To Kill a Mockingbird

How well does Atticus feel he should defend Tom Robinson? Is it usual for (White) lawyers to do Thier best for black clients in Alabama at this time?

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chapter 9

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Atticus feels he has a moral obligation to defend Tom with every ounce of intelligence and strength he has. Atticus thinks this is a case about humanity as much as it is about justice. Atticus wants to give Tom Robinson a chance against a bigoted society. I don't think there were many, if any, black lawyers at the time so if a black man had a lawyer, he would have to have been white.