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The Intersection Between Religious Identity and Legal Practice

Research Participants Needed

Are you a lawyer (practicing or retired), law professor, or law student?

Does your religious identity inform or shape part or all of your approach to the law? Do you keep your religious identity separate from your professional work? If you answered “yes,” to either of these questions, then I want to speak with you!

My name is Paige Thombs I am a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Law at the University of Victoria, as well as a current Osgoode Visiting Scholar. I am writing my dissertation on the relationship between religious identity and the practice of law. As part of my research, I will be conducting 45-55 interviews with lawyers, law professors and law students. The University of Victoria’s Human Research Ethics Board has approved the recruitment and interview process. Interviews will happen at a mutually agreed upon time and will happen in person or via phone, Zoom, or other video platform (e.g., Skype, Bluejeans). Interviews will take 60-90 minutes but will be scheduled for two hours to allow for more time as needed and to prevent overlap with other interviews.

Very little research has been done in Canada on the practice of religious lawyering. This project aims to fill that gap. The objective of my project is fivefold: 1. to identify and explain the ways in which faith and/or religious identity informs religious lawyering; 2. to understand the ways in which legal professional ethics and religious beliefs, values, and practices might conflict with or complement one another and how religious lawyers/law students navigate these sometimes-challenging waters; 3. to understand, from the perspective of religious lawyers/law students, the place of religion within the secular legal profession and how the secularization of Canada impacts religious lawyers; 4. to understand what special challenges religious lawyers from minority religious groups may face; and 5. to better understand any unique benefits religious lawyers may offer the broader legal community.

If you are a lawyer (working or retired), law professor (working or emeritus), or a law student, and your religious identity influences/informs part or all of your approach to the law, regardless of the kind of law you practice, I would like to speak to you. My goal is to interview a diverse group of lawyers including a broad range of religious affiliations. This includes but is not limited to: Jewish (including secular Jews), Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Sikh, and Hindu identified lawyers. I would also be interested in speaking to those who belong to a religious group but feel that one identity has no bearing on the other.

If you are interested in participating or just want to know more about my research, I can be reached at  You may also distribute this letter to others as you see fit.

Any concerns regarding this research can be directed to either my supervisor, Dr. Kathryn Chan (, or the UVic Human Research Ethics Board ( or 250-472-4545).

Recruitment will continue until the Spring of 2023.