- AV rated in Martindale Hubbell
- Included in The Best Lawyers in America ® for Commercial Litigation
- Pennsylvania’s Super Lawyers in Philadelphia Magazine since 2004
- Harrisburg Magazine’s Reader’s Choice for Business Law Attorney 2007-2010
- Select Lawyers, Family, General Civil Litigation (2016)
- Duquesne University School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude
- Editor-in-Chief of the Duquesne Law Review
- Shippensburg University, B.A.
- Major, US Army; Pennsylvania Army National Guard; Active Duty, Afghanistan, 2005
Thomas French is recognized as a leading business and corporate litigation attorney. He is one of the firm's most experienced commercial litigators, having tried numerous cases to verdict and appeal over the course of his career. He served as Chairman of the firm's litigation practice group for many years, and is now General Counsel to the Firm.
As a young attorney, following graduation at the top of his law school class, he represented a wholesale consumer products distributor in a case against computer giant, Unisys Corporation. In that case, he obtained a verdict in excess of one million dollars, at the time believed to be one of the largest verdicts ever returned by a Harrisburg jury. Later, he represented the owners of the historic Bedford Springs Hotel, who had deadlocked on plans to redevelop the resort. In 2007, he mounted a successful jury trial defense of a bank against a claim by a corporate minority shareholder that the bank had caused $84 million in damages resulting from the plaintiff’s alleged loss of control of a leading concrete and aggregate supply company. In 2014, he led a trial team that successfully litigated an ownership and control dispute among owners of a major northeastern Marcellus Shale energy industry service company.
More recently, Mr. French has litigated complex federal antitrust lawsuits filed in United States District Courts throughout the country. He has appeared many times before the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation.
Mr. French has also defended clients in multi-million dollar intellectual property litigations. He served as local trial counsel on behalf of SmithKline Beecham in a case involving the validity of patents covering some of the world’s most commonly used vaccines. He also was a member of the litigation team that defended Samsung in a patent infringement action involving light emitting diode technology used in its smart phones, which resulted in a dismissal with prejudice. In 2011, he represented a Pennsylvania inventor and manufacturer, obtaining a defense jury verdict in one of the first cases tried under the Pennsylvania Uniform Trade Secrets Act. He has successfully litigated trademark and copyright infringement cases as well.
Mr. French has represented the owner of the “Zero Restriction”® and “ZR” ® brand golf apparel company in litigation arising from the sale of the company; sued Kmart corporation on behalf of a Pennsylvania grocery store chain for damages from a botched shopping mall development project; represented the seller of a drug store chain against the purchaser who consolidated the company into its own operations and then refused to pay the agreed upon purchase price; represented government and institutional investors in numerous cases against financial advisors who illegally invested and managed millions of dollars in public funds, and many other prominent businesses and institutions in their most important disputes.
In this regard, Mr. French has also represented governmental entities, business organizations, financial institutions and individuals in regulatory, criminal and internal investigations of alleged misconduct. Matters under investigation in those cases ranged from alleged securities and bank fraud, medical reimbursement fraud, and government ethics violations and other forms of employee misconduct.
Counted among Mr. French’s clients are a number of Pennsylvania’s regional banks and insurance companies. Mr. French handles litigation involving insurance coverage, bad faith insurance practices, and regulatory issues. He frequently defends banks and other fiduciaries in trust and estate litigation where parties claim negligent investment and mismanagement of trust funds have occurred. He has tried cases involving the validity of wills, and numerous fiduciary surcharge actions.
Other attorneys and accountants have asked Mr. French to represent them when they have been sued in professional malpractice cases. After one particularly contentious case was finally resolved, opposing counsel retained Mr. French to defend him personally when he was named as a defendant in a suit by a former client. In fact, many of Mr. French’s litigation cases are referred to him by other attorneys who trust him to represent their own clients with their most important litigation matters.
As an experienced appellate attorney, Mr. French has successfully handled appeals before the Pennsylvania Supreme, Superior and Commonwealth Courts, and the United States Courts of Appeals for the Third and Eleventh Circuits. He also served as lead counsel on petition for certiorari before the United States Supreme Court.
