Guest / Limited Access /

Bob Cochran came to faith in the early 1970s as a first-year law student at the University of Virginia. His life transformed, the son of a Baptist preacher contemplated leaving law school to go to seminary. At that time, he could imagine no way to express his newfound faith as a lawyer.

Fortunately, Tom Shaffer, a Notre Dame professor who would later write On Being a Christian and a Lawyer, came to Virginia as a visiting professor. A seminar on law and religion met at his home, opening in prayer (Cochran imagined university founder Thomas Jefferson's distress), and ending with beer. Says Cochran: "It was an eye opener." Cochran began to understand how his legal career could be a Christian vocation—an understanding he has spent most of his career developing and passing on to others.

During 25 years teaching at Pepperdine Law School, Cochran has nurtured a growing body of lawyers who believe "Christian lawyer" is no oxymoron. Cochran enthusiastically leads the national Law Professors' Christian Fellowship, writes and edits a growing body of literature on law and religion, directs Pepperdine's Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics (which he founded), and leads a Bible study for law students in his home. The efforts are bearing fruit, at Pepperdine and elsewhere. "Pepperdine has always had a strong Christian emphasis," he says, but in recent years "there's been more thinking about the implications of being a Christian on being a lawyer and on the law."

Until the 1970s, many Americans assumed that they shared a Christian culture, and nowhere was that attitude more pervasive or complacent than in law. Whether in church-related schools or not, law students studied the same basic elements of law set down by Harvard ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedNew Executive Orders on LGBT Discrimination Don't Exempt Religious Orgs
New Executive Orders on LGBT Discrimination Don't Exempt Religious Orgs
(UPDATED) But Obama won't withdraw memo on religious discrimination.
TrendingMeet the Failed Pastor Who Ministers to Other Failed Pastors
Meet the Failed Pastor Who Ministers to Other Failed Pastors
J. R. Briggs sympathizes with church leaders who don't live up to expectations.
Editor's PickThree Views: Would Jesus Hang Out in a Strip Club?
Three Views: Would Jesus Hang Out in a Strip Club?
Testing the boundaries of outreach evangelism.
Comments
Christianity Today
Redeeming Law
hide thisAugust August

In the Magazine

August 2008

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.