“Lawyers, I suppose, were children once.” – Charles Lamb
We are already well into July, the high point of Rhode Island summer living. For me, summer 2012 has been about: (1) physical therapy (“PT”), (2) my young family, and (3) managing our growing law firm.
As to the PT, I am recovering from the right shoulder surgery and preparing for left shoulder surgery. So, my physical therapist Mary and I spend a lot of time together. She turned me on to re-reading To Kill A Mockingbird. This, in turn, has had an impact on my family and law practice.
Recall that the story is told from the viewpoint of Scout, Atticus’s 6-year-old daughter. Scout is curious about all things, including the mysterious “Radley Place” and her father and his law practice. My own daughter is 4 years old, and is so similar to Scout that I found myself laughing aloud while reading. The book reminds me how these kids watch and absorb all that we adults do.
By the way, my neighbor Dave mentioned that this was the only book that Harper Lee ever wrote!
Notably, the book has re-introduced me to my boyhood hero, Atticus Finch. I enjoy the way that Lee depicts Atticus: kneeling stoically in church….. listening carefully to the lying townspeople testify in court…. teaching his children about how to treat others. Everything is done with thoughtfulness, care, and with integrity. As to the last point, there is this deep juxtaposition between the “church going folks” on the outside who nonetheless act racist – versus Atticus’s sincere faith, desire to help others, and love. To me, Atticus models the authentic Christian man, flawed, but nonetheless striving to do the right thing.
It has been a memorable summer so far for me. As to its impact on my RI personal injury law firm, To Kill A Mockingbird is an inspiring legal story. Even though Atticus loses the trial, his ethics remain intact. In our Providence law office, I am placing the book in our reception area where, in the midst of busyness, it will remind us to help others achieve justice.