Thursday, May 3, 2012

Resolve to Live And Practice Law As Chief Justice Hassell Did

Chief Justice Leroy Rountree Hassell, Sr., was an amazing example of what it looks like to integrate the Christian faith with the practice of law.  I only had the privilege of hearing him speak once while I was at Regent, but my dear classmate, Ms. Farnaz Farkish, served as his law clerk.  Right before he went to be with the Lord in February 2011, she penned the following resolution which gives you just a glimpse of what this man of God was like as a man, father, and jurist: Resolution: Chief Justice Leroy Rountree Hassell, Sr.

Let us resolve to live and practice law with the same excellence, love, humility and faith that he did!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Critical Importance of Christian Attorney Mentorship

Here is a link to an excellent article on the importance of Christian Attorney Mentorship written by my friend D.L. Morriss who practices for a big firm here in Chicago. This blog is actually a testament to the mentorship that I have received over the years from attorneys in my firm, the Christian Legal Society, and at Regent University School of Law.

If you, as a lawyer or law student, are interested in being mentored/discipled by a Christian attorney in your area, I would encourage you to reach out to the Christian Legal Society at and plug-in to a local chapter.

I would also encourage everyone to check out Regent's own mentoring community:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Power of Prayer in the Practice Of Law

This week I wanted to focus on the power and importance of prayer in the practice of law.

The video above is about a new ministry an attorney friend of mine (Tyler Makepeace) started in Colorado Springs a few years back. In just a few years, they have prayed with over 11,000 people in front of the Colorado Springs courthouse!! What is even more exciting for me is that we are now starting the ministry here in Chicago! (If you want to learn more about the ministry or how you could get involved at a courthouse near you, please let me know.)

Tyler and the folks at Courtside have discovered the power of prayer in the midst of the brokenness that floods in and out of our courts each day.

In my practice and at the Courtside Ministry table in Chicago, I have witnessed first hand how prayer is often the most valuable thing we can offer someone who is broken and mired in legal problems. In almost every area of practice, lawyers confront something or someone that is broken. The "something" could be a contract, a marriage, or the law; the "someone" could be an accused, a victim, a plaintiff or a defendant.

The calling of a lawyer is either to prevent things from breaking, fix or restore what is broken, or do the best with the broken pieces. And often, despite our best efforts, things break, there is no perfect fix, and there appears to be no way of redeeming the broken pieces--at least from a legal perspective. But as Christians, we are given a new perspective, because we serve a God who

Psalm 147:3

... heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Psalm 34:18
... is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

As Christian attorneys (who acknowledge our own sinful brokenness and place our hope in the work of Jesus to make us whole), we are called to look and approach brokenness differently and on a deeper level. In view of the Fall, we know to expect brokenness. In view of Jesus' teaching, we know that our external problems stem from internal brokenness. In view of what Jesus did to heal our brokenness, we of all people should be gracious with the broken people we serve.

And in view of the great commission, we are called to pursue and engage the broken rather than shelter ourselves from them.

Prayer is one, but perhaps the most important, weapon the Christian attorney has at his or her disposal, because it invites God to do what the law is powerless to accomplish!

Please share any testimonies you may have about how you have witnessed the power of prayer at work in your life or in your practice.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Search For "the" Job

Now on to my second lesson from law school, which is very much related to the first.

As a 2L and 3L, I was still having to remind myself that I needed to trust God as my father and believe that He did in fact have a job for me after I got out of law school. The new problem I was having, as graduation was fast approaching and applications needed to go out, was that I didn't trust myself to find "the" job that God had for me.

Since God was calling me to trust him and follow him by faith, I wasn't expecting God to tell me the time and place where I would find this job; I was really doubting my ability to discern God's will and to find "the" job he had for me.

And then I found myself in Professor DeGroff's office. We were meeting to discuss my final independent writing project, but, as was often the case when I met other Regent professors, we also discussed how I was doing personally. In fact, Professor DeGroff seemed just as concerned with how was handling my impending graduation than he was with how I was finishing my project. I am thankful he was.

That afternoon I was feeling overwhelmed by the unknown and the crush of possibilities. I say possibilities, not options, because at that point I had only perused some of the seemingly endless lists of firms, clerkships, and career paths that are supposedly out there for law grads to chase after. I didn't even know where to begin.

So in the midst of my uncertainty and self-doubt I earnestly asked Professor DeGroff, "What if I couldn't find 'the' job God had for me? or worse, what would happen if I applied to the wrong places and took the wrong job?"

And then Professor DeGroff looked at me across his desk and said in his Tom Brokawesque voice, "Game Over."
Yikes! As someone who had played his fair share of Mario growing up, I knew all to well what "Game Over" meant.

But before I could ask him about whether I had any continues left, Professor DeGroff smiled wryly and revealed the intended sarcasm of his response. He then proceeded to remind me about the grace of God which not only accomplished my salvation but as Titus 2 points outs, remains in my life to redeem even my missteps and to continue to correct my course.

There was no "Game Over" with my Heavenly Father just a call to continue to seek after Him and His will. We rarely see Him or His will clearly, but if we set our hearts on Him, He will be faithful to determine our steps (Proverbs 16:9) and correct our missteps.

What a relief!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Message From My Heavenly Father

Before I post about what I have learned about integrating my faith and my law practice, I wanted to take a couple of posts to share a few of the most important lessons I learned while at Regent.

The first and most memorable lesson hit me upside the head during my anxious 2L year.

The second year of law school is generally an anxious time for every law student looking for a job or at least a summer internship. So there I was sitting in class one morning along with fifty to sixty of my job-hunting peers getting ready for one of the many courses I took with Professor Duane. Everyone was settled in and ready for the show to begin. However, before Professor Duane started into whatever announcements, behind-the-back guitar solo, or deep devotional he had for us that morning, a fellow student stood up to introduce the older, non-student sitting next to him. It was his father. He was an attorney. After he was introduced by his son, Professor Duane asked him if he had anything he could share with the class of aspiring lawyers.

He said a few things which I no longer remember and then one thing I will never forget. Looking proudly at his son, he essentially said that he was looking foward to his son's graduation, because he had a job waiting for him when he got out. While I may have considered this father-son moment sweet in any other context, I hated it at that time and in that place. My hate was a sick combination of jealousy, pride, and fear. Who was this kid who thought it was a good idea to bring his father to class? This isn't second grade or show-and-tell. This is law school. How could he be so incosiderate as to invite his dad in to flaunt his job security in front of all us?

I closed my internal diatribe and pity party by saying to myself, "It would be nice to have a father who had a job waiting for me when I got out!"

And then I heard it. That still, small, but unmistakable voice of God speaking to my heart, "Am I not your father? Do you not believe that I have a job waiting for you when you get out?"

I was stunned. All of my animosity left me as I was convicted to the core. In what felt like a split second, God exposed my heart--my lack of trust in Him and my failure to live by faith. As an anxious 2L, I needed that loving reminder from my Heavenly Father.