A college student at my church once approached me after a service and asked, “Do you think it’s possible to be a Christian and a lawyer?”
I think I masked the offense I felt pretty well.
While his question was fairly general considering the vast types of law practices there are, I understood the thrust of his question —which I knew was colored largely by Hollywood. Attorneys on television and in movies, as we all know, are often painted as morally questionable characters whose poor moral choices catch up with them.
These moral judgments by filmmakers (The Firm) and TV producers (Boston Legal, Damages) about the [im]morality of lawyers are trite characterizations of the worst among the legal community. But the underlying reality is that lawyers do face a lot of moral questions and quagmires in their careers. Even the most careful attorney could end up being snared by a lapse of judgment that results in a conflict of interest and possible ethics violations. This is why lawyers have more stringent (and detailed) ethics rules and character-and-fitness qualifications than most fields.
This is also why it is important for Christian attorneys to surround themselves with other Christian attorneys, and not just in Bible studies or networking groups. Bible studies are (hopefully) edifying times focusing on the Word and perhaps some prayer time. Different studies may focus on one aspect or another of the Christian life, but generally, the focus is on the private lives of the participants — their roles as parents, spouses, sons and daughters, friends. Personal study time is invaluable as one-on-one connection with our Heavenly Father. And networking groups tend to focus on, well, networking. Few and far between are communities that take the meta-inquiry implicit in Bible studies, small groups, personal devotions, and personal quiet time — How should we then live? — and ask it about our work lives.
This is where DIFW Vocation Groups come in. In a Vocation Group, lawyers, architects, businesspeople, teachers, artists, and others can talk about the unique aspects of their vocations experienced on a daily basis. The Law Vocation Groups allow Christian attorneys to examine their practices in light of Scripture, the lawyers in Scripture, and continue to keep biblical principles at the forefront of their minds as they carry out their practice. I have found this camaraderie extremely valuable in my own practice, and I would recommend it to any Christian attorney.
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This post was published January 25, 2016
Alex Wenzel lives in Englewood with his wife Shana, and their two children, Brooklyn (2) and Jack (0). Since graduating from the University of Denver Law School in 2012, Alex has practiced law at Burns, Figa & Will, P.C. in Greenwood Village in the fields of oil & gas, corporate law, and real estate.