December 28, 2009
What are you wearing to the law office in 2010?
Here's some timeless fashion advice for Christian lawyers striving to make the ultimate best dressed list, what to put on, what to take off:
Put on: Compassion
Take off: Self-centered "me first" stuff
Put on: Kindness
Take off: Meanness, pettiness, bitchiness, attitude
Put on: Humility
Take off: Pride, fantasies of always being right, bloated self-esteem
Put on: Gentleness
Take off: Arrogance, bossiness, manipulativeness, head-games, control-freak tactics, physical domination, violence
Put on: Patience
Take off: Anger, grudges, bitterness
And the one must-have accessory, the one essential thing to tie your whole look together?
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. - Colossians 3:14 (NIV)
Put on: Love
Which ripped, stained, worn, out-of-style clothes will you pitch from your legal wardrobe in 2010?
December 22, 2009
Call it a mission, a vision, a purpose, a road map, whatever. The name doesn't matter, but having it does. Without a plan for your career as a Christian lawyer, you risk finding yourself lost or spinning in circles of meaninglessness.
The stakes are high. The temptations are strong. So now's the time to invest in some serious prayer and conversation to work out a simple set of parameters to guide you through your Christian legal career in freedom and victory.
A few years ago, I prayerfully developed this vision for myself:
To be a lawyer busily engaged in a unique, highly visible, evangelistic ministry of speaking, teaching, and writing which encourages, equips, and challenges people to incorporate Biblical Christian values and perspectives into their life decisions.
Simple as it sounds, I can't adequately express what a profound and powerful impact this statement has had on my entire life and career. It serves as a filter, to help me weed out all those demands (both the good and the bad) that detract from my core mission, and as a reality check, to force me into positive action.
What helps (or hinders) your vision for life as a Christian lawyer?
December 18, 2009
1. Bankruptcy for Christians Facing Financial Meltdown?
2. Google Gives Glimpse of Legal Struggles Christians Face
3. Good News on the Law: Can President Obama Change the Supreme Court?
4. The Litigation Trap and the Christian Conciliation Alternative: Christianity 9 to 5
5. Good News on the Law: You Can Be a Christian at Work
6. The Madoff Scandal and Three Essential Questions on Wealth
7. Christian Lawyer: Not an Oxymoron
8. Mortgage morality meltdown: Law prof says go ahead, stiff the bank!
9. The Medicaid-Planning Shell Game (full chapter from Believer’s Guide to Legal Issues)
10. Will She or Won’t She? The Prenuptial Blues
What issues do your Christian clients care about?
December 12, 2009
1) I don't know.
2) I was wrong.
3) I'm terrified.
4) I've never done this before.
5) I don't have enough work.
6) Other stuff is more important to me than my legal career.
7) I'm not the smartest person in the room.
Now, go back and read the list again, only this time, say each phrase aloud, in your normal speaking voice. No "saying it in your head" or whispering under your breath. Say the words, like you mean them.
After you've done this, please comment. Not before. If you don't do this, you're not allowed to comment.
What was it like?
December 10, 2009
Avvo's closely watched Top Legal Blogs daily updates a growing master list of 418 blawgs based on moving 30-day averages of their Alexa traffic rankings.
On today's Avvo list, only five of the 22 blawgs of interest for Christian lawyers to which I link under my "Of Counsel" heading on the right sidebar of this blawg are included: Religion Clause - #96; Is There a Lawyer in the Church? - #349 (mine, for non-lawyers); Shark and Shepherd - #352; The Center Blog - #364; and Ninomania - #401. This blawg, The Believer's Guide to Legal Issues, also appears, at #382.
Fellow Christian blawgers, don't hide your light! Avvo provides an email address, email@example.com, for you to inquire about adding your own blawg to the Top Legal Blogs list. Both times I've contacted Avvo to add one of my blawgs, the process was as simple as sending the email and the listing was added within 24 hours.
Are there other blawg ranking sites you find useful?
Other blawgs specially relevant to Christian lawyers I should consider linking here?
December 7, 2009
Political Correctness in the Balance: Law Student Group Gains Supreme Court Review of Alleged Anti-Christian Discrimination by UC Hastings
In Christian Legal Society v. Martinez the district judge ruled in favor of the law school. CLS appealed, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit refused to reverse. CLS then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Today, in a press release issued by its Center for Law & Religious Freedom, CLS announced that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case.
