religion, vocation, legal practice, ethics


This Essay argues that while legal work as a vocation may have positive effects for society as a whole, as well as overall benefits for the legal profession, vocation could very well hurt the lawyer "called" to take up such a vocation. A vocation is not simply the application of one's religious belieft to the practice of law; rather, it is a "burning fire" in a lawyer's soul which the lawyer "cannot contain." Thus, a lawyer's vocation becomes an overwhelming priority. Part I of this Essay provides an explanation of the biblical underpinnings of vocation through a discussion of the Hebrew word, dabar. Part II discusses the two skills which lawyers uniquely posses to help them understand the Word of God which any person with a vocation must realize: (1) the ability to use and interpret words and (2) the ability to analyze the world around them. Part III employs the biblical example of Jonah to illustrate that the practice of law as a vocation is a deeply personal and religious event that could be good for God, the common good and public discourse, but not for the individual lawyer. Finally, this Essay concludes that while society indeed reaps the benefits of a lawyer's vocational skills, the very possession of such skills can, at the same time, cause internal distress.

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Religion Law Commons



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