Reconstructing Atticus Finch? A Response to Professor Lubet

In one of her childishly obtuse moments, Scout, the narrator of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, denies that her father Atticus Finch is any sort of proper example of how a lawyer ought to act when cross-examining a witness. The prosecutor’s crossexamination of the accused Tom Robinson has moved her friend Dill to tears: “I couldn’t stand . . . [t]hat old Mr. Gilmer doin’ him thataway, talking so hateful to him _” Scout, who has taken her friend out of the courtroom, explains: “Dill, that’s his job . . . . He’s supposed to act that way.” Atticus, on the other hand, does not tum into a lawyer stereotype when he enters the courtroom. He faces the adversities and injustices of the courtroom with the same gentlemanly manner that he uses when interacting with the various characters that populate the charming but benighted town of Maycomb.