Atticus Finch is a talented lawyer who is not only a good father but a role model to the entire town.
Atticus Finch is the town’s moral center. Scout says that he treats her and her brother courteously, but he is old and feeble. Even though he plays with them, he does not have the athleticism of younger fathers. As the trial of the century begins for Maycomb, Scout realizes how important her father is to the town. He no longer just belongs to her.
Atticus first defends the town by shooting the mad dog. There is a dog sickened with rabies, and he is going down the street. This is very dangerous, so Calpurnia calls Atticus. The children are shocked that he can shoot. The sheriff urges Atticus to shoot.
"For God's sake, Mr. Finch, look where he is! Miss and you'll go straight into the Radley house! I can't shoot that well and you know it!" (10)
Atticus also defends the town from itself by defending Tom Robinson, and not just throwing away the case. In his summation, he gives a lecture on racism.
"I'm no idealist to believe firmly in the integrity of our courts and in the jury system- that is no ideal to me, it is a living, working reality. (ch 20)
Atticus knows that the jury would be defying social convention to acquit a black man, taking a white man’s word, but he is not going to make it easy for them.