It is no secret that we live in a society that enjoys a good lawyer joke. Everyone seems to love making fun of lawyers — until they find themselves needing one. Similarly, many people suddenly become “lawyers” following the release of a court case decision that they do not agree with. Both of these examples draw attention to the fact that many of us think we understand the legal system and the role of lawyers within it, but do we really? We may find ourselves asking some variation of the following questions. Does society even need lawyers? How do we benefit from them? Is it possible to reconcile Christianity with a legal career?
We do, in fact, need lawyers. Our world has become increasingly litigious, meaning prone to lawsuits. In the past, it seems lawyers were only needed when someone was being sued — the legal system appeared to be much more “reactive.” Today, it has become much more “proactive” — lawyers are at work, doing their jobs, long before we even think we need them.
While lawyers are often pictured as living almost entirely inside the courtroom, this is a fallacy — approximately only two percent of lawsuits filed make it to trial. Lawyers love solving problems before they arise. They seek to resolve issues in a manner that best serves the public good, and they do so through involvement in contracts, estate planning and other areas where law intersects with everyday life. They are invaluable in ensuring society can carry out its day-to-day activities with little to no issues arising.
SERVING THE GREATER GOOD
There is a misconception that lawyers become lawyers in order to make a lot of money. It is just that: a misconception. Most lawyers pursue law because they desire a career committed to serving the greater good; some accomplish this through involvement in individual cases, while others utilize politics and policy-making.
In general, and often among Christians, there can be a notion that pursuing one area of law over another makes one lawyer superior to another. The truth is, being a Christian lawyer has little to do with the type of law you practice and everything to do with how you practice it — with Christlike humility, love, justice, and mercy. Christian lawyers belong in areas like corporate law just as much as they do in areas like public interest law.
Unfortunately, the legal field can be a dark place. However, we have been called to be the light of the world. Why then should we fear the dark? Society needs lawyers, and not just any lawyers, but Christian lawyers who will truly serve the public good.