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Warren Lightfoot’s Sculpting Skills on Show in Birmingham Bar Bulletin and Portico Homewood

June 22, 2022

As lawyers leave the profession, many fill the void left by their billable-hour commitments with hobbies and activities they couldn’t fully explore while practicing. Some pen novels. Others travel or launch business ventures. 

The favorite hobby of Warren Lightfoot, our retired founding partner, is more hands-on. The Birmingham Bar Bulletin and Portico Homewood recently profiled Warren’s unique sculpting and drawing skills, which he has pursued since his mother enrolled him in art classes at the age of nine.

"I used that gift in the summer of 1960 while waiting to go into the Army, and I made a living for myself and a buddy across the state of Florida as an itinerant beach artist drawing caricatures," Warren told the Bulletin. "I used it very little in the Army or in law school, but later would draw or sculpt for our children's amusement or put an occasional sketch of a lawyer or judge in the Birmingham Bar's Bulletin." 

Warren continued sculpting and drawing while in practice as a fun way to create memorable mementos for his legal clients. Warren’s hobby, however, evolved into a bigger undertaking after his wife, Robbie, discovered a local bronze foundry that he could partner with. To date, Warren has completed 55 bronze sculptures and two abstract works, with all of his commissions arising from word-of-mouth. His favorite sculpting subjects? Unsurprisingly, prominent figures in the law and other professions. His busts of judicial luminaries decorate high court chambers in the United States and Canada, including one of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in the U.S. Supreme Court's rotunda. 

The Supreme Court Historical Society's chairman recently asked Warren to cast a bust of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Warren shipped a clay version this spring to the historical society, which is in the process of bronzing the sculpture.

"Before I started on RBG, I printed out about a hundred photographs of her from many angles off the internet, and over the course of about 18 hours sculpted her in clay," Warren said. 

Even though art and the law may seem like disciplines, they can intersect in surprising ways. Warren noted that he learned many lessons about the law, ranging from his embrace of patience to his acceptance of imperfection.

"I learned the value of hard work and being open to different approaches, and I found that those disciplines applied to the courtroom as much as to the studio," Warren told the Bulletin. "In art, as in law and life, the sweetest successes come at the highest cost every time, all the time."

See Warren at work on his sculpture of RBG:

 

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