Tom graduated from Ft. Myers Senior High School in 1967, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1971, and the University of Florida College of Law in 1974. He practiced law from 1974 to 1994, in Lee County, Florida, as a general practitioner, handling principally commercial litigation, wills, trusts and estates, and real estate and commercial transactions. In 1992 he became a board certified wills, trusts and estates lawyer. He served as a Director of the Lee County Legal Aid Society from 1976 to 1979; Treasurer, Secretary, Vice President and President of the Lee County Bar Association from 1982 to 1986; Chair of the 20th Circuit Grievance Committee 20A in 1986; and member of the Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee in 1988. He taught business law at the Fort Myers campus of U.S.F. from 1975 to 1980. He was a charter member of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Property Owners Association and served on the Board of Directors of the South Florida Bank. He was a circuit judge in the Twentieth Circuit from 1994 to March 31, 2016 when he retired from that position. He is now a lawyer in private practice in Lee County.