Tom is a member of Frost Brown Todd and a principal in the Government Services and Appellate practice groups. He also currently serves as Senior Adviser to the Federal Commission on School Safety. In that role he serves as a liaison between the four FCSS members, Education Secretary and Commission Chair Betsy Devos, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Health & Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. He also works closely with the Domestic Policy Council at the White House on these issues.
He previously served as the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the United States Department of Justice. As the Assistant Attorney General, Tom oversaw the Appellate, Criminal, Disability Rights, Education, Employment, Federal Coordination & Compliance, Housing, Immigration and Employee Rights, Policy & Strategy, Special Litigation, and Voting Sections. Prior to joining the Department of Justice Tom was counsel to Indiana Governor and now Vice-President Mike Pence.
Attorney General Sessions appointed Tom to the Violent Crime Reduction Task Force and asked him to Chair the Hate Crimes Sub-Committee. Tom made fighting hate crimes a priority during his time at the Department of Justice, speaking to dozens of groups on human rights, and emphasizing the investigation and prosecution of these crimes during his tenure. Tom also served on the Department of Justice’s Regulatory Reform Task Force and was very active in reviewing so-called “sub-regulatory guidance” documents and practices.
Tom has extensive experience in representing clients in regulatory, administrative, trial and appellate matters in local, state and federal matters. Tom has spoken extensively on civil rights issues, including appearances on National Public Radio and the BBC as well as for the ABA, the NSBA, the ACLU, NACUA, the ADL and many other diverse organizations. Tom is also one of the leading advocates in the United States with respect to combatting the twin scourges of student drug use and cyberbullying/student suicide. He has written extensively in various publications and law journals including articles such as Facebook Fatalities, Social Networking, and the First Amendment, 31 Pace L. Rev. 182 (2011); Lessons from the Lord of the Flies: The Responsibility of Schools to Protect Students from Internet Threats and Cyber-Hate Speech, 215 Ed.Law Rep. 227 (February 22, 2007); and, Slamming in Cyberspace: The Boundaries of Student 1st Amendment Rights, The Computer & Internet Lawyer, Vol. 21, No. 4, p. 14 (April, 2004). He is a two-time winner of the Indiana State Bar Association’s Benjamin Harrison Writing Award. He has also won the prestigious Burton Award for Legal Achievement co-sponsored by the Library of Congress for his work. For many years Tom has been listed in the “The Best Lawyers in America®” as well as being named in “Indiana Super Lawyers®.” In 2016 he was named Municipal Lawyer of the Year.
Tom also provides legal advice on campaign, finance, and election issues to political parties and candidates throughout the United States. He is a former Chair of the Indiana Recount and the Indiana Election Commissions, and was instrumental in the enactment and implementation of Indiana’s landmark voter ID law, affirmed by the United States Supreme Court in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, 553 U.S. 181 (2008). His decision in the Charlie White Secretary of State challenge was affirmed by the Indiana Supreme Court in White v. Indiana Democratic Party, 936 N.E. 2d 481 (Ind. 2012).
Tom is a former member of the Board of Directors of the National School Boards Association, a former chair of the NSBA’s Council of School Attorneys, a former member of the Board of Governors for the 7th Circuit Bar Association, and former Vice-Chair of the Republican National Lawyers Association. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Timmy Global Health, a non-profit dedicated to providing health to impoverished individuals throughout the world, as well as a member of the White River Park State Commission.
Over the past 29 years Tom has handled hundreds of jury, bench and administrative trials, more than 100 appeals in various state and federal courts as well as the United States Supreme Court. Many of these matters involved Constitutional challenges, usually in the educational or law enforcement context. Tom also has extensive experience filing amici curie briefs before the United States Supreme Court for educational advocacy groups including the National School Boards Association, as well as advocating before Congress and state legislators on various issues.
As chair of the bi-partisan Indiana Election Commission (2005-2011) and later the Indiana Recount Commission (208-2009) Tom served as an administrative law judge in hundreds of matters, with several that reached the appellate courts including Indiana Recount Commission v. Indiana Democratic Party ex rel. Parker, 963 N.E.2d 481 (Ind. 2012).
Indiana University Maurer School of Law, J.D., 1987
Indiana University, B.S., 1984
Two-time winner, Benjamin Harrison Writing Award, Indiana State Bar Association, 2003 and 2005
Burton Award for Legal Achievement, co-sponsored by the Library of Congress, for article “Slamming in Cyberspace: The Boundaries of Student First Amendment Rights”, 2004
The Best Lawyers in America©, 2007–2017
The Best Lawyers in America©, Lawyer of the Year, Litigation – Municipal, 2017
Selected for inclusion in Indiana Super Lawyers®, 2009–2010, 2012–2018
AV® Rated, Martindale-Hubbell®
Indianapolis Bar Foundation Distinguished Fellow
American Bar Association (1988-Present)(Health Care Reform Task Force, 1993-94
Seventh Circuit Bar Association, Board of Governors, 2006-2014
Federal Bar Association, Indianapolis Chapter, 1996-2014, Secretary, 1999-2000, Vice-President, 2000-2002, President, 2003-2004
Historical Society of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Board Member & Fundraising Chair, 2002-2004
Indiana School Safety Specialist Advisory Council Founder and speaker, 1999 – present
Indiana State Bar Association, 1988-Present, Civil Rights Committee, 1993-1994, Council for Employment and Labor Law Board of Directors, 2002-2004, Veterans Affairs, 2014–present
Local Rules Committee for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, 1999-2000
National School Board Association, Council of School Attorneys, 1989-Present, Board of Directors, 2003-2014, Chair 2010-11, Secretary-2007, Legislative Committee; School Law Seminar Committee, Membership & State Council Relations Committee, Insurance Advisory Committee, Chair, and Publications Committee, Chair
Republican National Lawyers Association – Board Member, Vice Chair, 2004-2016, Indiana Chapter, Chair, 2003 – 2007
Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana, 1988-2010, Founder and Chairman of the Employment Law Section, 1997-98, Chair of CLE/Seminar Committee, 1999-2000, Chair of Awards Committee, 2000-2002, Chair of Rules Committee, 2002, Board Member, 1999-2002
Federalist Society – Co-Founder Indiana University Maurer School of Law Chapter, member 1986 – present
Defense Research Institute, 1988 – 2014
We the People Competition, Judge, 2006 – present