Thomas H. Sear

Senior Lecturing Fellow


Tom Sear practices law at Jones Day. For over 40 years he has been a trial lawyer and litigator in New York. Early in his career he was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York. One of his cases involved the prosecution of a notorious narcotics dealer, Leroy “Nicky” Barnes. Sear appears in the 2007 documentary film “Mr. Untouchable,” which is about Barnes. He received a United States Department of Justice Special Commendation Award for his role in the prosecution of Barnes.

For many years in private practice Sear handled a wide variety of significant commercial law, securities, real estate, environmental, product liability, and criminal matters in New York and throughout the United States.

For the past 24 years Sear’s practice has primarily focused on representing policyholders in insurance coverage matters. Some of his cases have been among the most significant litigated insurance matters in the United States. For example, in 2010 Sear and his team at Jones Day were successful in obtaining $475 million for Huntsman Corporation on a hotly contested insurance claim. Other clients for which Sear has been the lead lawyer include International Business Machines Corporation, GenCorp., J.P. Morgan, PaineWebber, Pitney Bowes, The Sherwin-Williams Company, Stone & Webster, Westinghouse Electric Corporation, and W.R. Grace & Co.

For the past 16 years Sear has taught the Insurance Law course at Columbia University School of Law. He has repeatedly been designated by Chambers USA as one of “America’s Leading Lawyers” and by Law & Politics magazine as a “New York Super Lawyer.” Euromoney Legal Group has designated him as one of the “World’s Leading Insurance and Reinsurance Lawyers.”

Sear received his JD with highest honors from Duke Law School in 1972.