Tom Rist has over 18 years of experience as an attorney. Tom started his legal career as a prosecuting attorney, where he quickly learned how to effectively persuade both juries and judges in trial. He also learned how important results are to clients that are involved in serious, life changing cases. He later worked as an insurance defense lawyer for a major insurance company before going into private practice.
Tom founded Rist Law Office in 2007, and since that time has handled thousands of cases and recovered tens of millions of dollars for clients. Tom has handled cases involving serious injuries and fatalities from car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, mining accidents, and large class actions. Some of his most rewarding work has been on the civil side of criminal cases, where he has helped minor children and their families to hold corporate entities responsible after serious crimes such as sexual assault and shootings have occurred.
Tom is originally from the mountains of southern West Virginia. He graduated from West Virginia University where he majored in accounting. He then graduated from the West Virginia University College of Law in 2002. He was named the Barrister of the Year at WVU and was inducted into the Order of the Barristers for his work in trial advocacy.
Tom has taken over 100 cases to a final verdict in both state and federal courts. As a result, he was named to the Top 100 Trial Lawyers. His verdicts and settlements include a $4,300,000 class action settlement in a wage and hour case as well as an individual award of $2,250,000 in a fatal mine accident case.
Tom’s experience as a prosecuting attorney led him to begin representing victims of serious crimes in civil cases. He has worked on child sexual assault, fraud, police misconduct, and serious accidents involving DUI drivers. In many of these cases the results have provided significant funds for the victims of these crimes.
Rist Law Office continues to provide thousands of hours of pro bono legal work to the environmental community and Tom has worked on cases involving massive mountaintop removal mining, flood cases, water quality matters, and other causes important to the environment. He has proudly represented Coal River Mountain Watch, the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Fayette County Commission in cases involving environmental issues.
Tom is an active member of the California and West Virginia Bar Association. He is also a member of the Surfrider Foundation, International Mountain Biking Association, and the New River Bicycle Union. In his spare time, he goes to CrossFit, cycles close to 5,000 miles per year, and gets in the occasional surf session when the waves aren’t too big. Every now and then you can catch him trying to learn how to pick a banjo too.
J.D., West Virginia University School of Law, 2002
Moot Trial Association – Barrister of the Year
B.A., West Virginia University, 1999
West Virginia State Bar
Member Since: 2002
California State Bar
Member Since: 2005
San Diego County Bar Association
Member Since: 2020
California Employment Lawyers Association
Member Since: 2020