"H. Louis Sirkin is one of the nation's preeminent First Amendment and criminal defense attorneys. Over more than 45 years of practice, Sirkin has consistently defended the free speech and constitutional rights of countless individuals and businesses, including adult entertainment establishments, museums, artists, activists, and ordinary citizens in all types of cases. Lou is also a Fellow of the American Board of Criminal Lawyers.

Born in Cincinnati in 1940, Sirkin obtained both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Cincinnati. He entered private practice and quickly earned a reputation as an effective civil rights lawyer. He achieved national prominence in 1990 when he successfully defended Dennis Barrie, the director of the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, against obscenity charges for displaying the nude artwork of Robert Mapplethorpe,. The controversy was later depicted in the Golden Globe-winning movie Dirty Pictures (2000). He has also served as President of the First Amendment Lawyers Association and the Greater Cincinnati Criminal Defense Lawyers Association.

Sirkin is a true believer and has distinguished himself as a compassionate mentor, a sought-after lecturer, and a tireless advocate. He has represented persons whose message was completely contrary to his own beliefs and has risked both his career and his physical safety to do so. (He was once escorted out the rear door of the courthouse to avoid being assaulted by individuals who opposed his clients.) But perhaps Sirkin's most notable accomplishment was his 2002 victory before the United States Supreme Court in Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, which declared the Child Pornography Prevention Act unconstitutional."

"H. Louis Sirkin"
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"First Amendment attorney H. Louis Sirkin, 64, of Amberley Village, is in his 40th year of practice, specializing in defense of obscenity and pornography cases.

He and associate Jennifer Kinsley recently won a landmark case in Pittsburgh when U.S. District Judge Gary Lancaster ruled that federal anti-obscenity laws were unconstitutional (U.S. vs. Extreme Associates).

What the Pittsburgh ruling means for Cincinnati: (It) should bring a re-examination of issues concerning ... obscenity. It says that although obscenity is not protected by the First Amendment, people still have a right to possess it in the privacy of their own homes. But if distributors can't disseminate it, people can't buy it, so it's a meaningless right

I chose the First Amendment as a specialty because: I was a political science major (at University of Cincinnati, where he also got his law degree) and learned the importance of freedom of speech and the importance of the right to speak your mind.

The adult entertainment industry deserves superior legal representation because: They are the foot soldiers of the First Amendment. A lot of significant and important decisions involving free speech have come from adult entertainment cases."

"A moment with Louis Sirkin"
Monday, October 29, 2001
Obscenity cases define Sirkin's career

By Dan Horn
The Cincinnati Enquirer
"H. Louis Sirkin didn't set out to build his legal career around pornography cases. It just worked out that way. The Cincinnati lawyer started out in the 1970s with a few store owners who were in trouble for selling adult magazines. One case led to another, and within a year or so he was traveling the country to defend adult businesses accused of obscenity. As the industry expanded from magazines to videos to the Internet, Mr. Sirkin was there to defend it.

His argument was almost always the same: Adults have a constitutional right to watch what they like. "I don't believe in exploiting or degrading anyone," says Mr. Sirkin, who has been practicing law for more than 30 years. "But I believe in choices." He will make the same basic argument Tuesday in his first appearance before the U.S. Supreme Court.

He represents the Free Speech Coalition, a trade association of adult businesses that opposes a portion of the Child Pornography Prevention Act. Mr. Sirkin will argue that the law is so vague it would allow prosecutors to go after adult pornography featuring young-looking adult actors.

The case is another reminder of just how closely his career has been linked to the adult industry.

At times, his career path has led to some wildly different clients, from Hustler publisher Larry Flynt to the Contemporary Arts Center and its Robert Mapplethorpe photo exhibit."

"Obscenity cases define Sirkin's career" by Dan Horn
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