Practicing as a Christian Lawyer
- Bill Connor
- (Official) From The Desk of Bill Connor
As a Christian attorney, I come to the profession with firm and unchangeable values and beliefs. The Bible is clear on a number of issues lawyers deal with on a daily basis: Marriage, custody, dispute resolution, stewardship of money among others. At the same time, lawyers have taken an oath before God to practice law under the ethics rules. That requires lawyers to zealously represent clients within the law, protect privileged information from clients, and other such duties of advocacy. These rules apply to all lawyers, regardless of religious beliefs, and because all lawyers take that oath, they are all bound. Those rules do not conflict with Christian values and teachings. That being the case, what makes a Christian lawyer different?
I think the first unique attribute of the Christian attorney is in the Christian admonition "In everything, do all for the Glory of God" (Corinthians 10:31). The primary motivation for a Christian lawyer to practice law should be from a calling to the profession for a higher cause. One verse perfectly justifies the higher calling of the Christian lawyer "do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8). Many other similar verses and the admonitions of Romans 13 about justice and the power of the Judge/Magistrate give justification for Christians to act in the role of attorneys and officers of the court.
With clients, a Christian lawyer should go beyond legal advice when appropriate to discuss Christian values to consider, particularly with Christian clients. The Bible tells us God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16) but has provided specific grounds in which it is permissible. In counseling someone considering divorce, the lawyer can make clear he will respect the decision of his client (within the law), but also provide Christian considerations about grounds. This goes the same for other types of disputes, in which Christian advice can help keep within Biblical grounds in handling matters. Romans 13 allows for Christians to take meritorious matters to the Courts, but the Apostle Paul also recommended Christians first attempt to handle disputes among themselves before going to the Courts on certain issues. The Christian lawyer should be looking for ways conflicts can be handled in a Christian manner, particularly for Christian clients.
Lastly, a Christian attorney should be diligent and professional in a case, attempting to do the best for his client within the law. Ephesians 6:7 tells Christians to work hard and well, not to please men but to please God. A Christian attorney should always have in his mind his professionalism and diligence are a witness to the world and to be commended by God. Anything less is not within Christian values.
I am not perfect, but strive to be a good Christian lawyer in all that entails. It's what my clients expect, but more importantly what God expects.