Tom’s practice is devoted to litigating complex business disputes and vindicating clients against high-profile reputational attacks in print, broadcast, and online media outlets.
Prior to founding Clare Locke LLP, Tom was an equity partner at one of the nation’s premier litigation firms. With more than 19 years experience handling high-stakes commercial litigation matters in state and federal courts across the country, he has acted as lead counsel and lead trial counsel in each of the following areas: defamation, invasion of privacy, bankruptcy adversary proceedings, contract disputes, fraudulent conveyance actions, product liability, international arbitration, asbestos liability, Uniform Commercial Code, securities, RICO, catastrophe litigation, insurance coverage, aviation, real estate development, data privacy, government enforcement and regulatory matters, and internal leak investigations.
In 2017 Tom was ranked in the Chambers USA Guide for nationwide first amendment litigation. Tom was also ranked in the category of global defamation/reputation management providers in the inaugural Chambers HNW 2016 directory for the private wealth market. Also in 2016 and 2017, Tom was named a Super Lawyer for Business Litigation and Media and Advertising. Tom also has been named a BTI Consulting Client-Service All-Star MVP—one of only 54 attorneys nationwide nominated by clients for exceptional client service multiple years in a row (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017). Earlier in his career, he was featured on The National Law Journal’s “Defense Hot List” for the successful outcome he achieved as trial counsel for Nationwide Insurance Company in Leonard vs. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, the first, precedent-setting Hurricane Katrina insurance coverage case to go to trial, against famed plaintiffs’ lawyer Dickie Scruggs.
Tom is perhaps best known, however, for representing high-profile clients who are targeted in hostile media investigations or the subject of false statements in the press. He has handled defamation matters for Fortune 500 companies and prominent individuals, including CEOs, hedge-fund managers, university presidents, professional athletes and sports teams, celebrities, journalists, military officials, and other high-profile individuals who find themselves under attack by the media or other interests intent on damaging their reputations. Tom played a central role representing Chiquita in several highly-publicized matters involving the theft of voicemail messages by a reporter at the The Cincinnati Enquirer, resulting in a prominent front-page apology, a complete retraction of the news articles relying on the stolen voicemails, and a cash settlement to Chiquita in excess of $10 million.
Tom recently represented UVA Associate Dean Nicole Eramo in her defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone magazine relating to a highly publicized article falsely alleging the cover-up of an alleged gang rape on campus. In November 2016, a jury found the defendants liable for defamation and awarded Ms. Eramo $3 million in damages. Virginia Lawyer’s Weekly included the case in its annual compilation of “Largest Verdicts” for 2016.
- Commonwealth of Virginia
- District of Columbia
- United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- United States District Court for the District of Columbia
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
- United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia
- United States District Court for the District of Maryland
- United States District Court for the District of Colorado
- Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University Law Center, Law In A New Media World
- Guest Lecturer, Georgetown University McDonough School of Business, Defending the Bottom Line
- Instructor, University of Notre Dame Law School, Intensive Trial Advocacy Program
- Guest Lecturer, American University, Journalism and New Media Seminar
- Instructor, D.C. Bar Pre-Trial Skills Series, Taking and Defending Depositions
- Instructor, D.C. Bar CLE Program, Getting The Most Out Of Your Deposition
- Lecturer, CLE Program, Managing a Hostile Press
- Instructor, CLE Program, Arbitration: Litigation Alternative & Risk Management Tool
- Panelist, New York Times v. Sullivan After Fifty Years: The Struggle In the Supreme Court To Define Libel Law And The Outlook For A Social Media World