Atticus Finch: Role Model, Racist or Realist?

Come for a full and open discussion of the best and the worst about fictional lawyer Atticus Finch as portrayed in Harper Lee's books, To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Set a Watchman.   

For decades since the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird, lawyers have identified Atticus Finch - or at least Gregory Peck's portrayal of him in the 1962 film - as one reason they decided to become lawyers. Mockingbird, set in the 1930s, shows Finch accepting a court appointment to defend an African American against a rape accusation by a white woman in the face of rampant racism and public hostility from the community. For a substantial part of the twentieth century, it was probably one of the most widely read books dealing with race in America.  Go Set a Watchman, which was written before the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird but only published in 2015, looks at an older Atticus Finch, a grown-up "Scout" and the other citizens of Maycomb, Alabama, in the early years of the Civil Rights movement following Brown v. Board of Education (1954). Although, by present standards, Atticus Finch does not come across as well in Watchman as in Mockingbird, the two books taken together provide an excellent vantage point for considering the progress that has been made on diversity issues, as well as the many challenges that remain before us, and the personal and social issues that may help explain why many of those challenges seem so hard to address. And as a book narrated by a young female professional in the period before the women's rights movement, Go Set a Watchman has a good deal to say about past and present gender-based cultural biases. 


This program will take advantage of the unique opportunity created by the two books to help us better understand our past, present and future as a profession and as individual lawyers. Panelists will be Steve Griffith, a trial lawyer recently retired from Stoel Rives, LLP; Mariann Hyland, Assistant Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at the University of Oregon; and Peter Jarvis, Holland & Knight, LLP, noted expert on professional ethics. 


For more information: Call Leslie Johnson, Kent & Johnson at 503.220.0717. For registration questions, call the MBA at 503.222.3275.

Date & Time
Tuesday, March 29, 2016, 3:00-5:00pm
World Trade Center Mezzanine, Building 2, 26 SW Sa
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Access to Justice
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