From the Center's press release: “Public universities shouldn’t single out Christian student groups for discrimination. All student groups have the right to associate with people of like-mind and interest,” said Senior Counsel Kim Colby with the CLS Center for Law & Religious Freedom. “We trust the Supreme Court will not allow Hastings to continue to deprive CLS of this right by forcing the group to abandon its identity as a Christian student organization.”
CLS has posted links to the full set of litigation documents and related materials.
Have you encountered anti-Christian bias as a lawyer or law student?
December 6, 2009
I receive the Sabbath as a gift from God, a blessing I've learned to accept with deep gratitude.
For me, this means no legal work on Sundays.
Is this always easy? No. Are there Sundays when the gravity of my upcoming week looms urgently? Yes. Have I ever regretted deferring even the most pressing tasks until Monday morning? No.
I don't see the Sabbath as a legalistic thing. I'm not saying you should be wracked with guilt if you check your office email or ponder a case plan on a Sunday afternoon. I've done that a few times myself. In general though, I've learned not to go there, because it spoils the gift.
Honoring the Sabbath opens the day for worship, learning, serving, family, and just plain pausing to appreciate all God has done. God knows we need this. He tells us we need this. And he gives this to us.
I credit Sabbath-keeping in large part for a 22-year legal career in which I'm still relatively enthusiastic about the practice of law and looking forward to decades more. And I credit Sabbath-keeping in large part for my close relationships with God, my family, and my church family.
How do you embrace the gift of the Sabbath?
December 3, 2009
The law profs have a verdict, but what say you, practicing lawyer? Essential reads for Christian law students
As for me, of the more than 50 impressive titles listed, I've read only six (only five if you don't count the Bible).
Two decades into law practice, I'm to the point where I can barely focus long enough to read an overly wordy blog post. The chances of me reading too many more of the law professor-endorsed essential books are pretty slim. But I still love to read and learn. Even in chunks bigger than 140 characters. And I know many law students still like to read too.
So I'm wondering, what would my fellow practicing Christian lawyers consider essential reads for law students? What are the "must read" books and blogs to help law students successfully integrate their Christian faith with the practice of law?
What reads do you recommend?
December 2, 2009
1. Embrace RISK (like choosing to leave secure but constraining partnership)
2. Exercise DISCRETION (like saying "no" to bad cases and bad clients, where bad is however you define bad)
3. Maintain INTEGRITY (like being the same person in the law office as everywhere else, including home and church)
4. Be INTENTIONAL (like making time for activities and pursuits more important to you than lawyering, no matter what)
5. Humble yourself in PRAYER (like when the challenges you face seem too overwhelming, or you start thinking you can do it all on your own)
What helps keep law practice fun for you?
December 1, 2009
The possible causes are many: pressure, deadlines, competition, burnout, etc. Or maybe it's just CLE?
I opened a promotional mailer today from the good folks at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute (and they really are good folks - I've been privileged to serve on their faculty a couple of times) and was greeted with these uplifting CLE course options:
The Dead Man's Rule
Death and Taxes
Hot Topics in Oil and Gas Law
Seriously, I don't care who you are or how happy you were, if you spent three days attending this trio of seminars, you'd be reaching for the anti-depressants!
What less-than-exhilarating CLE topics are being offered in your jurisdiction?
November 28, 2009
[*statute leaves a blank for insertion of appropriate action, typically "tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth"]
Almighty God, the searcher of all hearts! As I shall answer to God at the last great day! Shocking language in this era of militant political correctness. While some want to make God a fugitive from justice, in reality he's still very much a legal insider.
What evidence of the strong biblical foundation of our American legal system do you encounter in your practice?
November 21, 2009
Lifeline for Law Students: Master List of 155 Christian Fellowship & Christian Legal Society Law School Chapters
Last month, I wrote a post, Future Lawyers: Christian Law School Options, listing eleven law schools which at least purport to honor and uphold a Judeo-Christian worldview in their approach to legal education. But with hundreds of secular law schools enrolling thousands of law students across the U.S., attendance at an institution teaching law from a God-honoring perspective isn't a realistic option for every Christ-following law student.
Fortunately, through the good and diligent ministry of the Christian Legal Society (CLS) and others, more than 150 American law schools have either a law student CLS chapter or some other organized law student Christian fellowship on campus. These faithful bands of fellow-believers provide a lifeline of support, prayer, and encouragement for Christian law students tossed and tumbled in the storms of law school life.
On the lower right sidebar of my blawg, I've posted my updated master list of links to the 155 campus chapters of Christian law student groups I've identified in my research. (Please feel free to offer corrections, updates and additions!)
