John Charles Thomas' practice focuses on appellate practice, general litigation, and alternative dispute resolution.

Thomas is a retired justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia. In that role he ruled on thousands of appellate matters addressing the full range of Virginia law including contracts, torts, property, public utilities, trust and estates, and taxation.

Thomas is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Virginia, the Supreme Court of the United States, and the United States Courts of Appeal for the 4th, 6th, 9th, 10th, and 11th and D.C. Circuits. He is an AAA certified Mediator and Arbitrator and serves on the AAA Panel of Commercial Arbitrators as well as on the AAA Panel of International Arbitrators. Since June 2005 he has been a Judge of the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland.

A frequent speaker and lecturer across the country and around the world, Thomas has lectured at the Interim University Center in Dubrovnik, Croatia on "Enforcing Interim Arbitral Awards Under the New York Convention"; he has delivered the Constitutional Law lecture to the Firsties at the United States Military Academy at West Point; and he has delivered the "First-Day, First Year" lectures at the University of Virginia School of Law and the College of William & Mary School of Law since 1990.  In 2017, he co-taught a coure on Appellate Advocacy at the University of Virginia School of Law.

Relevant Experience

  • Argued appellate matters involving insurance coverage issues, traumatic brain injury, international letters of credit, dealership terminations, defamation, automobile crashworthiness, workers compensation, medical malpractice, construction disputes, public official's right to hold office, and product liability.
  • Drafted appellate briefs regarding EPA regulations, Certificates of public need, trademark infringement, State environmental law, zoning, automobile crashworthiness, product liability, redistricting, public funding of business development, First Amendment billboard cases, asset purchase agreements, misappropriation of computer programs, trade secrets, state tax laws, maritime tort liability, and franchise law.
  • Mediated high-profile dispute regarding construction of public facility; long-term dispute within religious institution; multi-party insurance coverage and liability issues.
  • Arbitrated intellectual property dispute over ownership and use of photo database; construction dispute involving subsoil conditions; boundary dispute between Virginia localities; disputes arising under the World Anti-Doping Code in international sports.
  • Litigated franchise issues such as failure to meet standards, location of competing franchises, installation of drive throughs and quality control of ingredients; litigated construction suits, personal injury defense, and breach of buyout agreements.
  • Conducted mock appellate proceedings for arguments in U.S. Supreme Court, Supreme Court of Virginia, Supreme Court of Georgia, the New York Court of Appeals, the Second Circuit, the District of Columbia Circuit, the Fourth Circuit, the Eleventh Circuit, and the Federal Circuit.


  • Trustee Emeritus, The Thomas Jefferson Foundation
  • Member, Virginia, Richmond, Old Dominion, National, International and American Bar Associations
  • Fellow, American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, College of Commercial Arbitrators, and Virginia Law Foundation


  • Events

    • Hampton University Commencement, June 2014
    • William & Mary Law Commencement, May 2012
    • Speaker, Longwood University Commencement, May 2010
    • Speaker, Recent Developments in U.S. Law—Affecting International Arbitration, IFCIA - New Delhi, May 2008
    • Speaker, Diversity: What Difference Does It Make, National Consortium on Racial and Ethical Frames in the Courts, May 2008
    • Speaker, College of William & Mary, April 2008
    • Presenter, New York City Street Law Project, Martin Luther King High School, 2008
    • Presenter, Best Practices in Appellate Advocacy, North Carolina Attorneys General In-House Program, November 2007