John Charles Thomas

  • Lecturer

Judge John Charles Thomas, a retired justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia, teaches Appellate Practice at the University of Virginia School of Law. Thomas is also a senior partner at the law firm Hunton & Williams, where he serves as chief of appellate practice. 

Thomas is also a judge of the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland, which handles cases involving violations of the World Anti-Doping Code for all Olympic Sports, the Tour de France, FIFA and LPGA. 

Thomas was educated at the University of Virginia, where he graduated with distinction in 1972. He earned his J.D. from UVA Law in 1975. 

He recently completed a more than 11-year term as a member of the Board of Visitors of the College of William and Mary.  He is a trustee emeritus of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which owns and operates Monticello and a “Friend of the West Point Class of 1917.” 

Thomas is a frequent speaker and lecturer across the country and the world. He has twice delivered The Constitutional Law Lecture at the United States Military Academy at West Point, and has delivered the Lewis Powell Lecture at the Washington and Lee Law School. 

Since 1990 he has delivered the first day/first year law lecture at one or more of several prominent law schools, including UVA Law, William & Mary and the University of Louisville School of Law. Thomas delivered the law commencement address at UVA in 1999 and at William & Mary in 2012. 

Thomas is the recipient of the Bailes Award from the Virginia Bar Association. In 2014, he was named distinguished Alumnus of the UVA College of Arts and Sciences. 

He is also a poet who has recited his own works at Carnegie Hall. He and his wife, Pearl Walden Thomas, are the parents of three children and the grandparents of two.  

Hon. John Charles Thomas '75 Welcomes Class of 2009

Former Justice of Supreme Court of Va. Gives MLK Talk


  • J.D.
    University of Virginia School of Law
  • B.A.
    University of Virginia

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