Law school can be a dark and dangerous place for believers. The light and love of God arising from a Christian legal fellowship can help you overcome the darkness and danger!
November 16, 2009
My question is for Christian believers practicing law. Are you presenting yourself to the public and your peers as a generic lawyer? Are you intentionally making your practice indistinguishable from those of the multitudes of generically secular lawyers? Are you keeping your faith hidden? Or are you boldly offering the full counsel of God, the unique perspective an informed Christian faith brings to the legal realm?
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. - Matthew 13-16 (NIV)
November 10, 2009
Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. — PSALM 127:1
It was a summer night in Philadelphia, July 10, 1998. My knees ached against the concrete as I prayed, wedged between the front of my own folded stadium seat and the seatbacks of the row below.
The space wasn’t designed for prayer. Perfect, maybe, for standing to cheer a touchdown run or a long drive to deep left field, but not an ideal place for a grown man to drop to his knees and pray. Yet there I was, with 40,000 of my brothers in Christ, all kneeling awkwardly but reverently, in silence on the stadium floor.
I had been struggling intensely for almost a year, wrestling with God over a major decision. As the weekend of the Promise Keepers stadium conference approached, I prayed that God would somehow use this event to answer my prayers, to reveal his will to me in a clear, understandable way.
Even on the hundred-mile bus ride to the stadium, I continued to pray that this might be the weekend. Still, I wasn’t prepared for the speed or clarity with which God would speak to me that night in Philadelphia.
It was only the first evening of the two-day conference. The man who asked us to get on our knees was only the first of more than a half dozen speakers lined up for the weekend. And yet, as he led us in those moments of prayer, there it was.
It wasn’t something the speaker said. It wasn’t an audible voice. It wasn’t even phrased as a direct response to the question I’d been wrestling with. But it was totally clear, almost insistent in its clarity. It was the unmistakable voice of God. The words were as thunderous as they were quiet. I had my answer: “YOU KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO.”
I’d been a born-again believer in Jesus Christ for nearly nine years and a practicing lawyer for almost eleven. At first, the two seemed entirely compatible. But as the Holy Spirit steadily cleansed my heart over the years, a tension gradually began to build. By 1997, that tension was maturing into a full-blown spiritual crisis. Could I, as a Christian, continue to make my living in a profession that seemed to embrace a value system entirely contrary to the teachings of Jesus?
So I began to pray and struggle. I was a partner in one of the largest and most well-respected law firms in our county. The men and women I worked with were good, honest, and decent folks. Many were even Christians. The financial compensation was excellent and the future, by all accounts, was secure. But it was a secular firm practicing law from the same worldly perspective as a thousand other firms across the country. Nothing illegal or improper, but certainly no intentional focus on incorporating Christian values into legal practice.
On one hand, I sensed God calling me to do something radical. While I had a good measure of freedom at the law firm, still there were unspoken rules of conformity and a conventional secular approach was expected. The firm was simply not the place to experiment with an entirely new way of practicing law. Further, it wasn’t yet clear to me whether God was actually calling me to become a “Christian lawyer” or if he was, instead, calling me to leave the legal profession altogether for a ministerial vocation.
On the other hand, I had a wife and three young children to support. Did it make sense to put them at economic risk to pursue a somewhat vague and uncertain path? And if I left the law firm, wouldn’t that be taking the easy way out? Shouldn’t I just buck up and try to be a witness for Christ where I was?
The questions kept multiplying. Would leaving the firm be disloyal to my partners? Or would staying on when my heart was elsewhere actually be more disloyal? Was it possible to become an overtly Christian lawyer, or would I merely be trading on the name of Christ for financial gain? Could I even make a living at all as a Christian lawyer? My mind was racing. What did God really want me to do? Many times over I’d convince myself to hold steady on the course, only to find all the questions rushing back within months, or weeks, or even days.
By early 1998, I was beginning to drive my very patient wife and myself to frustration. At some point, she temporarily “banned” me from discussing the topic with her any further, to give us a much needed break. But as the year slipped by and the date for that summer’s Promise Keepers event eased closer, I began to gain a sense of hope that perhaps, at long last, a decision would finally be at hand.
And so it was that I found myself listening to God speak to me that hot July night in Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. The uncertainty and doubt had been instantaneously removed. Thanks be to God, I knew what I had to do. From that night on, it was simply a matter of finding the courage to do it. I would start a Christian law practice.
