Ky. lawyers follow the way of Atticus Finch, not Eric Conn

By Richard Dawahare - Lexington-Herald Leader

Let there be light. And truth. And justice. Justice pursued with courage, molded by civility, tempered with compassion, applied with mercy and achieving hope, faith and fairness for all concerned.

A religious revival?

No, an epiphany at the Kentucky Bar Association’s annual convention: Our judicial system actuates the values of God, without a scintilla of reference to the Great Spirit. The opposite of showy politicians; the law at its best is all walk, no talk.

Just as a secular nation that separates church from state should be.

I love the KBA. It inspires, it educates and it reconnects lawyers with one another and, more profoundly, with the ideals that led us to the law in the first place. For many of us that inspiration can be summed up in two words: Atticus Finch.

Finch is one of literature’s most enduring, selfless heroes. The wise and temperate father who stood tall for justice and righteousness in the face of blistering public contempt. He always did the right thing, no matter the personal cost.

“What would Atticus do?” serves as a daily guide for many lawyers as we ply our trade.

So it was fitting that Texas lawyer Talmage Boston opened the event with a session on the hero of Harper Lee’s novel “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Turns out her classic was more fact than fiction. Finch was in reality her own father, lawyer Amasa Lee, who actually did represent two wrongly convicted black men in front of an all-white jury in the 1930s.

The paragon of virtue, courage and civility we know as Finch exists only because of Amasa Lee. This is great news for us mere mortals, for with thought and intention we too can be like him.

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Posted: July 18, 2017