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Today: 02 August 2015


The faith of a lawyer

First published 02 Aug 2015

I became a lawyer because I had a strong sense of justice from an early age. I remember, for example, sitting in a farmhouse as a teenager with my father, listening to his friends (who were tenant farmers) saying how, after working the farm all their lives and erecting new farm buildings and improving others, they were now to retire with little compensation.

I felt outraged, albeit on their behalf, and I wanted to be able to do something for them. I wanted to fight for them and people like them. This sparked my interest in a legal career, and I am now a lawyer with my own practice.

Many of the core values required by the Law Society sit well with being a Christian. I say this because whilst I am a Christian lawyer, many other lawyers are also Christians and I do not want my 'label' to give the impression that I am in some way superior to my colleagues.

When I set up my own firm I chose the Ichthus (fish) symbol as my firm's logo, as an acknowledgement of the help and support I had received from the Lord and fellow Christians, and not as an indication that this somehow made us better. It is a tricky tension; my faith sustains and motivates me in my work, and it makes me a better lawyer, but there are many excellent lawyers who do not share my faith.

So, for example, my Christian beliefs mean that I worship God alone and consider all others equal. I kowtow to no one and think of no one person as superior to another. This enables me to act in the best interest of my clients with complete independence. It does not matter who I am up against. I will do my utmost to achieve what I believe is fair, and no one scares me.

Underlying everything is, of course, absolute integrity. Being honest, dealing in truth and doing everything to the best of my ability are the tools of my trade. This is true for most English lawyers, but for me the crux of the matter is the love of Christ because this is what fires my desire to be an 'enabler'. I want to be someone who helps his clients achieve what is best for them. To help someone with a problem find a solution. To help someone with a burden to let it go. To help someone to fulfil their potential and achieve their legitimate aims.

This seems to me to fit very well with what God does for us. He is very concerned, for example, with justice. Verses like Micah (OT) chapter 6, verse 8, though, show us that he always mixes this with mercy:

"And what does the LORD require of you? 
To act justly and to love mercy 
and to walk humbly with your God."

I strive to be a Christian lawyer. I will serve anyone: Christian or not, rich or poor. I work to my utmost and do not try to impose my faith on my clients... But do take care: if I act for you, you may find yourself being prayed for, as well as being represented! 

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Pray: Father God, we are not all lawyers. But we can stand up for what is right, and we can help and support those who have been wronged. Lord, share with me your great desire for righteousness and justice: help me to take a stand, on behalf of those I know as well as those I do not. Amen.

Think: Most of us would say that justice matters (even hardened criminals want justice when it is they who have been wronged!) - and justice is not a uniquely Christian concept. So what drives each of us, as an individual, to pursue what is right? Is it our conscience, or a code of ethics, or our faith? To what extent do you think your conscience may be influenced by God's Holy Spirit?

Challenge: Consider how you might help those who have no voice, and no resources, but need justice. How about visiting the websites ofAmnesty International, for example; Control Arms (a joint venture by AI, Oxfam and IANSA); Fair Trials International; or one of many other websites which seek justice on behalf of others.

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