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To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee created in Atticus Finch a character who has become larger than life in both literature and in legal circles. The quintessential fictional Southern liberal lawyer, Atticus is so respected in his home state that the Alabama State Bar erected a monument in Monroeville to honor the "first commemorative milestone in the state's judicial history." One attorney noted that "Atticus has become something of a folk hero in legal circles and is treated almost as if he were an actual person." An article in the Michigan Law Review claimed, "No real-life lawyer has done more for the self-image or public perception of the legal profession."
Honest to a fault, Atticus was chosen personally by Judge Taylor to defend Tom Robinson because he knew that Mr. Finch would do his best to gain an acquittal. The townspeople knew it, too.
"... you know the court appointed Atticus to defend this nigger."
"Yeah, but Atticus aims to defend him. That's what I don't like about it."
Atticus plays upon the jury's conscience in his summation, calling upon them to honor the integrity of the court system. He makes it clear that although "all men are not created equal in the sense some people would have us believe," he maintains a faith in the equity of both the white and black races.
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