It's in chapter 16
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Scout and Jem here all kinds of rumours. THey overhear most of their information when Scout finds herself "in the middle of the Idler's Club."
you know the court appointed him to defend this nigger."
"Yeah, but Atticus plans to defend him. That's what I don't like about it."
Scout and Jem assumed that Atticus had voluntarily taken the job. At least the town knew the job was thrust upon him. That gives them a little comfort that the town might give Atticus a little consideration. They figured it "equaled fewer fights and less fussing" along the way.