LAW OFFICE MONAST
www.monastlaw.com | 614-334-4649 | 5000 Arlington Centre Blvd. Bldg 2, Suite 2117, Upper Arlington, OH 43220-2913
ATTICUS FINCH: THE PATRON SAINT OF LAWYERS EVERYWHERE WHY ‘TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD’ IS MY FAVORITE NOVEL A s anyone who has spent time with me knows, I’m an avid reader. I devour books of all kinds as often as I can, whether they’re the fantastically dark tales of Stephen King, nonfiction volumes of political history, or treatises on theology and faith.
“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway, and you see it through no matter what.” It’s a truly inspiring story, and one that definitely led me to seek a career as an attorney. From the beginning, I went into the lawwith lofty aspirations to help my clients right the wrongs of the world and to do what I
Whenever I drive to meet a client, you can bet I’m listening to audiobooks on Audible the entire way. But if you asked me to name my favorite novel, it’s a pretty easy and obvious choice: Harper Lee’s“To Kill a Mockingbird.”Atticus Finch, one of the central characters, is virtually a patron saint to thousands of lawyers across the country. But more than that, it’s a moving tale that I’m almost always game to pull off the shelf and read again. For those of my clients who haven’t read the book or seen the movie, the story is told from the perspective of Scout Finch, a 10-year-old girl grappling with coming of age in the midst of a close-knit rural community plagued by racial prejudices. But the crux of the story forms around her father Atticus Finch, an attorney, and his quest to defend Tom Robinson, an innocent black man falsely accused of rape. Finch knows that regardless of how carefully and clearly he lays out the facts in the courtroom, he’s unlikely to be able to protect his client. Indeed, despite his efforts, the all-white jury convicts Tomwith impunity. “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway, and you see it through no matter what.”
could for those who needed my help. In law school, I was enthralled by a Jewish professor there who had once worked for the Anti-Defamation League. While there, he represented a group of Nazis in a big case about their right to protest and their right to free speech. He was ostracized by many of his peers, but he stuck to his principles. Today, my position is nothing like his — I’m not working with Nazis, after all —but Atticus Finch’s words still resonate with me wholeheartedly. Workers’compensation gets a bad rap. Those who haven’t been through a work-related injury often assume that the system aids a bunch of freeloaders looking for handouts. But in my experience, this is virtually never the case. In fact, most of my clients are just regular folks who were dealt a bad hand and are trying to get back to their regular lives as soon as possible. It’s these people who I’m proud to defend, and while I may not be any Atticus Finch, his steadfast moral courage and faith continues to motivate and inspire me to this day. –Jim Monast
Throughout the book, Atticus stands his ground in defense of his client, ignoring the threats of the hostile community. In one scene, he stands down a lynch mob outside the jail to protect Tom. One of the most moving passages of the book is a speech Atticus gives his daughter. It encapsulates his entire moral philosophy—one we should all aspire to:
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