Document Type



This Essay is based on introductory remarks Levine delivered at the inaugural conference of the Pepperdine Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics, "Can the Ordinary Practice of Law be a Religious Calling?," held on February 6-7, 2004 at Pepperdine University School of Law. In thinking about the practice of law as a religious calling, Levine argues that we should first consider the broader issue of the general relevance of religion to various areas of life, including work. From a perspective of Jewish law and ethics, moral conduct comprises an imperative at home and at the workplace no less than at the house of worship. Starting with the Biblical text and spanning thousands of years of legal interpretation and philosophy, Jewish religious thought has addressed not only the apparently sacred, but also the seemingly mundane aspects of human behavior. Levine points out that lawyers may be presented with unique challenges to and, perhaps, corresponding opportunities for, aspirations of spiritual and religious expression and growth. Numerous scholars have documented a growing ethical, psychic, and spiritual crisis in the legal profession, resulting in the emergence of various responses and movements. One of the most promising developments in this area, the "religious lawyering movement," examines the relevance of religion to the practice of law, in the interest of demonstrating that religion may serve to provide lawyers a valuable source of moral and ethical values.