Thomas William Lyons III

Thomas William Lyons III

Providence, Rhode Island

Tom Lyons practices in the areas of products liability defense, asbestos defense, commercial litigation, employment litigation, and civil rights. He has tried jury trials to verdict in federal and state court and has argued appeals in the First Circuit and the Rhode Island Supreme Court. Tom has been recognized as a "Super Lawyer" in products liability defense by his peers and as "AV-Preeminent" by lawyers and judges in Rhode Island. The Rhode Island affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union has honored him as a "Civil Libertarian of the Year" and a "Civil Libertarian of the Decade."

Tom is currently active in the Defense Research Institute. He is involved with both its Products Liability and Commercial Litigation Committees and was formerly the chair of the latter committee. Tom is a past president of the New England and the Rhode Island Bar Associations and was a long-time member of both associations' executive committees. He has served as editor-in-chief of the Rhode Island Bar Journal and as chair of the Bar Association's Technology and Superior Court Bench/Bar Committees. Tom was the chair of the subcommittee that drafted the Bar Association's Model Civil Jury Instructions. He was a member of the board of directors of the Rhode Island Bar Foundation. Tom has also served on several Rhode Island Supreme Court task forces. He was a member of the American Bar Association's Task Force on the Future of Legal Education and a member of the executive council of the National Conference of Bar Presidents. Tom is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and served for many years as its state chair.

Tom has made numerous presentations to bar associations around the country on the future of the practice of law and made local presentations on civil litigation and electronic filing. He has written numerous articles and is the co-author of the Rhode Island chapter in the Defense Research Institute's compendium of "Products Liability Defenses.

Tom is a admitted to practice in the federal and state courts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, as well as the United States Supreme Court. He is a 1983 graduate of Case Western Reserve University School of Law and a 1979 graduate of Colgate University.

Areas of Practice

  • Products Liability and Toxic Tort Defense
  • Business and Commercial Litigation
  • Personal Injury - Defense
  • Employment Litigation
  • Constitutional Law

Bar Admissions

  • Rhode Island, 1983
  • Massachusetts, 1996
  • U.S. District Court District of Rhode Island, 1984
  • U.S. District Court District of Massachusetts, 1999
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 1st Circuit, 1991


  • Case Western Reserve University Law School, Cleveland, Ohio
    • J.D. - 1983
  • Colgate University, Hamilton, New York
    • A.B. - 1979
    • Major: History

Published Works

  • Receivers, Ethics, Conflicts and Confidentiality, Rhode Island Bar Journal, March-April, 2009
  • Specs and the Single Arbitration Clause, The Business Suit(Reprinted in The Dispute Resolution Journal), May-July, 2001
  • Rhode Island Chapter, DRI Products Liability Defenses, 2001 and 2004
  • Building a Public Trust and Confidence in the Rhode Island Judicial System, Rhode Island Bar Journal, February, 2001
  • Counterpoint- Who makes the Law?, Rhode Island Bar Journal, November, 2000
  • The Supreme Court Decides the Balance of Powers, Rhode Island Bar Journal, November, 1998
  • Frye, Daubert and Where Do We Go From Here, Rhode Island Bar Journal, January, 1997
  • Convincing a Reluctant Judge to Hold a Pretrial Daubert Hearing, DRI Trials & Tribulations, Spring, 1997
  • Rule 56 Reborn, Rhode Island Bar Journal, October, 1988

Representative Clients

  • Viacom, Inc.
  • CBS Corporation
  • Verizon
  • Danaher Corporation
  • United States Tobacco Company
  • Lead Industries Associates
  • The Stanley Works
  • Union Carbide Corporation
  • Citibank
  • Chrysler Financial Corporation
  • Hoechst Marion Roesel, Inc.


  • The Future of the Practice of Law, Western States Bar Conference, 2008
  • How to Litigate Your First Civil Trial in Rhode Island, National Business Institute, November 12,2004
  • Direct and Cross-examination in Rhode Island, November 7,2003
  • Advanced Expert Witness Depositions, National Business Institute, June 16, 2004
  • Instructor, Legal Research, Oral Advocacy and Writing, Case Western Reserve University, 1982 - 1983

Honors and Awards

  • Rhode Island Super Lawyer, Products Liability Defense, 2007-2016
  • Third Place, Rhode Island Bar Journal Annual Writing Competition, 1997
  • First Place, Rhode Island Bar Journal Annual Writing Competition, 1989
  • Martindale-Hubbell, AV-Preeminent, 2016

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Rhode Island Bar Association, Executive Committee, 1998 - 2008
  • Rhode Island Bar Association, President, 2006 - 2007
  • Rhode Island Bar Association, Secretary, 2003 - 2004
  • Rhode Island Bar Journal, Editor-in-Chief, 1998 - 2002
  • DRI Business Litigation Committee, Steering Group, 1998 - Present
  • DRI Commercial Litigation Committee, Chair, 2001 - 2003
  • Model Civil Jury Instructions Subcommittee, Chair, 1998 - Present
  • Superior Court Bench/Bar Committee, Chair, 1997 - 1998
  • Rhode Island Supreme Court Indigent Defense Task Force, Member, 2003 - 2004
  • Rhode Island Supreme Court User-Friendly Court Committee, Member, 1997 - 1998
  • DRI Agricultural, Construction, Mining and Industrial Equipment Sub-committee of Products Liability Committee, Steering Group, 1994 - 1996
  • Rhode Island Bar Association, Vice President, 2004 - 2005
  • Rhode Island Bar Association, Treasurer, 2002 - 2003
  • DRI Commercial Litigation Committee, Vice-chair, 2000 - 2001
  • DRI Commercial Litigation Committee, Publications Chair, 1998 - 2000
  • National Conference of Bar Presidents, Executive Council, 2007 - Present
  • New England Bar Association, President, 2014 - 2015

Past Employment Positions

  • Vetter & White, Providence, RI, 1983 - 1995