Thomas “Tom” Girardi (June 3, 1939) is a former attorney and co-founder of Girardi & Keese, a downtown Los Angeles law firm.
Girardi graduated from Loyola High School (Los Angeles) in 1957. He received his undergraduate degree from Loyola Marymount University in 1961, his J.D. degree from Loyola Law School in 1964, and an LL.M. from New York University in 1965. In 1970, Girardi became the first attorney in the state of California to win a $1 million-plus award for a medical malpractice case. Girardi has handled major cases against the former Lockheed Corp (now the Lockheed Martin Corp.), Pacific Gas & Electric Co, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and Hollywood’s seven major movie studios.
In a notable case against Pacific Gas & Electric, the utility company agreed to pay $460 million to 650 residents of the desert community of Hinkley, California. The residents blamed incidents of cancer and other diseases on contaminated water leaked from a gas pumping station. This case was the inspiration for the film Erin Brockovich (2000) starring Julia Roberts. “That particular case revolutionized people’s thinking about all the toxic things they are exposed to,” he told Attorney at Law magazine. Girardi also served as an adviser on the film. In 2003, he received the honor of being inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame by the California State Bar. According to his website, he is a Member of the Board of Directors and former President of the prestigious International Academy of Trial Lawyers, an invitation-only worldwide organization, limited to 500 trial lawyers. Girardi is also the first trial lawyer to be appointed to the California Judicial Council, the policymaking body of the state courts.
Girardi was known for his work in Democratic party politics, donating millions of dollars to campaigns, playing a role in fundraising events, and giving advice to governors in regard to judicial appointments.