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April 25, 2012

The media generally present a glamorous image of lawyers. LA Law, The Practice, Ally McBeal, Boston Legal, and the rest have shaped that image. But Law and Order is probably closer to the truth.

The “day to day” experience by the majority of lawyers is gritty. Rarely, if ever, does it include corner offices, expense accounts or three hour lunches…let alone trysts with opponents or the judge. Impossible schedules, dictation on planes, staggering caseloads, depositions in airless rooms, traffic and more traffic, missing witnesses, and client meetings in dusty stairwells are more likely.

Add the responsibility for clients’ welfare, the strain of ongoing conflict, worries about money and limited resources, encounters with unethical adversaries, and the real disappointment of loss.

Gradually, this combination takes a toll on even the most hardy and dedicated. If we start feeling entitled to something more grand, reality can become especially irritating. Self-pity creeps in, almost unnoticed.  Or something inside our chests turns to stone.

A Calm Resolve to Wait for the Salvation of God

Truly my soul silently waits for God;
From Him comes my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be greatly moved” (Psalm 62: 1-2).

The struggle is as much internal as external. Our circumstances matter less than our resolve does. Under such withering fire, the attorney in search of glamor or self-aggrandizement will rapidly fade from the scene.

Why then do the rest of us persist? And how do we manage to stay sane?

A Christian would tell you that we were called by God to the profession, and equipped by God for a life in the law.  We look to Him for strength. Justice matters to us. We hunger for it. But when it cannot be achieved in this flawed world, we have the consolation of knowing that a merciful and just God will ultimately balance the scales.



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