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Thomas S. Berkley


Tom Berkley is a firm shareholder focusing his practice on maritime, admiralty and transportation.  He routinely advises public and private marine terminals, shipyards, ship lines, and intermodal and cargo interests on operational, contract, insurance and liability issues.  Along with his experience representing public and private companies, Tom is skilled in representing the varied and often unique needs of family-owned businesses.

In addition to his litigation practice involving Jones Act, 905(b), intermodal, marine terminal and longshore and state workers’ compensation defense, Tom is well versed in all aspects of admiralty law.  Tom also has experience representing commercial fishing associations and fleets, maritime construction companies, P&I Clubs and recreational boaters.

Tom currently serves on the board of Colonna Shipyard, Inc., is the immediate past president of the Hampton Roads Global Commerce Council and is the chair of the Virginia Maritime Association's maritime briefings committee.

During his undergraduate years, Tom served as a deckhand on tugboats working up and down the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Coast, lived and studied in London and operated a campus-wide vending machine business. After graduating from the University of Virginia, he completed the McIntire Business Institute program offered by his alma mater.  During law school, Tom clerked for the Honorable Lydia C. Taylor of the Norfolk Circuit Court and interned for the United States Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C.

  • Represented a public marine terminal on a $10 million railway operation liability claim.
  • Represented a public marine terminal on a $12 million wrongful death cargo operation claim.
  • Represented a private shipyard on a $25 million Jones Act and wrongful death vessel repair claim.
  • Represented a marine construction company on multiple Jones Act, USL&H and Virginia worker compensation claims over a six year bridge and road building project.
  • Represented a truck chassis and drayage operation company on a $10 million personal injury action.
  • Represented a coal loader elevator manufacturer working at a private marine terminal on a $20 million personal injury action.
  • Represented commercial fishing association in quota litigation against the National Marine Fisheries Service.
  • Represented commercial fishing fleet owner in successful retention of scallop fishing permit.
  • Represented a property owner in a tenant’s multi-million dollar lead paint exposure case.
  • Colonna Shipyard, Board Member
  • Maritime Law Association of the United States
  • South Eastern Admiralty Law Institute
  • Virginia Maritime Association, Chair of Maritime Briefings Committee
  • Hampton Roads Global Commerce Council, Board Member and Past President
  • Norfolk Propeller Club
  • Virginia Bar Association
  • Norfolk-Portsmouth Bar Association
  • AV® Preeminent™ Rated, Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™
  • Best Lawyers In America, Admiralty and Maritime, 2012-2020
  • Coastal Virginia's Top Lawyers, Aviation, Admiralty, Maritime, & Transportation, 2016-2020
  • Inside Business Top 40 Under 40, 2008
  • Walter E. Hoffman Community Service Award, 2008
  • Leadership Hampton Roads, 2004
  • Elizabeth River Project, Board of Directors
  • Hampton Roads Global Commerce Council, Board of Directors
  • Indoor Youth Soccer Team, Coach
  • The Virginia Zoo, Past Board Member
  • Norfolk Strikers Youth Soccer Club, Former Team Manager
  • VB City FC - Youth Club Soccer, Former Team Manager
Thomas S. Berkley Shareholder Pender & Coward, P.C. Office: (757) 502-7344 Mobile: (757) 572-2657 Fax: (757) 502-7399