Tom Bateman retired from a distinguished 35-year career in public service in January 2009, the last 19 as a Florida trial judge.  During those years in public service, he served as a deputy sheriff in Ft. Lauderdale before attending law school at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia.  He later served as an assistant Virginia Commonwealth attorney, a Florida assistant public defender, a Florida assistant attorney general, General Counsel for the Florida Department of Transportation.  He served as a Leon County Judge for 11 years and 8 years as a 2nd Judicial Circuit, Circuit Judge. On March 16, 2009, Tom joined one of Tallahassee’s oldest and most respected law firms, Messer, Caparello & Self, P.A., where he concentrates on providing client services involving all forms of alternative dispute resolution and litigation support.

Tom has served on many Florida Supreme Court and Florida Bar committees.  Currently, he chairs the FSC’s Task Force on the Management of Litigation in Complex Cases.  He has served as chair of the FSC’s Workgroup on Jury Panel Sizes and member of the Criminal Court Steering Committee.  Tom is one of the longest-serving members of the Supreme Court’s Local Rules Advisory Committee and Alternative Dispute Resolution Policy and Rules Committee. 

Tom is a current member of The Florida Bar’s Civil Procedure Rules Committee.  He is a two-time past chair of the Criminal Procedure Rules Committee and has chaired the Professional Ethics Committee and the Traffic Court Rules Committee.  In addition, Tom has twice been a representative member on the Rules of Judicial Administration Committee.  Tom served as the Government Lawyer’s Section’s third chairman after helping organize and create the Section with Bob Butterworth, Gerald Jasky and others.  Bob and Gerald served as the Section’s first two chairmen.

  Tom has served as an associate Dean of the Florida College of Advanced Judicial Studies and was on the faculty the Florida Judicial College and the Florida Conference of Circuit and County Court Judges for over 17 years.  He often speaks to judge and attorney groups on current topics. Most recently, on September 30, 2009, Tom presented a continuing judicial education program titled “Foreclosures 101” by video to a statewide audience of judges, general magistrates and judicial staff attorneys.

Tom is a third generation Native Floridian from Ft. Lauderdale.  He and his wife, Mary Ellen, settled in Tallahassee in 1982 when Mary Ellen began working as an attorney at The Florida Bar.  Currently, she is the Division Director over the Ethics, Advertising, Unlicensed Practice of Law and Special Projects Departments. They have four children between them; their youngest graduated from James Madison University in May, 2009.