A young friend who studied in seminary asked me this morning for my advice on his plan to take up law. I said I fully endorse it, and here are my reasons:
First, it is a financially viable profession. Whether a profession is one that can financially support your needs and the needs of your family is an important consideration. The Bible says in I Timothy 5: 8 that “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” In choosing a profession it is not wrong to do so with a view towards how one can fulfill his obligation to provide for his family.
Secondly, it is an influential profession, i.e., lawyers can exert a lot of influence in society either for good or for ill. Many lawyers get to become politicians, legislators, judges, law professors, authors of books, columnists in influential newspapers, conference speakers and business leaders. They get to prosecute or defend significant cases that can change the destiny not only of individuals but of communities, etc. In other words, if you want to make a significant contribution to society being a lawyer can be one way to do precisely that. The Bible says in Jeremiah 29:7 “But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” Many Christians have a tendency to withdraw from the “world” and its concerns, and to live in a world of their own. But that is not our Lord’s teaching. Jesus taught that we are to be in the world though not of the world (John 17:14-18). Yes, Christians are pilgrims on earth, but during their time of exile they are to “seek the good of the city”. And one way to do that is to be a Christian lawyer.
Thirdly, it can be a God-glorifying profession. Some people think the law is not a field where you can earn an honest day’s wage for an honest day’s work, and that an honest lawyer is an oxymoron. I think that depends on the person. Just yesterday a lawyer friend of mine was telling me of a prosecutor who is now a judge. He told me that when this judge was still a prosecutor he was in financially dire straits and would sometimes call my lawyer friend to sell “chorizo” and kitchen utensils. And my lawyer friend out of pity would buy these things from him. This lawyer friend would sometimes have certain documents notarized by this prosecutor and would send money along with the documents as some sort of tip. But this prosecutor (now judge) would always return the money because prosecutors at that time were not allowed to accept payment for documents subscribed under oath before them. My appreciation for this judge grew by leaps and bounds. Formerly I knew him (quite unfairly) to be nothing more than an extremely strict judge. Now I know that he is someone who is living proof that you can glorify God wherever you are – even in the legal profession.
“Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him.” (I Corinthians 7:17)