Lawyers share faith, work

The UH Christian Legal Society hosted a luncheon Thursday to assist law students in coping with the pressures and common misperceptions that come with pursuing a career in the law field.

For the last five years, the UH Christian Legal Society has been reaching out to law students on campus in an effort to help them maintain their faith in God and resist succumbing to unethical practices that can develop when practicing law.

A panel of five attorneys advises students on how to balance their time between Christian devotion and studying law.

Justin Hodge, an associate at the Vinson ‘ Elkins LLP law firm, said he understands the struggle between faith and law.

"The practice of law can be overwhelming, but when you put God first, things can really line up," Hodge said. "I’ve done my best to incorporate God into my cases. I’ve seen God actively answer prayers in that regard."

Panelist Catina Haynes, associate at the Fullbright ‘ Jaworski LLP firm, said that students always try to make the most ethical decision.

"I always say, ‘Do your best, and pray about the rest,’" Haynes said. "When you break it down, if your faith is with God, all you can do is your best."

The panelists emphasized the importance Christians must place on having pride in their faith. Mark Jacob, member at the Locke Liddel ‘ Sapp PLLC law firm, was one of the main proponents of Christians having pride in their faith.

"I try to make sure everyone knows that I am a Christian," Jacob said. "We shouldn’t hide the fact that we are Christian. I have never had a problem. We should be bold with our faith."

First-year UH law graduate student Tres Beck, was one of 60 UH law students that attended the luncheon.

"I saw the flier, and it sounded like something I could identify with," Beck said. "Everyone has been really positive about it."

The panelists said that they use their faith quite often at their respective law firms.

"I’ve had several attorneys come up to me looking for help with direction," Haynes said. "Even in a work setting, there are opportunities to minister."

In a career that can be ethically challenging at times, panelist Mike Rigo, member at the Johnson Radcliffe Petrov ‘ Bobbit PLLC firm, said students should not permit greed to drive their decisions.

"Lots of people in the practice are fighting for one more dollar," Rigo said. "I have never skipped church to do something for work. Colleagues respect the fact that we have our priorities."

Thomas Meriwether, third-year law student and president of the UH Chapter Christian Legal Society helped organize the luncheon. Meriwether will coordinate lunch meetings every other Tuesday at noon in front of the law school by the Albertus Magnus statue.

Law students can contact Meriwether via e-mail, at [email protected] with questions.

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