In addition to his private practice experience, Mr. French served as a military attorney in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General Corps, and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. In 2005, he was called to active duty and deployed to Afghanistan, where he advised commanders on rules of engagement and other military law issues.
In 2012, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett appointed Mr. French as a Commissioner to the Board of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. He was also appointed by U. S. Senator Patrick Toomey to serve on his United States Military Academy selection committee. Mr. French is active in the community, serving on boards of non-profit organizations, including the YMCA. He is a frequent speaker before various business and professional associations and is a former member of the adjunct faculties of the law schools at Widener and Penn State Universities.
Bar & Court Admissions
- Supreme Court of the United States of America
- Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
- United States Courts of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Third Circuit and Eleventh Circuit
- United States District Court for the Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of Pennsylvania and the Western District of Michigan
- Eight Rhoads & Sinon LLP Attorneys Named to 2017 Best Lawyers® List
- Rhoads & Sinon LLP Attorney Invited into Prestigious Litigation Counsel of America (“LCA”)
- Eight Rhoads & Sinon LLP Attorneys Named to 2016 Best Lawyers® in America List
- RHOADS & SINON APPELLATE TEAM WINS TRADE SECRETS APPEAL
- Tom French Appointed as a Member of the Study Committee on Social Media Privacy for the Uniform Law Commission
- Governor appoints Rhoads & Sinon LLP Partner Thomas French to Board of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws
- Rhoads & Sinon Trial Team Wins Trade Secrets Jury Verdict
Seminars & Speaking Engagements
- Thomas A. French and Amanda J. Lavis present legal ethics and cyber security topics at Association of Corporate Counsel Conference
- Fiduciary Duty and Litigation Risk - Spotting the Issues - 2014
- Thomas French to speak at Pennsylvania Bankers Association Wealth Management and Trust Conference
- Thomas French will return as a guest speaker to the Central Pennsylvania Chapter of Certified Fraud Examiners.
- Thomas French will return to the Pennsylvania Bankers Association School of Trust, for his sixth year serving as an instructor of fiduciary law and Orphans' Court litigation
- Lecturer, Certified Trust Financial Planners
- Lecturer, Pennsylvania Bankers Association
- Lecturer, Pennsylvania Bar Institute
- Lecturer, Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants
- Lecturer, Pennsylvania Association of Certified Fraud Examiners
- Lecturer, Association of Corporate Counsel
- Thomas French advises on conducting internal investigations at McKonly & Asbury’s Security/Fraud Conference,December 2016
- Rhoads & Sinon attorneys publish trade secrets article in "For the Defense", a nationally circulated professional magazine,For The Defense Magazine,July 2013
- November 2012
- September 21, 2011
- Penn Live.com
- Author, “Tender Offers, Lock-ups and the Williams Act: Critical Analysis of Mobile Corp. v. Marathon Oil Co.”,21 Duq. Law. Rev. 669
- Author, “Note: Metromedia, Inc. v. City of San Diego”,20 Duq. Law. Rev. 637
- 75 Pa. CPA Journal 18
- Contributing author “Evaluating, Settling and Proving Business Damages in Pennsylvania”
Professional & Community Affiliations
- Trial Advocacy Faculty, Pennsylvania State University School of Law, 1996-2004
- Adjunct Professor of Law, Widener University School of Law (Pennsylvania Civil Practice and Procedure, Trial Advocacy), 1993-1996
- YMCA of Harrisburg Area, Board of Directors, 2001-present; Chairman 2006-2008; West Shore Branch Board of Managers, 1993-2001; Chairman, 1997-1999
- Member, Board of Directors, West Shore Country Club
- Member, Professional Liability Defense Federation
- Member, Pennsylvania Defense Institute
- Member, Defense Research Institute
- United States Military Academy Selection Committee of U.S. Senator Patrick Toomey
- Commissioner, Board of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, representing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (2012-2015)
- Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America