Paul L. Caron

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Inazu: Kicking Off The Legal Vocation Fellowship For Early-Career Christian Attorneys

Following up on my previous post, Pepperdine Caruso Law Partners With Legal Vocation Fellowship For Early-Career Attorneys:  John Inazu (Washington University; Google Scholar), Kicking off the Legal Vocation Fellowship:

LVFThis past Thursday, we launched the Legal Vocation Fellowship (LVF). I mentioned LVF in an earlier post discussing the challenges of burnout and mental health in contemporary legal practice. ...

LVF is designed for early-career attorneys seeking to integrate their Christian faith into the practice of law. In a pluralistic society where the sources and values of law and legal practice are contested and contestable, we want to anchor a distinctive community of Christians who desire to love God and love neighbor through their knowledge, understanding, and practice of law.

This practically-oriented 15-month program is led by Christian law faculty and senior practitioners. Our inaugural cohort of 18 mentors and 20 fellows is drawn from five cities: Chicago, Houston, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C. Our core faculty include Rick Garnett of Notre Dame Law School, Ruth Okediji of Harvard Law School, Elizabeth Schiltz of University of St. Thomas Law School, David Skeel of University of Pennsylvania School of Law, and me. In a news story from Notre Dame, Professor Garnett expressed his desire “to help Christian lawyers flourish.” And in Pepperdine’s coverage of LVF—Pepperdine is an LVF sponsor and Pepperdine law professor Jennifer Koh is one of our speakers—Pepperdine’s dean Paul Caron added his shared “commitment to transforming the legal profession for the benefit of all.” ...

LVF seeks to form a community of lawyers influenced more deeply by our Christian faith than by our politics, our social circles, and our consumer lifestyle choices. That means, among other things, we hope to be Christians who are eager to come together with others who have different political views but who are committed to prioritizing their faith in their daily lives as lawyers, citizens, neighbors, and people.

Our focus is multigenerational, multiethnic, and nonpartisan. We hope to equip and inspire early-career attorneys who are looking for community and discernment surrounding the challenges and realities of the career they have chosen in light of their faith commitments. We believe that small cohorts committed to the shared LVF experience will develop bonds that can anchor locally and reach nationally.

Professor Okediji and I led our first session this past Thursday. We focused on Pepperdine law professor Bob Cochran’s 2020 article, “Christian Traditions, Culture, and Law,” published in the Pepperdine Law Review. ...

Whatever faithfulness in this present context looks like, I’m convinced that it must be sufficiently forwarding looking, as it has been throughout the history of the church: bearing witness to the kingdom of God that is fully just, where there are no more tears or pain or lies or abuses of power or hurting the vulnerable. This is a vision of a promised future that reaches back to help us live into our vocational purpose today.

We’ll engage with these themes over the course of the Legal Vocation Fellowship. But we’ll also tackle other dimensions of being Christian lawyers in 2023 America—like finding the right life rhythms within the challenges of legal practice, caring for the people we encounter throughout our days, stewarding power responsibly, and engaging our craft with excellence.

You can learn more about LVF by visiting our website or by watching this overview video.

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