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“Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father’s passin’.” ~ Reverand Skyes in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.

I recently read an essay written by a 10th grader at a Michigan private high school for his English class. I found his take on "To Kill a Mockingbird" refreshing and thought provoking as he defined the growing, undeserved, disrespect of lawyers in our community. In fact, I liked it so much that I thought it should be shared with my readers. So, without further adieu, here's Alexander:

Whatever happened to the days of Atticus Finch? Why do I bring up Atticus Finch? Even in modern times, we can learn a great deal from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Lawyers, like Mr. Finch, were once respected as honorable individuals who fought for the good of individuals and mankind. They were men of the people, for the people who wished for nothing but justice. The legal profession is honorable; its members provide needed legal services to the America people. Does that mean no lawyer has ever gone astray? Not at all. Sometimes members of various professions do unethical things. But those who do are by far in the minority; those who do are punished.

Another famous tale is that of Dante’s Inferno (The Divine Comedy). It tells of many levels within the evil side of afterlife, and claims that in a very low level called “Ditch 5” there are barraters and grafters, including lawyers. It states that members of this group commit corrupt political crimes in secret and “the tar of evil” is the money they covet. Unfortunately, it is thoughts like this that many people hold in our society. This has resulted in an ideal by many citizens to think that all lawyers are out solely for the sake of profit. My question is why? Nobody would ever think to put Mr. Finch in such a category, so then why should all lawyers be thought of negatively because of a few?

My point is this: Lawyers are professionals who are simply looking out for the benefit of their clients. Someday you may need a lawyer to help you through legal issue; you may be an innocent victim of a negligent driver, defective product, or medical error. If, and when, that happens, I am sure your respect of the legal profession will be one of justice and fair compensation for your loss. For my future and the future of all Americans, I hope that you will respect lawyers and remember what Atticus Finch said, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view….until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”

Isn’t it amazing that a 15-year-old kid sees the value of lawyers to citizens whereas adult Republicans still struggle with this notion? They continue to buy the rhetoric that lawsuits hurt the economy; that tort reform is necessary when that concept is clearly false. Shouldn't safety trump all? Maybe there should be a new TV show – "Smarter than a Republican!"

Alexander is now 17-years-old and applying to several prestigious colleges. He is considering psychology and possible law for a career.

Mark Bello has thirty-five years experience as a trial lawyer and thirteen years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide legal finance cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by a plaintiff involved in pending, personal injury, litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Member of Public Justice and Public Citizen, Business Associate of the Florida, Mississippi, Connecticut, Texas, and Tennessee Associations for Justice, and Consumers Attorneys of California, member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.

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