Noel Sterett: Mauck & Baker, LLC
For Noel Sterett, a partner with the Chicago law firm of Mauck & Baker, being a Christian attorney translates into … well, translating.
“I saw law school as an opportunity to learn a new language,” he says, “and to use my language skills to serve others. Every day, I’m able to use language to persuade a judge, serve a client, write a contract. Each type of case is a new vocabulary … a new way of talking.”
The language of intercession comes easily for Sterett, who—in addition to English, French, and sundry legal dialects—speaks the lingua franca of his firm: prayer.
“At Mauck & Baker, prayer is a big part of everything—we pray for each other, for our clients, for the judges, for opposing counsel. We understand law as a calling, and our Christian faith pretty much informs all that we do,” he says. Like all of the other members of his firm, Sterett is an Alliance Defending Freedom Allied Attorney, and is “really involved in the kinds of cases ADF pursues”—as evidenced, most recently, by his work on behalf of The Life Center (TLC) of Elgin, Illinois.
TLC provides young women with easy access to free pregnancy screening and ultrasounds. The ministry’s mobile pregnancy center regularly parks near local high schools, where teens too frightened to visit a hospital, doctor’s office, or even TLC’s main facility can come aboard quickly, quietly, and anonymously for diagnosis and counseling.
In 2013, the Elgin City Council suddenly decided to amend the community’s land ordinances, sharply curtailing the issuance of temporary land use permits. TLC staffers found themselves charged nearly $200 every time they parked their mobile clinic—and greatly limited in how often they could park in one place. The costs made it prohibitive for the clinics to operate, and difficult for potential clients to know where the clinics would be.
Sterett’s firm filed suit on TLC’s behalf, a judge ruled in the center’s favor, and on February 26, the city council passed an amendment allowing the mobile clinic to operate as before. Sterett counted his work on the case among the more than 5,000 pro bono hours he’s logged as an Allied Attorney (two-and-a-half-years of work, valued at nearly $1 million)—and an opportunity “to live out my faith in a broken world where injustice is prevalent, and there are hurting people.”