And when the time was right, God filled me with the courage I needed. There were some inevitable tears and a few heated discussions,but all in all, the transition unfolded as if God’s hand was directing the entire process, which I believe it was. My professional associates conducted themselves with admirable class and integrity, for which I will always remain grateful, and my clients responded with a level of support beyond anything I had imagined possible.
So, in keeping with God’s incomparable sense of humor and timing, I launched my new law practice on April Fools’ Day 1999, sailing faithfully into an unknown realm under the hopeful banner “Practical Counsel—Christian Perspective.”
Over the years since, I have worked and prayed to discover a truly Christian perspective on the law, and to discern biblical principles with practical application to the real-life situations faced by my clients. I have encountered some successes and some failures. Through my own weakness, I have missed many opportunities to glorify God. But in humbling myself before him, I have also been privileged to participate in some miraculous demonstrations of God’s strength and power. Being a sinner, saved only by God’s grace, I expect that the future will hold more of the same.
I offer this book to share some of the things I’ve learned so far. I pray that it will be an encouragement to the body of believers to live out the abundant life God promises. And I pray that it will serve as a warning to help us avoid some of the many traps and snares Satan has set for us in the legal system (a glimpse of hell itself in the minds of many reading this, I am sure!). Although written for nonlawyers, I trust that my fellow attorneys will be enlightened as well. I have encountered too many lawyers who publicly present themselves as Christians, but in practice are virtually indistinguishable from their secular peers. I believe God has something much better in mind for all of us.
May this book be a blessing to you.
Stephen L. Bloom, Esquire
The Believer’s Guide to Legal Issues
Copyright © 2008 by Stephen L. Bloom
Published by Living Ink Books, an imprint of AMG Publishers
6815 Shallowford Rd.
Chattanooga, Tennessee 37421
All rights reserved. Except for brief quotations in printed reviews, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (printed, written, photocopied, visual, electronic, audio, or otherwise) without the prior permission of the publisher.
November 4, 2009
A Christian law student's recent post at Christians in a Legal World asks the blunt question: "Would you put your membership in Christian Legal Society (or any other 'Christian' organization) on your resume?"
Over at Auto Admit, a law school admissions discussion board, a long discussion thread unfolds under the heading: "Is Christian Law Student Association acceptable to put on resume?" A sampling of the counsel offered there: "Anybody who knows what they are about wouldn't think you'd be a good fit for biglaw.You can't make it in biglaw if you're that worried about what God would think."
Is being a born-again Christian believer really a career killer in the legal profession? If so, would you (or do you) suppress your Christian identity to advance your professional success?
Here's the comment I posted at Christians in a Legal World:
"I am convinced that God honors us when we honor him. While there may be costs associated with identifying yourself as a Christian lawyer, there are rewards that far outweigh those costs. You may lose some income potential, maybe even some opportunities for career advancement, but you will gain the joy of living an integrated life, and God will have plenty of unexpected career opportunities of his own for you. Don't hide your faith!"
What about you? How do you reconcile your Christian faith with your legal career?
October 28, 2009
On Making Prominent the Printed Page: Developing a Christian Worldview Through Reading Widely (for Christian lawyers)
I had this [bibliography] as a handout for a workshop done at the October 2009 Christian Legal Society conference in La Jolla, California. What a privilege to sit with a small group of lawyers, judges, jurists and law students and talk about reading as an act of worship, obedience, relevant discipleship and dialogue with the culture. That spells WORD and was the main framework for my remarks about why we need to read seriously. Here, then, are some of the best suggestions I had for this small but serious group.
Byron has now graciously posted his bibliography, On Making Prominent the Printed Page: Developing a Christian Worldview Through Reading Widely (for Christian lawyers), on his BookNotes blog. Enjoy and be blessed.
A personal note: I was greatly honored to see my own humble book, The Believer's Guide to Legal Issues, featured on Byron's list amidst such superior company.
October 22, 2009
Update 10/23/09 - Here are additional schools which appear to meet the criteria of my initial list, as suggested by readers:
University of St. Thomas School of Law (Minnesota)
September 29, 2009
Today, I got the joy and privilege of closing on a radio station purchase for my client, a faithful Christian ministry. For many years, One Heart Ministries leased the broadcast rights for WKBO "The Fortress" 1230AM in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. But for this ministry, owning the station outright was a long-deferred dream. That dream finally became a reality today.
