Greek-American judge is honored by his peers
The first Greek-American to rise to the position of a chief judge of the federal courts, Thomas Lambros was recently honored by the Legal Institute of Ashtabula in Ohio. In a public announcement by the District Court of Ohio, he is described as “fair and open-minded”, “courteous to lawyers and litigants” and “the most creative, innovative judge in the district”. As stated in the same announcement, he “has repeatedly been honored for his fairness and innovative tactics in creating dispute resolution systems which can avoid lengthy and expensive jury trials.”
According to the Athens News Agency, his best-known and more widely-endorsed method is the «Summary Jury Trial», which was created by the GreekAmerican judge in 1980. Under this procedure, attorneys present a case before a jury without extracting lengthy testimonies from witnesses, but by summarizing the facts and claims regarding the matter in dispute. Afterwards, the judge issues a judgment that is not binding, but allows for an out-of-court settlement. The technique was quickly recognized as an effective way of speeding up the administration of justice and in 1984 it was endorsed by the Federal Judicial Conference of the United States.
A son of Greek immigrants Demetrios and Panagoula Lambros, Thomas Lambros graduated from Cleveland-Marshall Law School and in 1952, aged 22, he became the youngest person to pass the Ohio Bar examination. Eight years later, he was elected to serve on the Ashtabula County Court of Common Pleas. In this capacity, he established a voluntary public defender program, offering free counsel to poor defendants.
His love for his profession kept guiding him to the top of hierarchy. In 1967, at age 37, he was appointed a federal court judge by president Lyndon B. Johnson, thereby becoming the first Greek-American to assume the role of a federal judge. On January 16, 1990, he was sworn in as the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District Court of Ohio.
A different kind of recognition came six years later, when president Bill Clinton signed a decree naming the courthouse and federal building in Youngstown, Ohio, after judge Thomas Lambros.