Just Mercy

by Bryan Stevenson

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What does Bryan Stevenson learn to accept about clients upon their first meeting in Just Mercy?

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In Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson has learned to accept, on his first meeting with clients, what they tell him until the facts suggest something else. This is the approach he uses when meeting Walter McMillian.

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Though still only a young lawyer, Bryan Stevenson has already learned quite a lot about dealing with clients on death row.

One of the most important things that he's learned is to accept what his clients tell him on their first meeting until the facts say otherwise.

This way, Stevenson is able to build a rapport with his clients, a bond of trust that will make things a little easier for both of them. Just as his clients have to be able to trust him, so Stevenson has to be able to trust his clients, and so it is best for him to start by accepting their version of events until the facts suggest something different.

This is the approach that Stevenson uses when he meets Walter McMillian for the first time. At that meeting, Walter categorically affirms his innocence and flatly denies that he committed the murder for which he's been convicted and sent to death row.

What's more, it's important for Walter that Stevenson believes that he's innocent. Hardly anyone else believes that he is, and so it's all the more important that the man who's agreed to take on his case does. As is his custom, Stevenson accepts what Walter says, but of course, he will still examine the available evidence closely to get to the bottom of things.

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