Last night I went to see To Kill a Mockingbird at Theater in the Park. I read the book and saw the movie decades ago. Nonetheless, this story retains its power.
The themes of this story transcend time – the power of prejudice, right vs wrong, is there a duty to help those who are suffering, if not now, then when?
This story, written more than 50 years ago, remains very relevant to lawyers today. Most lawyers today fall into one of two categories – those who view law as a business and those who view law as a “calling”.
Atticus Finch clearly viewed the practice of law as a calling. I have always felt the practice of law was my calling. I have always known other attorneys who feel the same way.
However, the number of attorneys who view the law in this noble light seems to be steadily shrinking. With the proliferation of law schools and the explosion in the number of new lawyers, law as a business opportunity, at least to me, seems to be the dominant motivation.
As a member of a shrinking minority, I want to encourage attorneys, especially young ones, to reread To Kill a Mockingbird. I encourage attorneys to follow the teachings of Socrates and Aristotle by looking within and examining their core values.
There is nothing wrong with the practice of law as a business, but it can be so much more than that. If we follow the example of Atticus Finch, the practice of law can serve the greater good of the community while enriching our lives with meaning.