Why is Atticus Finch so often viewed as such a great role model for American criminal defense attorneys?

  1. Some scholars feel that the popular media (especially films and television) present lawyers in a very negative manner.  Based on what you have examined during the first five weeks of the course, what would lead these scholars to such a conclusion? If their conclusion has merit, to what degree does this negative portrayal impact the actual operation of the American justice process?
  2. Why is Atticus Finch so often viewed as such a great role model for American criminal defense attorneys? Analyze his role as Tom Robinson’s defense counsel both as to what he did effectively and what he might have done differently to aid his client. How does his advocacy compare to that shown by attorneys in the Scottsboro Boys trials?
  3. What about the actual practice of criminal law (especially as it impacts law school education, trial preparation, and trials) leads filmmakers to present highly fictionalized portrayals of the criminal justice system in their movies? Does this highly fictionalized presentation have a negative impact on how the public views lawyers and the actual criminal justice process?
  4. What inaccuracies exist in popular legal culture (be as specific as possible) and what are the potential ramifications of those inaccuracies for the American justice system?

craft an essay response. Your response, not including in-text citations and a bibliography of sources used to develop your response, cannot exceed 1500 words (This does not mean that you need to write 1500 words. Instead, all it means is that I do not want you to submit an answer that exceeds 1500 words).  Please use material from our Textbook and the ‘Suggested Readings’ to support your arguments. If you use an ‘outside’ scholarly reference, please provide the full citation so that I can easily find and review your source. –Your response is due in Dropbox by 11:59 on Tuesday, February 16.