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Thomas S. Berkley


Tom Berkley is a firm shareholder focusing his practice on federal and state litigation, maritime and admiralty, transportation, and federal and state workers compensation law. 

For more than 20 years, Tom has represented a variety of maritime and waterfront focused businesses and individuals including public and private marine terminals, ship lines, stevedores, shippers, salvors, shipyards, intermodal and cargo interests, commercial fishing vessels and associations, tug and barge companies, construction and manufacturing companies, municipalities, recreational boaters, and several insurance companies and P&I Clubs. 

In addition to his diverse maritime experience, Tom represents clients in employment, environmental, and riparian rights litigation.     

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

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.

  • Successfully represented a public marine terminal on a $10 million railway operation liability claim.
  • Successfully represented a public marine terminal on a $12 million wrongful death cargo operation claim.
  • Successfully represented a private shipyard on a $25 million Jones Act and wrongful death vessel repair claim.
  • Successfully represented international ship line in 1.3 million dollar detention and demurrage action in federal court.  
  • Successfully 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.
  • Successfully represented a truck chassis and drayage operation company on a $10 million personal injury action.
  • Successfully represented a coal loader elevator manufacturer working at a private marine terminal on a $20 million personal injury action.
  • Successfully 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.
  • Successfully represented a property owner in a tenant’s multi-million dollar lead paint exposure case.
  • Successfully defended luxury boatyard in insurance coverage dispute concerning grounding of multimillion dollar vessel off Puerto Rico.
  • Successfully defended developer in federal court wetlands litigation delaying flood prevention improvements to municipal and private subdivision project affecting hundreds of private homes.
  • 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
  • Tidewater Motor Truck Association
  • Virginia Bar Association
  • Norfolk-Portsmouth Bar Association
  • AV® Preeminent™ Rated, Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™
  • Best Lawyers In America, Admiralty and Maritime, 2012-2022
  • Coastal Virginia's Top Lawyers, Aviation, Admiralty, Maritime, & Transportation, 2016-2023
  • 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. Phone / Fax: (757) 502-7344 Mobile: (757) 572-2657