Station president and on-air personality, Pete Hamel (seated), was delighted to pose for a picture with me as he inked the final documents in our law firm conference room. And yes, he gave me an official green light to share the good news of the completed deal on social media!
What fun stuff have you been blessed to participate in as a Christian lawyer?
September 17, 2009
September 10, 2009
The Believer's Guide to Legal Issues on estate planning:
Where Christians need to be careful when it comes to estate planning is in the perspective, or heart attitude, with which we carry out the planning process. Far too many Christians end up falling for the same psychological ploys as the rest of society, creating estate plans based on an unholy combination of fear and greed rather than on principles of wise and constructive planning. And far too many Christians are drawn deeper and deeper into this spirit of fear and greed by an estate-planning industry built largely on selling the illusions of "protection" and "security" to the very people it has just worked quite diligently to frighten.
(excerpt from Chapter 5, "The Estate-Planning Illusion")
August 29, 2009
Your marriage is in trouble. Should you call a lawyer? Or, you're getting married. Should you draft a prenuptial agreement? Lawyer Stephen Bloom examines these issues and more in his book The Believer's Guide to Legal Issues. Read the Crosswalk interview...
August 19, 2009
July 27, 2009
July 8, 2009
June 8, 2009
Before the guy got too far along, I had to tactfully jump in and cut him off. "I'm a Christian lawyer, not necessarily an expert in church law," I explained, "I try to help my clients approach everyday legal situations from a God-honoring biblical perspective, and my book is written for them - regular folks navigating the regular legal system." He was a bit disappointed, I guess. He seemed so anyway, as his conversational zeal quickly evaporated and he wandered off without buying my book.
I tell this story to illustrate a common misperception I encounter among both lawyers and non-lawyers alike. There are an amazing number of people who pigeonhole Christian lawyering, assuming, like my briefly made acquaintance, that a Christian lawyer must be one who handles matters of church law.
While I have nothing but respect for actual church law practitioners, theirs is but one narrow band of the full spectrum of Christian law. The Bible informs and enlightens in virtually every commonly encountered area of law and, in my vision for Christian lawyering at least, the Christian lawyer helps clients reconcile the legal situations they encounter with the relevant biblical wisdom. Christian law transcends church law and every other legal specialty.
May 26, 2009
May 22, 2009
May 9, 2009
You can get a sense of my answer from this short dramatic video spot for my chapter on prenups from The Believer's Guide to Legal Issues...
April 30, 2009
April 24, 2009
April 17, 2009
April 13, 2009
April 6, 2009
I'd highly recommend the book to my fellow attorneys at any time of year, but reading it this week offers us an especially fresh and timely perspective.
April 1, 2009
- Psalm 71:9 (NIV)
Some days in the law office unexpectedly take on an obvious theme. Yesterday was serving the elderly. With a few minor exceptions, my time was spent meeting with, preparing documents for, and corresponding about older folks.
Several were longtime clients, people I've been working with since they weren't elderly at all. My conference with one couple in particular, though, focused my thoughts on the transient nature of this life and the very personal window we lawyers are granted through which to observe the unfolding change. The husband, a jovial man and a brother in the Christian faith, a genuine and well-loved pillar of our community, is now approaching a quite vigorous 90. His dear wife is fading in her health, moving slowly, speaking slowly, but still smiling and radiating kindness.
We addressed the matters at hand in a business-like manner, but it was at the conclusion of our official work that my heart was touched. Our good-bye was long, extended with unexpected words of appreciation and affirmation from my clients. Words offered with a certain tone of urgency and a look in the eyes that suggested an acute awareness that we may not meet again in this world.
March 27, 2009
March 24, 2009
March 16, 2009
Allan D. Sobel, Director of The Adams Center for Law and Society, hosts Justice for All?, a weekly 30 minute talk radio show on WQSU-FM, 89.9, at Susquehanna University. A few months ago, I was Dr. Sobel's guest for an interview exploring what it means to practice Christian lawyering. Click here to listen to the full interview.
March 12, 2009
March 11, 2009
I tackle this question in my latest Good News on the Law column at GoodNewsDaily.net.
March 4, 2009
Excerpted from A Time to Love magazine's new interview with Stephen Bloom. Read the full interview "Christian Lawyer: Not an Oxymoron" in the March 2009 issue at the link above.
February 28, 2009
A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense. - Proverbs 19:11
Are you encouraging your clients to embrace God's counsel and experience the glory of overlooking offenses? Or are you, perhaps by unwitting conformity to secular expectations, misguiding your clients into getting scorched by the heat of revenge?
