“How can you do that kind of work?” I look at and listen to the questioner intently for the cues, how much emphasis and on which word. Is the questioner’s face one of sympathy or of horror? These cues, along with my mood at that moment, determine my answer. “It is the most morally pure work a lawyer can do, to save a human life,” I say. Or “The clients get you through it, along with their family and friends.” Or I just smile. Perhaps the more authentic answer to the question would be . . . “I can relate,” but that answer would require too much explanation.
I never planned on being a lawyer. In high-school, I “walked the aisle” of my Baptist church and dedicated my life to “full-time Christian ministry.” I wasn’t sure what kind of ministry, but I was committed to following my calling. I had good grades in school, but was shy, with a serious fear of public speaking. Shaped by a variety of experiences in my young life, I was prepared to be brave, face my fears, and lay down my life if that is what it took to serve God.