An Interview with Sally Wagenmaker

Updated: Jul 21

by Gordon Nary


Gordon: What inspirited you to be an attorney?


Sally: Frankly, I went “blind” to law school, not knowing why or what is involved. I loved to read and, after a childhood of multiple moves around the country, I didn’t want to have a job requiring such mobility. But God had a wonderful plan for me all along, as I later learned. I also liked to argue, as both my earthly father and heavenly Father recognized, which came in handy for becoming an attorney.


Gordon: Where did you attend law school and what was your most challenging course and why?


Sally: I attended Emory Law School in Atlanta. My most challenging course was likely “Business Associations,” because I had zero business background - having majored in music and minored in English in college. The law professor started the course nice and easy, even mentioned that music majors could do well in his class! But then he was off to the races, pacing back and forth and continually talking about shares, par value, board disputes, bylaws, and other foreign corporate concepts. Now as a nonprofit law attorney, I revel in bylaw development, love governance matters, and am continually thankful that the Lord brings us through to new and spacious places of learning, understanding, and miraculous growth.


Gordon: What is your opinion are the greatest challenges affecting attorneys in the United States


Sally: Community – or lack thereof. Attorneys are wired to serve others and to work together. But with the fast-paced press of technology-oriented communications and the pressure to get the work done, it is harder than ever to engage in the meaningful community on a personal level, professionally, and spiritually. We need the Lord above all, and each other in Christ’s presence and care. That is why I have been involved with the Christian Legal Society for most of my legal career. CLS is a grass-roots national organization serving lawyers, law students, and others involved with the legal profession, dedicated to helping people live out their faith through and beyond their work. As part of its mission, CLS engages in religious liberty work, serving the poor through legal aid, and helping lawyers and law students daily. It has been immeasurably helpful and valuable to me, as part of the community to which God has called me. More information about CLS is available at www.christianlawyer.org.


Gordon: At what law firm are your currently serving and what are the principal types of cases that you address?


Sally: I serve as one of three partners at Wagenmaker & Oberly a law firm focusing on serving nonprofit organizations. We provide a broad spectrum of services to nonprofits, including start-up corporate development, IRS and tax issues, fundraising, real estate, intellectual property, employment, and international activities.

Our legal team seeks to be trustworthy, transparent, respectful and engaged with the communities we serve. My key Bible passage for the law firm is from Proverbs 11:24-25:


One gives freely, yet grows all the richer;

another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.

Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,

and one who waters will himself be watered.


To me, this Bible passage reflects that all we have is from God. He saved us from our sins, through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, so we can give back joyfully, generously, and fully trusting in Him for all.


Gordon: Why in your experience is abortion such a divisive issue in the United States?


Sally: Abortion is divisive because it is fundamentally evil, and because people think that sexual license is desirable and good.


Make no mistake that abortion is about killing another person, which define our creation in God’s image. It is anti-woman and anti-health, because it calls on women to defy their humanity and kill a part of themselves – a beautifully and wonderfully made person, made by God and with an eternal soul. And it calls on others to join in denying the Truth (yes, capital T) of who we are as humans. Abortion is a scourge, a genocide, worthy of our highest priority to pray against it, to seek legal changes to end it and to support and care for those struggling with pregnancy and parenthood.


As John 10:10 of the Bible reminds us: “The thief comes only to kill and destroy.” That is abortion in a nutshell. But then Jesus explains, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”


The great lie is that we can do anything we want sexually, without consequences like pregnancy and children. But that is not true. Even more significantly, God intends for us to enjoy sexuality within the bounds of one-man/one-woman marriage as an amazing gift, a reflection of God’s creative capacity, and consistent with Biblical truths. Even non-biblically, sexual expression within marriage makes abundantly good sense from the standpoint of physical health, emotional well-being, and family relationships.


Gordon: In your opinion, do Catholic politicizing who do not support abortion prevention share in the moral responsibility for children who are aborted?


Sally: Absolutely! We all have a moral responsibility to fight against abortion, to help women and their family members in need concerning pregnancy and parenting, and to bring light to the truth that abortion is wrong. Pro-life is pro-society, and we desperately need a culture of life – not a culture of death. As leaders of our government, whatever the level, Catholic and other politicians need to step up to support life, as part of our country’s core values, for its future, and each life affected by this tragedy.


Gordon’ Thank you for an exceptional interview.

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