By Jamie Shafer
To Ron Dove, becoming a lawyer was more than just choosing a career path for his life. It was a higher calling. Ron was raised in a family of teachers, so education was held in high regard. He remembers that he always liked problem-solving and debating and had an interest in both history and politics.
How Can I Use My Gifts?
While growing up, Ron attended Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, Maryland, where Eugene Peterson, author of The Message, was leading. “I grew up in a strong church where we were very active every Sunday, and I had these strong role models. I thought, God has put me in this place and has given me these gifts. How am I supposed to use these talents in the world? By the time I was in high school, it was clear to me that these interests were pointing to the law. My gifts were aligned with this area. It made sense.”
He went on to share, “To me, the law was this noble calling. Imagine what our society would be like without law. It seemed like an important thing to do.”
Ron’s journey led him first to Milligan College for his undergraduate work and then on to Harvard Law School. For more than 20 years, he has practiced law at Covington in their Washington, D.C. office. He is the cochair of Covington’s Intellectual Property Rights practice group, specializing in copyright and trademark litigation and advice. During his career he has had the opportunity to do work for the National Football League, the Public Broadcasting Service, and various clients in the pharmaceutical and luxury goods industries.
How Can I Resolve Conflict Peacefully?
Ron’s faith was a part of his career choice and remains constant in his everyday life and work. “I think about it in terms of being a peacemaker. What does it mean? People have this conflict, but how can we resolve it in a way that is peaceful? We have a process that gets to a resolution. The ideal is that people believe they have had a fair shake and have been treated equally under the law.”
Ron said it’s also important to consider his approach. “For me, it’s about the importance of a positive attitude and blooming where you are planted. It’s important to find joy in what you’re doing.” He strives to be a positive role model to colleagues and to serve as a mentor when possible.
“God puts us in a particular place. You’re there for a reason and you need to make the best of the gifts that you have in the situation that you’re in. I try to focus on excellence. I want to do the best job I can with the gifts I have been given.”
Ron makes it a priority to not only focus on paying work but to help people who couldn’t otherwise afford it. He also tries to measure his conduct against the standard of Galatians 5:22, 23 by displaying the fruits of the Spirit. He tries to stay immersed in the idea of having peace, being joyful, and practicing patience and self-control.
“We’re in an environment of conflict by its very nature. It can be highly stressful in the midst of debates and litigation. But it’s about trying. This really applies to any profession. We are all given gifts. Whichever one you have, no matter what your job is, you can find joy in your day if you’re keeping God at the center.”
How Can I Play My Part?
While Ron noted that his work is fulfilling, it’s also a high priority for him to focus on his family, his community, and his church, Church of Christ at Manor Woods in Maryland, where he serves as an elder and has attended with his family for 25 years.
“In D.C., I’m surrounded by lawyers. It’s good to be a part of a church family that is diverse, with many different occupations. I went to help on a mission trip to Mexico and went from being the expert to the person who was least qualified. They put me in the saw tent because I’m a worker. We were looking to the architect and the engineers. It helped me realize that the marketplace is fascinating with so many different occupations. It’s so interesting how God has created the world. We all have a part to play.”
Jamie Shafer is a communications strategist for Fishhook Communications in Indianapolis, Indiana. She and her husband, Eric, have two children.