February 26, 2009
February 21, 2009
From the magazine: "In our litigious society, it’s become a cultural norm for people to turn to lawyers and the courts to settle their conflicts. But when should a Christian litigate? Under what circumstances should we rely on the judicial system to resolve our disputes? And what alternatives, if any, are there for those with legitimate claims? In this pair of chapters from his book The Believer’s Guide to Legal Issues, Stephen Bloom provides some clarifying perspective."
February 18, 2009
February 16, 2009
February 14, 2009
February 10, 2009
The proverbial saying that an “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure” aptly describes the true value of the “practical counsel” the reader will find from Steve Bloom on every page of this helpful book. Best of all, Mr. Bloom’s experienced counsel is not just practical, it is eternal because it soundly rests on the words of God as set forth in Holy Scripture.
Having practiced law for more than thirty years, I find collected in this book just the sort of sage advice I would give to my dearest friend or closest relative. I imagine that if taken to heart this book might save the reader much heartache, not to mention wasted time and unnecessary legal fees.
It is no secret that Christians in America divorce just as often and are involved in more than 4 million lawsuits annually. Indeed, it can be whimsically stated that where two or more Christians are gathered in Jesus’ name there all too often is conflict. Rather than resolve these conflicts within the church, too many Christians are sent to attorneys and courthouses where they never hear the good advice found these pages.
On the other hand, here at the Christian Legal Society we know from the more than 10,000 legal referrals we provide to the public every year, most people do not know how to find a good attorney they can truly trust or how to properly evaluate the moral value of the advice they are receiving from their legal counsel they do retain. A reading of this book will better prepare anyone to wisely retain and best work with their legal counsel.
Mr. Bloom’s wise and Christ-honoring approach to identifying, understanding and responding to the legal problems most commonly faced by Americans today is a useful drink of water for a thirsty church. Best of all, the book sets forth in general terms just the sort of moral considerations that we all should hear and understand before investing considerable time and money in unnecessary legal proceedings that may only serve to kiss our most important relationships good-bye.
Mr. Bloom’s book not only shows folks facing legal problems how to best respond to those problems. It also serves to provide the Christian lawyer or law student with a good example of how they might better advise their clients.
Of course there is no better example of a Christian lawyer than Jesus. 1 John 2:1 says: “If anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense, Jesus Christ the Righteous One.” The “we” John refers to in this passage are people he knew to be followers of Christ, those who by their confession of faith had already “retained” Jesus as their advocate or attorney to represent, defend and even stand in their place before the judgment seat of God. No “client” of Jesus has ever or will ever receive ineffective representation. None of Jesus’ clients have ever lost their case for salvation before the throne of Heaven. Even the guilty thief crucified with Jesus, when he asked Jesus to remember him in heaven, found the dying Jesus to be a caring and effective advocate.
According to Scripture, those who are in eternal torment decided or preferred to represent themselves (or sought some advocate, argument or thing other than Jesus) to make their case for righteousness before an all Holy and Righteous God. None of these are Jesus’ clients. Their unfortunate ends are as predictable as that of the guilty criminal defendant who decides to represent himself and has no one to take his punishment for him.
While it is true that Jesus had some harsh criticisms for the lawyers of his day who were always trying to “oppose him fiercely and besiege him with questions waiting to catch him in something he might say” (Luke 11:53-54), a careful reading of Luke 11:42 demonstrates that Jesus cared about right practice of law and was actually providing a job description for a lawyer who follows God, in contradiction to the legalistic, egocentric, hypocritical lawyers of Jesus’ day. Those lawyers were focusing on trivialities and forgetting justice, truth and fair treatment of others - - characteristics often applied to lawyers today. For Jesus, a Christian lawyer would not forget the “weightier matters of the law”- - justice, mercy and faithfulness (Malachi 23:22).
Take and read this useful book. Whether you are seeking Christian legal counsel or trying to provide it, this book will help you bear in mind the “weightier matters of the law” that Jesus encourages all of us to always remember – justice, mercy and faithfulness.
Samuel B. Casey
Executive Director & CEO
Christian Legal Society
Author's Note: Foreword excerpted from "The Believer's Guide to Legal Issues" (2008, Living Ink Books). Sam Casey concluded his ministry as the Executive Director & CEO of the Christian Legal Society in late 2008, after 14 years of faithful service. He now serves as Executive Vice President & General Counsel at CLS's sister organization, Advocates International.