Stephen Pfeiffer practices litigation, criminal law, corporate law, environmental law, labor and employment—in other words, all kinds of law. Pfeiffer, a recent Regent University law school grad who practices for a sizeable secular law firm in Hampton Roads, Virginia, says he isn't trying to change the law, but to use it.

"My goal in becoming a lawyer has never been to take on unjust laws," he says. "It is to be able to work with people and demonstrate integrity and excellence. That's how I am going to change the world, by the way I conduct myself."

He recalls one criminal case in which he suspected a client wanted to make an untruthful statement before the court. "I gathered it was not the truth so I called him on it," Pfeiffer says. "I told him, 'I want to know the truth whether it hurts me or helps me. Not only is it against the rules of Virginia [to mislead the court], but as a Christian I can't allow that.'"

Afterwards the client thanked Pfeiffer for his representation, including holding on to the truth. "It was really strange to have an attorney hold me to the truth," the client said, but he was grateful that he had been reminded of what was right.

In civil litigation Pfeiffer sometimes encounters opposing attorneys who use questionable tactics, often just to incite the other attorney's wrath. "We all go to war for our client," Pfeiffer says, "but some are using biological warfare." Pfeiffer says he refuses to fight fire with fire, stopping short of vengeance in the legal process.

Pfeiffer says his faith also precludes him from taking advantage of his clients. "Any civil attorney can find a million frivolous things to file on, but it's almost stealing," he says. "Why file it if it's not going to advance my client's case? It's a big temptation to raise billable hours."

Pfeiffer says his goal is to serve. "Pretty much [with] every case I feel I can help somebody," he says. "People don't come to an attorney unless they need help. For them, it's often the most important issue in their life. I can't always get them to resolve the issue between themselves, but at least I can always be a source of stability and listen to them—to make them feel important because they are important to me. I just try to treat them well.

"I rarely mention that I am a Christian unless someone asks. I had one client who said to me, 'I know you are a Christian.' I said, 'Oh, how is that?' He said, 'I just knew there was something about you, the way you treat me and talk to me.' That was an amazing compliment, and I give the credit to the Lord for using me that way. I really want my actions to speak loudly to people."

Related Elsewhere:

"Redeeming Law," about Christian law schools, accompanied this article.

Other articles on law are available on our website.

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