The article, "Courtroom sketches from infamous trials get a new exhibit. Here are nine of them." by Jim Sweeney was originally featured in the Columbia Journalism Review on May 9, 2017.
Videos and photos are ubiquitous, but there’s one place in America where cameras are rarely seen: courtrooms. Federal courts are mostly off limits, and state and local court policies vary, so media outlets historically have hired artists to illustrate major trials. But news budget cuts and increasing courtroom camera access are making these artists a vanishing breed of journalist.
A recent donation of 95 courtroom drawings to the Library of Congress has made the library the nation’s largest repository of such art. The donation is marked by an exhibit through late October. The gift comes from Los Angeles attorney Thomas V. Girardi, whose most famous case is probably the contaminated-water suit that inspired the movie Erin Brockovich. Three courtroom artists—Aggie Kenny, Bill Robles, and Elizabeth Williams—approached the library in 2015 about acquiring images of major trials the three of them had covered. Girardi agreed to fund (for an undisclosed amount) the purchase of the new illustrations.
Many of them appeared in the 2014 book The Illustrated Courtroom: 50 Years of Court Art by Williams and Sue Russell. Mr. Girardi appears in one of the courtroom drawings in the show.
The 98 works in the exhibit, Drawing Justice: The Art of Courtroom Illustration, cover trials from 1964 to the present, including high-profile cases such as Charles Manson, Bernie Madoff, and John Gotti. An interactive video station lets visitors see the drawings as they were used in news broadcasts.
Read the full article HERE.
The exhibition, “Drawing Justice: The Art of Courtroom Illustrations,” is open until Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, in the South Gallery on the second floor of the Library of Congress’ Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. It is free and open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Tickets are not needed. An online version of the exhibit is available HERE.
Tom Girardi with beating victim Bryan Stow, by Bill Robles.
Thomas V. Girardi, a partner in Girardi|Keese, has been practicing law since 1965. Mr. Girardi specializes in commercial litigation, product liability law, toxic torts, and bad faith cases. He is an associate professor for Loyola Law School, and was the youngest member to ever be admitted to the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. He was president of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers 2005 to 2006. Mr. Girardi is a member of the Inner Circle of Advocates, an organization limited to 100 lawyers in the country who have obtained the largest verdicts in the United States. In 2010, he was honored the “Compassionate Gladiator”, one of three lawyers in the United States. He is one of the past national president of the American Board of Trial Advocates. He has been listed in the Best Lawyers in America® for 20 years and the Daily Journal's top lawyers in California since the list was first printed. In 2002, he was honored by the Los Angeles Business Journal as one of the “Most Powerful Attorneys” in Los Angeles. Mr. Girardi was president of the Litigation Counsel of America in 2015.
He was inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame by the California State Bar in 2003. With this presentation, he joined eleven other lawyers in the State who have been so honored since the award was first presented. He was awarded for his outstanding public support for the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs in 2003. He is the recipient of the 2004 Ted Horn Memorial Award from the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles and was just inducted into their 2008 Hall of Fame. He is listed in 2008 Benchmark’s America’s Leading Litigation Firms & Attorneys. In a recent survey of 65,000 lawyers to determine the finest lawyer in California, he was the highest vote-getter. He has been appointed to the Judicial Council of California by Chief Justice Ronald M. George. He is the recipient of the Irish American Bar Association’s Daniel O’Connell Award and the Italian American Lawyers Association’s Champion of Justice Award. He’s on the Dean’s Advisory Council at the University of California-Irvine, School of Law.