The Blackstone Legal Fellowship is an immersive learning experience that starts with a two week program aimed at unifying law students behind a single goal: using our talents as legal professionals for the glory and honor of God. Through God’s beautiful sovereignty, I was able to attend the Blackstone program this year during a personal season of growth. I do not mean this as merely a season of professional growth, but a season where God was teaching me just how in control He really is, and how my role in His plan is not to draw glory to myself, but to Him.
For this reason, one of my most memorable moments at Blackstone came during one of Jordan Lorence’s daily devotionals. Mr. Lorence, a key member of Alliance Defending Freedom, shared a personal story about when he was advocating for the rights of a small church in New York City to meet in a vacant public school.
New York City policy allowed all other community groups to meet in public schools, but banned worship services. The First Amendment issues in this case were so significant, that many predicted they would be resolved by the Supreme Court. Mr. Lorence saw this case as his opportunity to appear before the prestigious court, emerge victorious, and single-handedly save the congregation as well as many other churches that were meeting in schools and threatened with eviction.
Mr. Lorence was honest in sharing how he has speculated being victorious and receiving much praise. However, what he said next reminded me that we have a God that works in wonderful and sometimes humorous ways. The Supreme Court voted not to hear the case, but a few hours after this announcement, Mayor Bill de Blasio, on his own accord, repealed the policy so that religious groups could now worship and meet freely in public schools like all other community groups. So although the results were the same and the small congregation “won”, Mr. Lorence did not get the glory of arguing before the high court.
God found a way to save Mr. Lorence from his pride, but still have him succeed. When I heard this I was almost moved to tears. My law school journey thus far parallels this story. God is bringing about good things for me, but they are not by my own accord. God is still working to correct the pride I once had, and is teaching me that He is in control of all things, especially regarding what will be of my legal career.
I was worried that when I got to Blackstone we would spend all of our time religiously (pun?) slaving over how we can “crush” or completely dismantle our opponent’s arguments with no regard to the cost. I was pleased to find that there was no reason to be worried. Instead, all of our time was dedicated to equipping us with the tools to properly deploy the talents God gave us in a loving intentional manner. The Blackstone program didn’t just teach us how to argue with people; it taught us how to reason with people. The key difference is love and understanding.
As we were learning when it was appropriate be restrained and when it was appropriate to push a point, we entertained many lessons. Amongst one of the most important lessons we learned was this: Christ is the standard bearer and I fall far short—yet He offers grace and love without compromising his own standards. These are significant truths because it frames how and why we should engage culture to bring about genuine change. Without the work of Christ in our lives, we are absolutely deprived of any morality, law, or motivation to want to bring about change in this world. It is only because of Christ that we have our mission, the Great Commission, and that requires cultural engagement.
Blackstone was an amazing experience for me. For the first time, the biggest thing I had in common with my peers was not law school, but our belief and love of Christ.
Brian M. Trujillo was a 2018 summer intern at Mauck & Baker and a rising 2L at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. Brian graduated summa cum laude from Florida International University Honors College in Miami with a double major in Philosophy and Criminal Justice. Shortly after their wedding, Brian and his wife, moved to Chicago in pursuit of answering God’s calling for their lives. Brian’s goal for his legal career is to utilize it all for the glory of God. While it’s unclear what that looks like, he knows that his opportunity at Mauck & Baker came from God. Brian has an interest in corporate law, bankruptcy law, and constitutional law. He serves on Northwestern Law’s Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property, as Co-President of the Christian Legal Society, Vice President of Marketing for Law Students for Life, and Vice President of Outreach for the Latino Law Students Association.
Posted on Fri, July 27, 2018
by Brittany Booth