, have its challenges.  They may ask you to represent someone or a case that you have moral objections to.  You may feel that their billing practices are not a “just weight and measure.” (Deuteronomy 25:15; Proverbs 11:1).  Under the intense pressure of succeeding on a case or billing enough hours, temptations will arise that seek to compromise your Christian ethics of honesty and integrity.  But, if God calls you to that environment, God will teach you to thrive in such unseemly environment as did Joseph in the book of Genesis.

Ah, but, alas, isn’t a “Christian Attorney” an oxymoron?

Definitely…not!  A Christian lawyer is simply a believer in Jesus Christ who practices law.  

All states have laws requiring attorneys to practice with a high standard of ethics.  These ethical rules can be summed up as requiring an attorney to place his client’s interest ahead of his own interests.  Such ethical standard is consistent with the Christian ethic to live unselfishly and serve others. 

Moreover, a lawyer is required to “represent his client zealously, within the bounds of the law.”  A Christian lawyer who seeks to live a life that is led and empowered by the Holy Spirit and guided by Biblical principles will, in fact, represent his client zealously, within the bounds of the law.

For a Christian attorney, the practice of law is both a profession and a ministry.   A born-again lawyer has a tremendous opportunity to serve God.  He or she confidentially learns of people's legal issues and personal struggles.  As a result, he or she can develop a long intercessory prayer list very quickly!  A Christian attorney can encourage his or her believing clients to trust God through the difficult times.   

For those who believe Hollywood's image of lawyers, a born-again attorney has the opportunity to shine Christ's love and light in such dark and cold legal world.  You may recall that Jesus ate with "tax collectors and sinners." 

Can it be difficult at times to maintain Christian purity and integrity in the legal context?  Of course, just as it, likewise, can in virtually every other profession.

Yet, God gives us the grace to victoriously live the Christian life wherever He places us, even if that is in the law office or in the courthouse.

Final thoughts:

A lawyer is both a challenging and rewarding profession. Ultimately, you must seek wisdom and guidance from God as to the career direction He would have you to go.  God promises to give such wisdom to those who ask with a trusting heart (James 1:5-7; Proverbs 3:5-6).  Further, the Bible admonishes us to seek Godly counsel (Psalms 1:1; Proverbs 12:15, 11:14, 15:22).  If God is leading you in this direction, doors should open (Acts 16:26), and you [as well as your believing wife if you’re married] ought to have an inward peace (Colossians 3:15) about your decision.

2008, 2010, 2012, 2013.  All rights reserved.

This article may be linked to but may not be reprinted or redistributed without express written permission of this article's author.

See related article: Can a Christian be a Lawyer?