The Practice of Law As Christian Discipleship

9 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2019 Last revised: 6 Dec 2019

See all articles by Nathan S. Chapman

Nathan S. Chapman

University of Georgia School of Law

Date Written: November 8, 2019


“Can the ordinary practice of law be a religious calling?” In a number of scholarly books and articles, as a teacher, and as a mentor, Robert (Bob) Cochrane has answered this question with a resounding “yes.” This essay, part of a festschrift published in Bob’s honor by the Pepperdine Law Review, engages with his work to propose a framework of Christian ethics for reconceiving the practice of law as a form of Christian discipleship. It argues that Christians should understand the practice of law as participation in government-as judgment, participation that is always fraught with the risks of deceit, injustice, and abuse of power. Christians can nevertheless exercise the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love as they participate in judgment, while trusting that their participation may facilitate those virtues’ further development.

Keywords: Robert Cochran, law and religion, theology, government, God, judgment, practice of law, Christianity, attorneys

JEL Classification: K39

Suggested Citation

Chapman, Nathan S., The Practice of Law As Christian Discipleship (November 8, 2019). Forthcoming, Pepperdine Law Review (solicited paper for a Festschrift for Robert Cochran), University of Georgia School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2019-31, Available at SSRN: or

Nathan S. Chapman (Contact Author)

University of Georgia School of Law ( email )

225 Herty Drive
Athens, GA 30602
United States
(706) 542-5235 (Phone)


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