Thomas W. Wilson Sr. Chairman Emeritus




When an organization exhibits the kind of growth, innovation and congeniality that one finds at Wilson Elser, it is clear there is a master plan in place, lofty goals to inspire achievement and a steady hand at the wheel. For nearly 35 years, Tom Wilson, a founding partner and now Chairman Emeritus of Wilson Elser, has led by example, overseeing the firm’s evolution from an idea to the world's largest insurance defense firm, and a multidisciplinary practice including professional and products liability, program management, government relations, malpractice, toxic torts, commercial disputes and coverage, among others.

The first partners leveraged the international aspects of the London Market to create opportunities for their fledgling practice and gain entry to domestic markets and develop a network of nationwide offices. Tom personally represented a wide range of insurance interests, domestically and internationally. Throughout his career, he has influenced the language, product development and business aspects of insurers, managing agents and brokers, from drafting insurance and reinsurance language, to defending against challenges, to handling market issues, to providing counsel on product development and new opportunities for insurance. Tom also played a pioneering role in the development of claims-made insurance as well as ERISA liability.

While admitted to practice in New York and the District of Columbia as well as before the U.S. Supreme Court, Tom has hit his stride as adviser, consultant and all-around sounding board for some 800 attorneys who consider him a valuable resource. Having at one time or another embraced many disciplines of the law, he is a mainstay for the partners who seek his input on the issues the firm faces in the new millennium. A conversation with Tom is more than a exposition of today’s issues – it is a steel-trap take on the best course of action based on instinct, common sense and real-life experience.

Tom is a respected member of the New York State Bar Association, the American Bar Association and the Defense Research Institute. In addition, he is a member of the Professional Liability Underwriting Society and the Association of Managing General Agents, and a former member of the American Insurance Association Claims Executive Council.

Prior to Wilson Elser, Tom served in the U.S. Army and was General Counsel to Prudential Insurance Company of Great Britain/Skandia Insurance Company. A graduate of Columbia Law School and Columbia College, Tom is AV® Preeminent™ rated by Martindale-Hubbell and was selected for inclusion in New York Super Lawyers in 2011 and also has been listed in Who’s Who in the World.

“Insurance defense is where we came from,” says Tom, “it’s what makes us the best.”