Jon Campisi Feb. 20, 2014, 12:23pm


The state’s largest trial lawyers’ association has named a Harrisburg

veteran to serve as its new legislative counsel in Pennsylvania’s capital city.

The Pennsylvania Association for Justice announced Wednesday that attorney David M. Thomas will join the organization effective March 5.

Thomas, who most recently worked as chief counsel to Republican House Speaker Sam Smith, will work with state lawmakers and Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration to “protect and preserve the civil justice system for the thousands of Pennsylvanian’s who PAJ’s 2,300 members represent every year,” the association stated in a news release.

“Dave’s sterling reputation for working both sides of the aisle in Harrisburg makes him a great fit with our organization,” PAJ President Jerry M., a Philadelphia-based attorney, said in a statement. “PAJ has a long tradition of bipartisan support in the capitol. I am confident that Dave will continue and strengthen this tradition.”

Before he got the job working for Smith, who represents portions of Jefferson, Indiana and Armstrong Counties in western Pennsylvania, Thomas held various positions on the state House Appropriations, Liquor Control and Judiciary Committees.

The Widener University School of Law graduate was in private practice in Hummelstown, Pa. from 2002 to 2008 specializing in real estate, personal injury and criminal law cases.

“Throughout Dave’s career with the House Republican Caucus, he had demonstrated a unique ability to work with members in both chambers and all four caucuses to help achieve the objectives and goals of the caucus,” Rep. Smith said in a statement. “He has earned the reputation as one of the hardest working staffers on the hill and I know that he will be a great asset to the PAJ.”

During the past three years, Thomas has served as lead negotiator for the House Republican Caucus on the state budget and many significant legislative achievements, such as the recently passed transportation-funding bill.

“My years working in the House of Representatives demonstrate a strong potential to use the legislative process to achieve sound public policy that will both preserve and foster a fair civil justice system,” Thomas said in a statement. “And my private practice experience brought me into contact with many Pennsylvanians who faced great personal difficulty and needed strong legal representation.

“I look forward to working for PAJ to ensure Pennsylvania’s justice system continues to treat Pennsylvanians fairly.”

State Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, a Republican from Jefferson County, said that the House of Representatives’ loss is PAJ’s gain.

“Dave Thomas has earned an outstanding reputation for stellar legislative acumen,” Scarnati said in a statement. “I look forward to working with him in his new capacity.”

Thomas will be working out of the PAJ’s Harrisburg office. The association also has an office in Philadelphia.

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