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Religious Lawyering in a Liberal Democracy: A Challenge and an Invitation

Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 81

Case Western Reserve Law Review, Vol. 55, pp. 127-160, 2004

35 Pages Posted: 2 May 2005 Last revised: 13 May 2010

Russell G. Pearce

Fordham University School of Law

Amelia J. Uelmen

Fordham University School of Law

Date Written: May 11, 2010

Abstract

In the past decade, increasing numbers of lawyers have been turning to religion to find meaning in their work. This article traces the history and development of the "religious lawyering movement," and how it challenges professional images of lawyers as neutral and fungible, or as "hired guns" in the adversarial system. It then discusses how the religious lawyering movement might respond to three common objections: that religion adds nothing to already commonly recognized secular values; that religious lawyers will unfairly impose their views on clients; and that religious approaches to lawyering are dangerous for democracy.

The article proposes an approach to legal practice that both encourages lawyers to draw on the substantive critiques and contributions of their religious traditions, and respects the basic values of liberal democracy. It invites the legal profession to allow room for lawyers to integrate religious values into their professional lives, so that, as Martin Luther King might put it, "the host of heaven and earth might pause to say, here lived great lawyers who did their job well."

Keywords: religious lawyering, religion, lawyers, legal profession, amoral partisan, hired gun, moral counseling, Martin Luther King, Jr., religion in public square, law and religion, religious freedom, legal ethics, religious ethics, Jewish lawyer, Christian lawyer, Catholic lawyer, liberal democracy

Suggested Citation

Pearce, Russell G. and Uelmen, Amelia J., Religious Lawyering in a Liberal Democracy: A Challenge and an Invitation (May 11, 2010). Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 81. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=715206

Russell G. Pearce (Contact Author)

Fordham University School of Law ( email )

140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States
212-636-6834 (Phone)
212-636-6899 (Fax)

Amelia J. Uelmen

Fordham University School of Law ( email )

140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States

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