Last August, the American Bar Association House of Delegates passed a resolution to honor ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, the novel by Harper Lee for “the positive role that the book has played in the lives of lawyers, their families and the American public.” But where is Atticus Finch now?
Apparently on April 29th you will be able to start putting his face on the letters you send, as the Postal Service will honor Gregory Peck on 17th stamp in the Legends of Hollywood series. According to the USPS press release, the portrait of Peck is a still photograph from the film.
But can Atticus still be found in our law offices, our courtrooms, or in our homes? Atticus was a lawyer, yes – but he was also a single father, and most importantly, he seemed to work from a moral sphere. Lawyers pass the bar exam and are expected to file the necessary motions, and do what is legally correct. But it is also important to represent our clients as an individual with compassion and understanding.
As Kansas City Bankruptcy Attorneys, I know that we strive to make sure that our clients feel comfortable with the decisions they are making, based on their particular situation. We know that no one wants to file for bankruptcy, but life happens. Job loss, sudden illness, divorce – may all be out of our control, but what we do next is not. Our clients who have received bankruptcy discharges have informed us of how the stress in their lives is lessened and how they have begun planning for the future.
But for some, bankruptcy may not be the right choice, or at least, not the right choice at this time. We personally meet with our clients regarding these intimate issues so we know where they are coming from and where they want to be. Like Atticus said, ‘You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view – until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.’
Atticus, over the years, has inspired lawyers and created a positive public perception of our profession. To keep him alive, we should practice the ideals he presented and remember there are important lessons to be learned from our clients – if we just take the time to listen.