Mandela Essay

5637 WordsAug 23, 201423 Pages
Atticus Finch and the legal profession Main article: Atticus Finch I promised myself that when I grew up and I was a man, I would try to do things just as good and noble as what Atticus had done for Tom Robinson. —Scott Turow[98] One of the most significant impacts To Kill a Mockingbird has had is Atticus Finch's model of integrity for the legal profession. As scholar Alice Petry explains, "Atticus has become something of a folk hero in legal circles and is treated almost as if he were an actual person."[99] Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center cites Atticus Finch as the reason he became a lawyer, and Richard Matsch, the federal judge who presided over the Timothy McVeigh trial, counts Atticus as a major judicial influence.[100] One law professor at the University of Notre Dame stated that the most influential textbook he taught from was To Kill a Mockingbird, and an article in the Michigan Law Review claims, "No real-life lawyer has done more for the self-image or public perception of the legal profession," before questioning whether, "Atticus Finch is a paragon of honor or an especially slick hired gun".[101] In 1992, an Alabama editorial called for the death of Atticus, saying that as liberal as Atticus was, he still worked within a system of institutionalized racism and sexism and should not be revered. The editorial sparked a flurry of responses from attorneys who entered the profession because of him and esteemed him as a hero.[102] Critics of Atticus maintain he is morally ambiguous and does not use his legal skills to challenge the racist status quo in Maycomb.[48] However, in 1997, the Alabama State Bar erected a monument to Atticus in Monroeville, marking his existence as the "first commemorative milestone in the state's judicial history".[103] In 2008, Lee herself received an honorary special membership to the Alabama State Bar for

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