Dec 22, 2008
At a legal conference on disability planning I once had a lawyer abruptly confront me and ask, “You see your law practice as some kind of religious thing, don’t you?” He had visited our website at www.lawhesselbaum.com/ and read some of the team bios and quotations. He had seen that a fair number of our employees have expressed their Christian faith by choosing various Bible verses as their favorite quotations.
I am a Christ-follower. Part of what this means is that I hold myself accountable to act in a manner consistent with my beliefs—not always an easy task for any of us, but one towards which I will always strive.
I recently received Ronald Sider’s new book entitled I am Not a Social Activist: Making Jesus the Agenda. Myron Augsburger’s preface praises Mr. Sider as he comments, “We share many convictions, especially believing that to be truly evangelical (sharing the Good News of God’s reconciliation with man through Christ) is to be committed to justice, equity, the poor, the oppressed, to peace, and to non-violence. As a disciple of Christ, an evangelical cannot harm or ignore one for whom Jesus died. In fact, a true evangelical will look at all persons as invited into a faith relationship with our Lord.” Mr. Sider is a modern prophet who serves as a model and spokesman for the holistic view of Christianity which states that both faith and action consistent with the words of the bible are necessary to experience what is called “the abundant life.” I am grateful for Ron Sider’s words and deeds, which have had a profound impact on both the Christian community and on me personally. I aspire to believe and to act in a consistent way with the “way of Christ.”
The book of James in the New Testament of the Christian Bible states that “…faith without works is dead.” Our actions will show (or prove to others) the reality of our faith. People act in accord with what they believe. I believe that we are called to live according to the Golden Rule. Simply put, we are to first love God (recognizing that we are to submit to a “Greater Power”) and second, we are to take the initiative to act in a loving way toward other people (recognizing that serving others is more important than first serving ourselves).
As the lead attorney for Law Elder Law, LLP, my goal is to lead in a manner that inspires respect from our team itself (both employees and consultants), our clients and their families, and our “adversaries” (the hard-working professionals of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, Office of Inspector General, and Department of Human Services, commonly known as the “Medicaid Department”). The bottom line for me is that I must lead and act authentically and consistently with the Golden Rule, to demonstrate both faith and action, and to:
1. Love God; and
2. Act in love to benefit others.
It’s not really a “religious thing” after all. Our law practice is focused on the issues of life, death (whether quick or lingering), disability, health care, caregiver support, estate planning, veterans benefits for the over 65, Medicaid, and healthy spouse survival issues. My work as the lead attorney of Law Elder Law, LLP is a calling to practice law as “faith at work.” This combination of faith and action improves lives on both sides of all of our relationships.
Note: Team members are not required to share my Christian beliefs. However, each member of the team is expected to fulfill the Golden Rule by actions that honor both friend and adversary.
“You don’t have to leave your family a lot of money. You really don’t have to leave them anything.
Just don’t leave them a mess.
Law Hesselbaum has made sure we won’t leave our family with a mess.”
M. C., Client of Law Hesselbaum and Law Elder Law