Tom’s practice is devoted to defending clients against high-profile reputational attacks in print, broadcast, and online media outlets and litigating complex business disputes.

In 2019, Tom secured a jury verdict for Dr. Fred Eshelman, a prominent North Carolina investor and philanthropist, in a libel action filed against Puma Biotechnology and its CEO. After a five-day trial, the jury found that the defendants had made false and defamatory statements about Dr. Eshelman in a presentation they had sent to Puma’s investors during a proxy contest. As a result of the win, The National Law Journal honored Tom and the Clare Locke LLP trial team on its list of “Winning Litigators” for 2019.

In November 2016, Tom 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. 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.

Tom 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 theThe Cincinnati Enquirer, resulting in a prominent front-page apology, a complete retraction of the news articles relying on the stolen voicemails, and a settlement to Chiquita in excess of $10 million.

Tom is ranked in the Chambers USA Guide for nationwide first amendment litigation⏤and also ranked by Chambers High Net Worth in the category of global defamation/reputation management providers. He is a Super Lawyer for Business Litigation and Media and Advertising and is a BTI Consulting ClientService All-Star MVP.  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 the first Hurricane Katrina case to go to trial.

Prior to founding Clare Locke LLP, Tom was an equity partner at one of the nation’s premier litigation firms. With 20 years of experience handling high-stakes 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, real estate development, data privacy, government enforcement and regulations, and leak investigations.


  • 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


University of Notre Dame Law School,
J.D., Summa Cum Laude, 1995

  • Notre Dame Law Review, Editor-In-Chief
  • Farabaugh Prize for High Scholarship in Law

University of Notre Dame, B.A., Cum Laude, 1992


Partner, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, 2001-2014

Associate, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, 1996-2001

Law Clerk to the Honorable Kenneth F. Ripple, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 1995-1996