The Servant Lawyer: Facing the Challenges of Christian Faith in Everyday Law Practice, By Robert F. Cochran Jr.

The Servant Lawyer

Facing the Challenges of Christian Faith in Everyday Law Practice

by Robert F. Cochran Jr.
Foreword by John Inazu

The Servant Lawyer
  • Length: 240 pages
  • Dimensions: 6 × 9 in
  • Published: February 20, 2024
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: A0722
  • ISBN: 9781514007228

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Most lawyers, from Wall Street to the county seat, spend their days drafting documents, negotiating with other attorneys, trying cases, researching the law, and counseling clients. How does this everyday law practice relate to Jesus' call to follow him in servanthood?

With decades of experience in the law office, courtroom, and classroom, Robert F. Cochran Jr. explores Jesus' call on lawyers to serve both individual clients and the common good. Cochran pulls back the curtain with stories from his own career and from the legal community to address a wide range of challenges posed by law practice, including counseling clients, planning trial tactics, navigating tensions with coworkers, and handling temptations toward cynicism and greed. This honest and accessible book

  • shares wisdom from an experienced practitioner and master teacher
  • addresses real-world situations and relationships experienced by most lawyers
  • charts the way toward a truly Christian practice of everyday law

For students considering a career in law as well as for seasoned attorneys, The Servant Lawyer casts an encouraging vision for how lawyers can love and serve their neighbor in every facet of their work.

"Mark Twain, upon seeing an epitaph reading 'Here lies a good lawyer and a good man,' is said to have remarked, 'Do you think there's room for both of them?' Robert Cochran, in this much-needed book, explains the moral perils facing a good person in the everyday practice of law and offers practical suggestions for overcoming them. Lawyers of all faiths and no faith will find valuable guidance in this wise book."

Mary Ann Glendon, Harvard Law School professor emerita and author of A Nation Under Lawyers

"I have done exciting justice work in Uganda with Bob Cochran and his students over the years. Now he has written a book about the work of the everyday lawyer. Every Christian practicing law faces challenges and temptations, both monumental and mundane. Bob knows these challenges well, and in this book he winsomely shares his wisdom and experience. The unexpected key, he reveals, is service—serving clients, serving the common good, and most of all serving Jesus."

Bob Goff, author of Love Does and Undistracted

"Martin Luther once said, 'Lawyers are bad Christians.' Robert F. Cochran Jr. is proof positive that Luther was completely wrong. This arresting new volume distills Cochran's lifetime of rich scholarship, teaching, and experience on combining the vocation of the lawyer with the calling to love God, neighbor, and self. Lawyers and clients alike will find much to ponder in these sage reflections on how to counsel, negotiate, arbitrate, and litigate responsibly as Christians, and how to render the law a noble profession that serves the common good."

John Witte Jr., Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University

"For an attorney or law student who wants some day-to-day guidance in down-to-earth prose, The Servant Lawyer is the very best resource I've seen, a delightful must-read for nearly everyone in the field. Robert Cochran has done some heavy lifting in the academic and scholarly fields of law and jurisprudence and is esteemed by others in top-notch organizations such as the Christian Legal Society. But here—wow!—he shines, making the work of being a genuinely Christian attorney really practical. Every career area should be so fortunate as to have such a faithful, imaginative, thought-provoking, and truly helpful guide."

Byron Borger, editor and contributor to Serious Dreams: Big Ideas for the Rest of Your Life and owner of Hearts & Minds Bookstore in Dallastown, Pennsylvania

"Robert Cochran has for many years been a teacher, mentor, and inspiration to lawyers seeking to flourish and live integrated lives in the day-to-day life of our learned profession. It is well known that lawyers play many roles, and in this engaging and inviting book, Cochran challenges 'everyday lawyers' to follow Christ's example and to reflect on and embrace the role of servant."

Richard W. Garnett, Paul J. Schierl / Fort Howard Corporation Professor of Law and professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame Law School

"Robert Cochran is an accomplished legal scholar with 'in the trenches' legal practice experience. He brings those two perspectives to bear compellingly in The Servant Lawyer. This excellent work speaks in a winsome voice to lawyers, law students, and others in the legal profession who aspire to apply the Christian ethos of vocational service to the rough and tumble reality of everyday law practice. This is one of the most significant contributions to how Christian lawyers should engage their clients, opponents, and those affected by their actions and advice since Tom Shaffer's On Being a Christian and a Lawyer was published in 1981. Cochran relates interesting real-life stories to enable us to apply the theological principles he draws from the Scriptures. This book is a compelling guide, complete with study questions at the end of each chapter, and should be on the desk of every Christian lawyer."

R. Craig Wood, retired partner, McGuireWoods LLP

Read an Excerpt


Foreword by John Inazu
1. The Client: “This Person God Has Brought into My Life”
2. Lawyers as Builders and Trustees
3. Lawyers as Advocates and Peacemakers
4. Lawyers as Prosecutors and Defense Attorneys
5. Lawyers as Counselors and Colleagues
6. Lawyers as Prophets and Advocates for “The Least of These”
7. The Moral and Spiritual Challenges of Law School and Law Practice
Selected Bibliography
General Index


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Robert Cochran

Robert F. Cochran Jr. is Louis D. Brandeis Professor of Law Emeritus at Pepperdine University and a senior fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia. He is the coauthor or coeditor of ten books, including Agape, Justice, and Law; Law and the Bible; Christian Perspectives on Legal Thought; and Lawyers, Clients, and Moral Responsibility.