In 1990, looking for a change in lifestyle and location, Tom accepted a job as chief staff attorney at Florida’s First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee, where he worked in legal, administrative and supervisory capacities. In 2000 he was appointed Clerk of the Florida Supreme Court. He was just the twentieth person to hold this position since Florida became a state in 1845, and he learned the ins and outs of the state court system first hand during his thirteen years of service to the supreme court. He was Clerk during the presidential election cases in late 2000.
Besides his duties as clerk, Tom continued his long tradition of volunteer service to the bench and bar. As one judge said at Tom’s retirement ceremony at the Supreme Court, “Tom has been on every court committee known to man.” One of the many such committees was the District Court of Appeal Performance and Accountability Commission. While Clerk, Tom served on the Board of Directors of the Florida Courts E-Filing Authority. He was also the Court’s unofficial liaison to the Florida Court Technology Commission and served on several committees of that Commission. He still serves on many of those committees.
Tom has also been very active in The Florida Bar. He serves as vice chair of the Appellate Court Rules Committee. He is also on the Rules of Judicial Administration Committee. He has chaired two sections of the Bar– Government Lawyers and Appellate Practice – and remains active in both. The Appellate Practice Section honored him in 2007 with the James C. Adkins Award for his contributions to improving appellate practice in Florida. Tom was also Chair of the CLE Committee of the Bar.
Tom served as vice chair of the Technology Committee of the Vision 2016 Commission, which was tasked with a comprehensive study of the future practice of law in Florida. He also remains active as a retired member in the National Conference of Appellate Court Clerks, having served as its president and having won its highest award, the J.O. Sentell Award on 2013, for his outstanding contributions to improving appellate court operations through the country.
Tom has been active in many community organizations. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Florida’s First Amendment Foundation. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Florida Supreme Court Historical Society. For four years he was president of the congregation at his church and three years on the board of directors of ECHO, a charitable organization serving the homeless in
Tallahassee. He also served for many years as a judge in Teen Court in Leon County. He is a member of the Tallahassee Bar Association and was a charter member of the First District Appellate Inn of Court.
Tom also has considerable teaching experience. He has taught law at the University of Miami and St. Thomas University schools of law. He has presented at many national conferences such the E-Court Conference sponsored by the National Center for State Courts. In Florida besides teaching at Florida Bar seminars, he has taught at Florida judicial education seminars. The last five years as Clerk he taught Supreme Court jurisdiction at the new appellate judges’ course.
Besides practicing appellate law at The Mills Firm, Tom is president of TLH Consulting Group LLC. In that capacity he provides non-legal advice to various groups about court operations.