What is a Christian Attorney?
This blog is a bit different than others because it isn’t directly related to any specific Texas law.
Being a Christian, and being an attorney, are not mutually exclusive roles; despite all of the negative stereotypes that we see on TV and in Movies. I didn’t always know this.
A Christian attorney is an attorney who is a Christian. Sounds simple, right?
Unfortunately, it isn’t quite so simple. You see, TV/Movies portray attorneys as greedy opportunists that take advantage of people, lie, cheat, and generally engage in unethical behavior.
Faith Before Trial
I try not to press my faith onto clients against their will. It is usually the client that reveals their faith first, and when they do, I share how my faith helps me to be a better attorney.
I honestly cannot count the number of times that I’ve had the following conversation,
Client: “I really want to win this case.”
Me: “Do you truly believe that He has a plan for each of us?”
Me: “Well so do I. Although I don’t know if His plan is for us to win this case, I know that if we are supposed to win this case, then we will win, and if we aren’t, then it doesn’t matter what I do, we’re not going to win.”
Client: “I never really thought about it that way. I suppose you’re right.”
How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.”
—See James 4:13
Merely a Steward
A steward is someone who is tasked with caring for the property of another.
Some attorneys think that they have the power to influence cases, sway juries, and convince judges. As a Christian attorney, I believe that we are merely stewards of these abilities that are granted to us by Him. If we aren’t managing these abilities correctly, then He will swiftly take them away and give them to someone that will.
Christian Doesn’t Mean Weak
Like I said, I didn’t always know that being a Christian and being an attorney weren’t mutually exclusive. Somehow, I was under the impression that being a good Christian was at polar opposites of being a good attorney.
In law school one of the most respected attorneys in the country, Mark Lanier, came to speak at a lunch for the Christian Legal Society. During his talk, he openly discussed his faith and how it made him a better attorney.
I finally realized that attorneys can be strong advocates for their clients, without trading in their Christian values. In fact, these values make attorneys even stronger advocates for their clients because it provides the strength to fight in the face of overwhelming odds.
Sometimes, it is also this faith that helps a client to accept the outcome of a case that they cannot understand.
Christian Doesn’t Mean “Only Represent Christians”
Not everyone in our community is Christian. Our community is comprised of many different religions, as well as those who have no religion at all. Being a Christian attorney doesn’t mean that the attorney only represents Christians.
For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
—See Galatians 5:14
Every Christian has heard these words, and often we find it difficult to live by them. If we were to refuse to represent non-Christians, then we would openly defy this one command.
This also means that we aren’t allowed to refuse to represent those in our society who have committed sins; despite how terrible our community views those sins. As a Christian, we know that Jesus lived a perfect life and then died a sinners death in order to save us from our sins.
In essence, we may not always agree with our clients’ position, but as advocates of the law, we represent those clients to the best of our ability. Jesus hasn’t turned away from us, despite our sin; therefore, we cannot turn away from clients in their hour of need.
Maybe a Little Too Personal
I know that this blog is a little different than our normal posts, and a little more personal than usual; but our firm tends to be a little more personal anyway. I imagine that most people won’t read this far, but if you have I truly thank you.
Matthew Harris Law, PLLC – Civil Litigation Division
1001 Main Street, Suite 200, Lubbock, Texas, 79401-3309
Tel: (806) 702-4852 | Fax: (800) 985-9479