October 23, 2013 Articles

Book Review: Gospel Justice

A successful lawyer gives up everything to fight for access to justice.

By Jonathan J. Tofilon

Bruce D. Strom
Gospel Justice: Joining Together to Provide Help & Hope for Those Oppressed by Legal Injustice
Moody Publishers

In his new book, Gospel Justice, Bruce Strom seeks to explain why a successful attorney would abandon his law practice to provide access to justice for the poor, and, in the process, join the ranks of the poor himself. “I was poor and I felt poor” he writes, as overnight Strom went from the top of the legal world as a highly sought attorney to what he perceived to be the bottom as an invisible poverty lawyer. Throughout his book, Strom is coming to terms with this life-changing decision, dispelling his own doubts, and lamenting his own misgivings about the poor as he recounts the defining experiences that jolted him out of apathy. Today, as a lawyer who has spent countless hours investing in the poor and wrestling with the thieves and complex systems that oppress them, Strom’s own experiences are more than able to perform the book’s heavy lifting. The pages of Gospel Justice are overflowing with compelling and eye-opening accounts of how lawyers can increase justice by spending themselves on behalf of the poor.

The meaning of the phrase “gospel justice” is fleshed out throughout the book and serves as the book's ethical imperative. One of the most well-known and influential parables of Jesus, the Good Samaritan, provides both the ethical starting point and a structure for the book's chapters, as each of the parable’s characters are examined in turn. Even to those familiar with the parable, Strom’s exposition feels surprisingly appropriate, as he explains that the parable itself is an answer to the questioning of a lawyer regarding the scope of the lawyer’s duty to his fellow man. Similar to a modern-day law professor, the teacher does not respond to the lawyer’s questioning with black-letter law. Instead, the response is a story that challenges all of the lawyer’s assumptions.

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