Atticus shows his empathy throughout the novel for those who are poor, troubled, or oppressed. He helps Mr. Cunningham by letting him pay for legal services with produce and other items rather than money. He also understands the gossip swirling about Boo Radley and implores Jem, Dill, and Scout to leave Boo alone and in peace. The lessons he teaches his children show his values and beliefs as well. He teaches Scout about putting herself in another person’s skin, and he teaches Jem about tolerance and empathy for Mrs. Dubose.
Atticus takes Tom Robinson’s case because as a respected politician and lawyer in Maycomb, he probably feels that he has the best chance of winning the case. Atticus will give Tom the best defense he can because it is in his nature to fight against injustice. Other lawyers might have succumbed to the racist attitudes of Maycomb and not give Tom the counsel he needs to beat the charges. Throughout the novel, Atticus is opposed to the prejudice and injustices he sees existing in Maycomb and the South.