ATTICUS FINCH: LAWYER – HERO
“Lawyers, I suppose, were children once.” These words of Charles Lamb are the epigraph to Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, a novel about childhood and about a great and noble lawyer, Atticus Finch. The legal profession has in Atticus Finch, a lawyer-hero who knows how to see and to tell the truth, knowing the price the community, which Atticus loves, will pay for that truth. The legal profession has in Atticus Finch, a lawyer-hero who knows how to use power and advantage for moral purposes, and who is willing to stand alone as the conscience of the community. The legal community has in Atticus Finch, a lawyer-hero who possesses the knowledge and experience of a man, strengthened by the untainted insight of a child.
Children are the original and universal people of the world; it is only when they are educated into hatreds and depravities that children become the bigots, the cynics, the greedy, and the intolerant, and it is then that “there hath passed away a glory from the earth.” Atticus Finch challenges the legal profession to shift the paradigm and make the child the father of the man in dealing with the basic conflicts and struggles that permeate moral existence.
Symbolically, it is the legal profession that now sits in the jury box as
Atticus Finch concludes his argument to the jury: “In the name of God, do your duty.”
PLACED BY THE ALABAMA STATE BAR – 1997