Thursday, June 11, 2015

She Draws a Crowd: Chatting with Courtroom Artist Elizabeth Williams

In this courtroom sketch by Elizabeth Williams, sports marketing executive Aaron Davidson, foreground center, appears at federal court in New York for arraignment on conspiracy and other charges stemming from the FIFA corruption scandal, Friday, May 29, 2015.
Elizabeth Williams/Associated Press
As one of the prosecution’s key witnesses took the stand Wednesday in a trial charging Dewey & LeBoeuf’s three former leaders with defrauding creditors, reporters weren’t the only ones capturing the activity in the courtroom.
From the second row, longtime courtroom artist Elizabeth Williams illustrated the scene in a series of quickly drawn images showing everything from the faces of the three defendants to the American Flag perched behind the judge’s bench.
Ms. Williams told Law Blog that courtroom illustrators are a dying breed; 15 to 20 artists worked full time in the New York courts in the 1980s, she recalls, but only two or three remain today. “It’s really on the wane,” she says.
Ms. Williams got her start in the field in Los Angeles in 1980 after realizing her dream of being a fashion illustrator might not be very lucrative.

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