Tom Lynch was born in Broward General hospital, went to grammar school in Fort Lauderdale, and high school in Hollywood.
His family has Broward ties since the 1930’s, when they built the Hollywood Dog Track.
While in high school, Tom was editor of the newspaper, president of the senior class, and president of the surf club. He became a sponsored surfer and competed in surfing contests, from Maine to Florida, for a number of years. He has surfed internationally and he continues to ride waves when the conditions are right.
Tom received a bachelors degree in Business Administration at Monmouth College, in Long Branch, New Jersey, and his Juris Doctor degree at Nova Southeastern University Law School.
While in law school, he clerked at a premier law firm in Asbury Park, New Jersey, concentrating in criminal defense work. He also interned at the Broward State Attorney’s Office, while in law school.
“While attending law school, I realized I loved criminal law and wanted to become a trial lawyer. Any time I could, I would watch lawyers try criminal cases. I observed great lawyers try great cases. The Public Defenders that I watched were top of the line criminal defense attorneys, and I wanted to try to join their ranks. I applied to become an assistant public defender. I got lucky. I was hired.”
Mr. Lynch was certified by the Florida Supreme Court, as a certified legal intern. That meant that he could try jury trials, before he actually became an attorney. Tom Lynch tried a number of jury trials before he passed the bar exam.
He became a member of the Florida Bar, and quickly was promoted to become a felony assistant Public Defender. Shortly thereafter, he became the Chief Assistant Public Defender in charge of County Court, Mental Health, Juvenile, and interns. His caseload during that time, was almost exclusively death penalty cases.
“I loved every day being a Public Defender. I had administrative responsibilities and mentored interns and young lawyers, while carrying a full load of cases. In a four year period I tried approximately 90 jury trials including close to a dozen death penalty cases.”
Eventually, Tom Lynch started a law firm, with a partner, and continued to try criminal cases. He was also awarded a “special public defender contract” by Broward County to represent indigent defendants that had a conflict with the Public Defender’s office. He was also elected as the vice president of the criminal defense attorney’s association.
At the age of 33, Tom Lynch was elected as a County Court Judge. He became the Administrative Judge of County Court, and held that position until he was appointed to the Circuit Court by Governor Lawton Chiles. He remained on the bench for close to 32 years, and served in many divisions. While on the bench he was appointed by 5 Chief Justices of the Florida Supreme Court, as a mentor for 10 new Circuit Judges. Chief Justice Fred Lewis also appointed him to be in charge of “Justice Teaching” in Broward County, which places a judge or an attorney in every school in Broward County, to educate the students in law related areas.
After leaving the bench, Tom Lynch opened another law office, and then decided to go back to his roots – the Public Defender’s office.
”I loved the Public Defender’s office and wanted to help indigent clients get great legal representation. There is also a need for advanced training of the new lawyers in the office. A good number of exceptional trial lawyers, that are “public defender alumni “, have volunteered to do the training. I will take them up on their offer and will recruit others.
Elect Tom Lynch as your next Public Defender.