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updated: 7/19/2013 10:54 AM

Elgin man's book urges lawyers to help the poor

'We fail people when we don't help them'

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As executive director of Administer Justice, Bruce Strom can tell plenty of stories of how the Elgin-based group has helped poor people and their families by providing free legal services.

Those stories, as well as Strom's outlook on being a Christian and a lawyer, are front and center of his book, "Gospel Justice."

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In a recent interview, Strom said Americans are constantly told this is a nation of laws that provide liberty and justice for all.

"The reality is that is just not true," said Strom, 48, noting the only time a person gets free legal representation is if they are accused of a crime and are appointed a public defender.

"If you can't access our complex system, there's no way you can access justice," he said. "I think we fail people when we don't help them, when we don't serve people in need."

Strom, an Elgin resident since 1983, was partner in a private law firm when he started Administer Justice in February 2001 as a part-time effort to help others. He began full-time service in 2003 after he left the law firm.

In the 198-page book, he meshes stories of how his faith has changed and grown with parallels from the Bible and some cases handled by Administer Justice. He calls on lawyers and churches to help others.

"This book is a call to action -- a call to further Christ's kingdom through acts of justice and mercy. A call to demonstrate to a watching world when we integrate the spiritual and the social -- the gospel and justice," reads part of the book's foreword by Tony Evans, an author, pastor of the Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, president of The Urban Initiative, and chaplain of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks.

Strom said he worked on the book for about a year, often writing early in the morning. It is his first book.

"It was something that I know and am very passionate about," Strom said. "I am grateful now, and I'm grateful I didn't know everything that was needed to get something written, edited and published. It's a fairly involved process."

The book retails for $15.99, but it is free with a donation to Administer Justice.

The book also is available as an e-book and on Amazon.com, where it's received several positive reviews.

"Gospel Justice is full of stories of people whose lives were changed with the help of the compassionate, knowledgeable assistance of the Administer Justice staff," wrote Paul Mastin of Fort Worth, Texas. "It's shocking to realize how many people suffer in ways that could be prevented or remedied if they had legal representation. This is not a theological treatise or law review article, but Strom brings in enough theology and legal knowledge to give the reader ample inspiration to use one's legal skills to help the poor, to apply to law school, or at least to seek out a legal group to volunteer with or donate to."

For more information, call (847) 844-1100 or visit administerjustice.org.

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