Christian Legal Society

The Christian Legal Society (CLS) is a nationwide network of lawyers and law students who are committed to "serving Jesus Christ through …the practice of law." Through its Center for Law and Religious Freedom, CLS advocates and litigates issues ranging from religious liberty to reproductive choice.

Christian Legal Society
4208 Evergreen Lane Suite 222
Annandale, VA 22003-3264

President: James A. Davids
Founded/Place: 1961 in Chicago, Illinois, by Paul Bernard, Gerrit P. Groen, Henry Luke Banks, and Elmer Johnson.
Executive Director/CEO: Samuel B. Casey
Board of Directors: Euguene H. Fahrenkrog, Jr. (Chairman), Peter F. Rathbun (Secretary), and Timothy C. Klenk (Treasurer).
Membership: Includes attorneys, judges, law students, and anyone else who pays CLS dues and professes their commitment to the Faith. They are organized in more than 1100 cities into attorney chapters, law student chapters, and fellowships throughout the United States. Source
Finances: $1,945,268 (2004); CLS is a 501(c)(3) organization
Publications: The Christian Lawyer (quarterly), The Christian Lawyer Digest (an audiotape soon to be available on CD), The Defender (publication of CLS' Center for Law and Religious Freedom).
Affiliate Groups: Center for Law and Religious Freedom (litigation arm of CLS)

Read the latest news on the Christian Legal Society on the group's Right Wing Watch index page


CLS' vision is succinct: "Seeking Justice with the Love of God." Their mission is "To be the national grassroots network of lawyers and law students, associated with others, committed to proclaiming, loving and serving Jesus Christ, through all we do and say in the practice of law, and advocating biblical conflict reconciliation, legal assistance for the poor and the needy, religious freedom and the sanctity of human life." Source


  • CLS hosts annual, national conventions in Naples, Florida, which unites all members nationwide and holds prayer and religious ceremonies, while discussing the ministry of law.
  • CLS has been involved in thousands of litigation suits, many dealing with First and Fourteenth Amendment rights; notably, those dealing with in-school recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance, and the separation of church and state.
  • Formed the Center for Law and Religious Freedom in 1975 to address religious liberties and the sanctity of life issues in federal, local, and state governments.



According to CLS' 990 form for 2004, the organization reported $1,018,819 in "gifts, grants, and contributions received."


Christian Legal Society was officially founded in 1961 by a group of attorneys and professors who met at the 1959 American Bar Association national convention. Both founders were determined to create a nationwide association of Christian lawyers to create a network for sharing problems and for sharing fellowship. The goal was to integrate their faith with their profession. Today, CLS's core purpose is to enlist "lawyers and law students everywhere to faithfully serve Jesus Christ in the diligent study and ethical practice of law."


National: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.
International: Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Peru, and South Africa.


"We are particularly pleased that Judge Roberts, by virtue of his public service and private practice, has an excellent working knowledge of the provisions of our Constitution that protect our first and most vital liberties of free speech, association and religious free exercise…We are also pleased the President nominated someone who, by virtue of his appellate experience, promises upon his confirmation to make an immediate, positive and long-term impact on the respect the Supreme Court needs to preserve our constitutional form of government."
–Center for Law & Religious Freedom Director Gregory S. Baylor on the nomination of Judge John Roberts to the Supreme Court. Source

"Since its founding in 1961, CLS' nine organizational objectives, as set forth in its amended not-for-profit articles of incorporation, have been:

  • To proclaim Jesus as Lord through all that we do in the field of law and other disciplines;
  • To provide a means of society, fellowship and nurture among Christian lawyers;
  • To encourage Christian lawyers to view law as ministry;
  • To clarify and promote the concept of the Christian lawyer and to help Christian lawyers integrate their faith with their professional lives;
  • To mobilize, at the national and local levels, the resources needed to promote justice, religious liberty, the inalienable right to human life, and biblical conflict reconciliation
  • To encourage, disciple and aid Christian students in preparing for the legal profession;
  • To provide a forum for the discussion of problems and opportunities relating to Christianity and the law;
  • To cooperate with bar associations and other organizations in asserting and maintaining high standards of legal ethics; and,
  • To encourage lawyers to furnish legal services to the poor and needy, and grant special consideration to the legal needs of churches and other charitable organizations." Source


Updated: August 2006

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