Bloomberg Law
Jan. 11, 2022, 2:10 AM

Tom Girardi on Brink of Disbarment After Judge’s Recommendation

Joyce E. Cutler
Joyce E. Cutler
Staff Correspondent

Disgraced attorney Tom Girardi, who did not respond to or fight disciplinary charges related to stealing from clients, now faces a judge’s formal recommendation that he be disbarred.

Girardi was charged with 14 counts of violating ethics rules, including withholding $2 million due to survivor family members of people killed in the crash of Lion Air flight 610. He also was charged with failing to give court-awarded funds to clients, maintaining funds in client security accounts, lying about contingency fees, and misappropriating funds.

State Bar Court Judge Yvette Roland recommended that Girardi “be disbarred from the practice of law in California and that his name be stricken from the roll of attorneys.”

She also ordered Girardi to pay more than $2.2 million, plus 10% interest, to clients, a bankruptcy trustee, Anthem Inc., Medicare, and Garretson Resolution Group. The judge also ordered $5,000 in sanctions and awarded State Bar court costs.

Nicholas Van Brunt, with Sheppard Mullin in Los Angeles, said he no longer represents Robert Girardi who was conservator for Tom Girardi.

The now defunct Girardi Keese was found in contempt for keeping millions of dollars from clients.

A bar audit last spring found decades of missteps at the State Bar enabled Girardi.

Girardi will be placed on involuntary inactive status until the California Supreme Court reviews the recommendation and imposes discipline.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joyce E. Cutler in San Francisco at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom P. Taylor at