Tom specializes in civil appeals and insurance coverage, including litigation of coverage disputes. He has argued over four hundred cases in various appellate courts, including the Oregon and Washington supreme courts and courts of appeal, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He has also argued a case in the United States Supreme Court (Vernonia School District 47J v. Acton (1995)).
Tom also practices constitutional and election law. He has successfully challenged laws that infringe on free speech, as well as several voter-approved initiatives that improperly attempted to amend the Oregon Constitution. He has also successfully defended some initiatives against legal challenges.
Tom is perennially listed in Best Lawyers, the peer-review lawyer-rating service, in three different fields: appellate practice, insurance law, and First Amendment litigation. He has been named Oregon's "lawyer of the year" in each field – twice in the first one.
In 1990, the Oregon Supreme Court appointed Tom to be a part-time judge in the Multnomah County Circuit Court, and has re-appointed him every four years since then. He sits as judge once or twice each month, hearing motions.
In 2019, Oregon's two U.S. senators, following the recommendation of a bipartisan commission, included Tom on a list of four finalists for a vacant seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
A native Portlander, Tom has traveled extensively throughout the United States. He is married and has two daughters. His leisure interests include fly fishing, soccer (both playing and watching), and golf.