Thom made a lasting impression on everyone who met him. He was a leader and a visionary and he was committed to developing great young lawyers. Thom inspired attorneys and staff and gave his clients 110%. We have lost our "biggest" leader, but his legacy will remain a part of RKC forever.
Before receiving his B.A., with honors, in 1959, and his J.D. in 1961 from the University of Florida, Thom served in the United States Marine Corps. A member of Florida Blue Key, he was Associate Editor of the University of Florida Law Review in 1960.
While in private practice, Thom tried lawsuits in Florida, Maine, Texas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, West Virginia, Michigan, and the Virgin Islands, to name a few, for such clients as General Motors Corporation, Ford Motor Company, Honda Motor Corporation, and Toyota Motors U.S.A. He has served as County Prosecutor and as a Florida Special Assistant State Attorney. In 1967, he was appointed Circuit Judge for the Florida Eighteenth Judicial Circuit, then served as Assistant to the Governor of Florida and as a member of the Florida Land Sales Board. From 1971 to 1974, he was County Attorney for Seminole County. Representing the Republican Party of Florida in 1992, he was instrumental in redrawing the historic district lines during the Florida Redistricting.
Thom served as a member of Florida's Federal Judicial Advisory Commission and the Board of Supervisors of the Spaceport Florida Authority. He was Chairman of the Florida Lawyers for President Bush in the 1988 and 1992 Presidential Campaigns, Florida General Counsel for the George Bush Presidential Campaigns of 1988 and 1992, and Florida General Counsel for the Bob Dole Presidential Campaign. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Florida Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company. Thom served on the Governor's 2001 Select Task Force on Elections, the 2002 Select Task Force on Election Procedures, Standards and Technology, and was Chairman of the Legislature's Study Committee on Public Records in 2002.
His professional memberships included Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, International Association of Defense Counsel, and American Board of Trial Advocates.
Thom served as Chairman of the Collins Center for Public Policy, as member of the Board of Visitors of Florida State College of Law, and as member of the Board of Trustees for the Law Center Association of the University of Florida.
Throughout his career, Thom maintained a strong belief in the preservation of our resources. Often referred to as the “Defender of the Everglades,” Thom was the lead counsel for The Everglades Foundation, Inc. since 1989. A committed environmentalist, Thom was a leading figure in the effort to save the endangered Florida manatee. In the late 1980s, he worked to implement some of the first manatee protection laws. To this end, he represented such organizations as Save the Manatees, The Everglades Foundations, Inc., The Everglades Trust, Inc., and Save Our Everglades. Thom was Chairman of the Board and General Counsel of The Everglades Trust and former General Counsel of The Everglades Foundation. He was instrumental in the passage of two constitutional amendments, the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, and in obtaining several billion dollars in funding from the federal government and the State of Florida for Everglades restoration.