The Secret to Being a Great Lawyer
Isaac is a graduate of Harvard Law School (Class of 2021) and Fellow with the Program on Biblical Law & Christian Legal Studies. Isaac was a member of the HLS Christian Fellowship group while at Harvard. He will be clerking in Texas for a year, and will then move to DC to do litigation at Ropes & Gray.
“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”
When I was first accepted to Harvard Law School, I was really excited—and I bet the same was true of many of my classmates. Attending Harvard Law School is a prized opportunity because of what doors it can open. And just in general, members of the legal profession (despite the many lawyer jokes out there) are generally considered to be respectable professionals with impressive expertise and abilities. (Of course, the same could be said about a number of specialized professions, but as a law student and soon-to-be lawyer myself, I speak specifically from and about this perspective.)
But, as many do well to realize, getting into law school is not something everyone achieves. It is also not something that each applicant has total control over. Sure, we can work really hard studying for the LSAT (thank goodness that’s over), or pour out our heart into our personal statement. But at the end of the day, I, Isaac Sommers, am blessed in many ways (some blessings of which I am aware of and some of which I am not), and that is why I am where I am today.
Much has been given to me—and much has been given to us, as law students, and as lawyers in general. And Jesus teaches that to whom much is given, much will be required.
Jesus had some very interesting and specific requirements for people who want to pursue greatness—and indeed, pursuing a legal career is a form of pursuing greatness, because it’s a position of power.
“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
He echoed similar sentiments in the Book of John, telling his disciples:
“You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.”
Not everyone will enter a job dedicated to public service, and I think God can use people to bless others through many different kinds of jobs. But we still have a responsibility—a duty, if you will—to give our lives to others, to serve, and to care for the needs of those around us, including to share the Gospel with others when the opportunity presents itself. Just because your particular job is not all about public service does not mean you can’t serve—but it may just mean you need to put more work into finding those opportunities.
James 2:16 reminds us that “If one of you says to [someone in need], ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?”
We owe our fellow human beings—fellow image bearers of God—more than well wishes and good thoughts.
As lawyers, much knowledge and power has been given to us. We have a duty to use that knowledge and power to bless others. So no matter your job, seek out opportunities to serve and to share the love of Christ with others. Serve joyfully and out of a love for the Lord and our fellow human beings. We should not do it to meet a quota or to prove how great we are. Rather, we should strive to follow the example of Jesus Christ, who—by no coincidence—was both the greatest and most powerful man on Earth, and also the greatest servant. We must use the blessings and advantages we have been given to in turn bless those around us.
Much has been given to you and to me. Much will be required. Will we answer the call?