When Thomas V. Girardi opened the doors of The Girardi Firm in downtown Los Angeles in 1965, he had a vision of building a law firm that would help anyone who had been injured by providing excellent counsel and a willingness to go to court to help them achieve a measure of justice.
“There is a moral component to every one of our cases, and that’s been true since day one,” says Girardi. “That’s allowed us to create a world-class law firm that’s truly here for the little guy.”
That philosophy has made Girardi | Keese into a firm that has succeeded far beyond Girardi’s original dreams. Today, it employs 30 lawyers and 30 law clerks in an office downtown where, “there’s always something happening,” says partner David Lira.
The firm has achieved more than $10 billion in verdicts and settlements during its history, including $4.85 billion against Merck for harm caused by Vioxx; $2.2 billion for California consumers defrauded by Sempra in the California energy crisis; $785 million against Lockheed in the Skunk Works litigation; $633 million for the residents of Hinkley, California poisoned by PG&E; and $545 million in a class action against Farmers Group and Zurich Financial Services.
While big dollars tell part of the story of Girardi | Keese, they leave out the larger impact the firm has on the thousands of people who walk through its doors. “One of the things that’s most amazing about Tom and the firm is that it’s still a firm that represents a single individual who suffered an injury because it’s the right thing to do,” says partner Robert Finnerty. Because of that, leading trial lawyers including Lira, Finnerty, Amy Solomon, James O’Callahan, David Bigelow, and Jack Girardi have amassed more million-dollar results in California than any other plaintiff firm.
“And now,” says Lira, “we’re creating a whole new generation of trial lawyers who will be here to help those who’ve been injured.” In the past few months, three of its young attorneys won back-to-back-to-back million-dollar verdicts, including Shawn McCann and Graham LippSmith, while Christopher Aumais scored headlines with his pleading on behalf of Bryan Stow against Frank McCourt and the Dodgers.
The firm takes great pride in its results and the character of its lawyers, as well as the preparation it brings to each case. “One thing that sets us apart is the resources we can dedicate to a case,” says Lira. The firm conducts millions of dollars of research on its own dime, hiring the best experts to ensure each client has the best shot at justice. “And we do this almost always with absolutely no cost to the client unless we win.”
“Always, always there have been the fundamentals that existed then and do now,” says Solomon, who joined the firm in 1986 as a law clerk. “We have the passionate desire to fight for the little guy. And to help people who have been harmed get their lives back to the best that it can be done, and to do that in the most professional and ethical way.
"But always, we have an eye on putting 12 jurors in the box and letting the civil justice system do what it does best. That has never changed and will never change.”
“We all learned from the beginning from Tom that being a trial lawyer is the ultimate warrior for the voiceless,” she says.