Religious Lawyering in a Liberal Democracy: A Challenge and an Invitation
Case Western Reserve Law Review, Vol. 55, pp. 127-160, 2004
35 Pages Posted: 2 May 2005 Last revised: 13 May 2010
Date Written: May 11, 2010
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
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