by Liberty McArtor • 9 min read
Imagine being threatened with jail time by a federal judge, just because you wanted to pray during your high school graduation speech – and you’re the valedictorian? Feelings of shame, perhaps even guilt or embarrassment, not to mention the fear of being censored, quickly become overwhelming.
So, who do you turn to for help?
Of course, you know the answer to that: First Liberty. Our expert attorneys are First in the Fight to ensure that everyone in our country can live out their faith freely and openly. And even though most of our clients ultimately see victory and vindication of their liberties, the strain of litigation often takes a heavy toll on them, especially in legal battles that last months, or even years.
But what you may not know is that First Liberty’s support of our clients extends well beyond the courtroom.
As Head of Client Outreach for First Liberty, Lisa Holmes understands the sacrifice our clients make to stand up for religious freedom, and she’s passionate about making sure they’re supported in the process.
In this exclusive interview, she shares more about this crucial role in our firm, what challenges and difficulties our clients go through, and why they’re her heroes.
My role is to come alongside clients and to provide spiritual support, especially through prayer and sharing Scripture with them when it’s appropriate and helpful. Very often clients want to talk about their case because of how it’s affecting them personally, as well as their families. So, in my position, I’m supporting our clients in those crucial moments when they really need to talk to someone because of how difficult it is to go through a legal case. It’s also a way that I can work with our attorneys to ease some of their burden. If I can support our clients spiritually, it gives our attorneys more freedom to do what they do best, which is to help more people in similar situations and to win their cases.
Every day, I’m constantly in communication with people. Whether it’s through email, or on the phone or via text, I’m talking to our clients about their needs, how they’re doing and how their life is going. Staying in touch with our clients means there are many days I travel to be with them during important moments in their case.
Recently, for example, I went to an administrative hearing with one of our clients because I knew it was going to be a demanding experience for her. On other occasions, I am often by our clients’ side for media or other public events. When our legal team goes to meet our clients, I’m often there so I can listen to what they’re sharing with the lawyers. I help them understand a lot of the legal jargon in layman’s terms and help prepare them for challenges they may face.
As a constitutional law firm, we have to fight for their legal rights – but we also want to fight for their spiritual well-being.
The process of getting to a legal victory can be very clinical and very technical, and it typically takes a very long time. In the meantime, there are a lot of unknowns for our clients. By the time they come to us, they may have lost their businesses or their jobs, and they’re worried about how to make ends meet or how they’re going to earn a living. In that type of situation, a client may be anxious about losing their homes. These are things they have to deal with on a daily basis, and it puts a lot of strain on them and their family.
It’s so important, especially for me, that we give them the best spiritual care while they fight on the front lines. When our clients stand up for their liberty, they’re willingly taking on a lot of stress individually. But many of them know that they’re doing it to help thousands, or even millions, of Americans, even the people that are suing them or those that attack or direct hateful rhetoric against them – because religious liberty is a right we all share.
Our clients are my heroes. That’s why I want to support them as best as I can, to give them encouragement, hope and strength when they need it most.
Lisa Holmes with several First Liberty clients, what she calls her “Hall of Faith.”
Our clients face challenges in their everyday lives, often with normal activities we can take for granted. I’ll give you an example. Right now, we have two clients, a wonderful couple, who are serving in ministry in the Midwest. They’re leading a vibrant, growing church, but city officials are making it impossible for them to get a permit to build adequate space where they can gather to worship.
Keep in mind that they live in a very small community. And because this couple is trying to get city officials to do the right thing, their everyday life has become really difficult. They’ve had to go out of their way to shop for groceries farther from home because people in their community confront them or are rude to them, and they’ve also experienced vandalism.
I honestly find a lot of joy in my role, and I’m grateful that I have an opportunity to hear the clients’ stories and their experiences. Sharing this journey with them isn’t a burden to me. Listening, helping, supporting and being with them through tough times is one way that I live out my faith through my work. What does weigh down on me is seeing our clients having to fight for what is a fundamental, God-given freedom. Many times, people may not realize how high a price our clients are having to pay just for living out their faith, and for them there is so much at stake.
I get a lot of positive feedback and encouragement from our clients, and it’s what drives me to get out of bed every morning. Even after we’ve won their case, I like to keep in touch with them and see how they’re doing. When you go through tough times together, you develop some deep and lasting relationships. To be honest, I think that I have the best job of everyone in the firm. I simply love every one of our clients.
Our clients are awesome people who are willing to suffer to preserve religious freedom for everybody else in this country. In the same way that we take time to thank our military service members for their service and sacrifice, we should also thank First Liberty’s clients for their courage and for the price that they’re paying so that you and I can keep living out our faith. In their own way, our clients are serving our country, and they’re doing it well. They are bold and they are brave.