J. Reuben Clark Law Society

Elder Whitney Clayton Speaks at Annual JRCLS Fireside

Elder L. Whitney Clayton, a member of the Presidency of the Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke to attorneys and law students at the Annual J. Reuben Clark Law Society Fireside Friday, Jan. 27.

He spoke about the role of a lawyer, and even more specifically on the moral obligations of a Christian lawyer.

“I have tremendous respect for the job of lawyers,” Elder Clayton began. “At their best lawyers help ease humankind through their rough spots in life.”

He went on to discuss the trend for litigators to engage in ad hominem attacks rather than clearly and rationally presenting their case on the merits.  This offensive verbal behavior is antithetical to Christian behavior.

“The goal in life is not to be right but to be good,” Elder Clayton said. “To be good means doing good.”

But being good does not mean surrendering emotionally to others. In fact, lawyers should work hard to win the cases they are hired to win.

“The lawyer should do whatsoever the client asks him to do, which is right.” Elder Clayton said. “There is a quiet dignity that comes from excruciating preparation and holding the moral high ground.”

As an attorney, Elder Clayton realized he could do much to control the temperature in a heated courtroom. The key, he said, is developing charity. 

Prior to Elder Clayton’s remarks, Dean Rasband presented him with the JRCLS Distinguished service award, the highest award given out by the law society.

“A law degree at its core is a leadership degree, at its best it is a service leadership degree,” Dean Rasband said. He continued describing Elder Clayton as a person of great example of service. “Service to others has become his leisure and joy.”

 Berne S. Broadbent, Community Service and Outreach Committee Chair of the JRCLS presented the 2012 Franklin S. Richards Pro Bono/Community Service Award to the Philippines Chapter of the Society for its Legal Aid Service Program. Mhe-anne Ojeda, Chair of the Philippines Chapter was in attendance to receive the award.

The conference was held in the Little Theater of the LDS Church Conference Center on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. It was broadcast over the LDS Church satellite network to Law Society chapters across the nation and world, including to 12 different countries.

Posted: 2012-01-29