- University of Minnesota Law School, J.D., 1979
- George Washington University, B.A., 1976
Bar & Court Admissions
- District of Columbia
- New York
- Admitted to practice law only in the states listed above.
Tom is a partner in the Vorys Washington, D.C. office and leads the firm’s administrative and regulatory law, and governmental policy practice. A former U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe, he provides strategic business and government relations counsel both in Washington, D.C. and internationally. He has an active federal agency and Capitol Hill practice. Tom is a registered lobbyist before the U.S. Senate and House. Additionally, he is a registered lobbyist in several states including New York and California.
Moreover, Tom assists clients with regulatory matters involving the U.S. Treasury and Justice Departments, including Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) issues. Tom has a particular understanding of legal, political and economic issues of Africa, Asia (including South Asia), the Middle East, Latin America, Cuba and Eastern Europe and has significant experience in international law and arbitration. As a part of his international practice, Tom regularly negotiates the successful resolution of legal matters and other disputes for U.S. multinationals and major South African companies in various countries.
His career highlights include:
- Serving as U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe from 1997 to 2001
- Representing U.S. multinational corporations and manufacturers, and major South African, United Kingdom, and Japanese banks, mutual fund companies, insurance companies and trade associations for nearly 35 years
- Advising multinational clients on issues surrounding Iran sanctions and sanctions involving Venezuela, Syria and Sudan
- Helping clients develop high-level relationships within the government of Cuba and navigate the regulatory issues U.S. multinationals face when trying to do business in Cuba
- Serving as lead counsel for all of the plaintiffs in Coalition for Education Reform, et al v. Indian River School District, in which the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware approved a settlement agreement, consent order and appointment of a special master
Tom represents clients from a variety of industries including manufacturing, financial services, insurance, and trade associations.
Tom received his J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School. Throughout his legal career, he has had continued involvement with law school. He currently serves on its advisory board and regularly assists Somali American students with the admissions process. Tom received his B.A. from George Washington University.
U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe, 1997 to 2001
U.S. Presidential Delegations, Member
Professional and Community Activities
- Corporate Council on Africa, Board of Directors, Member
- Council of American Ambassadors, Board of Directors, Member
- Council on Foreign Relations, Member
- International Foundation for Electoral Systems, Board of Directors, Member
- Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs, Member
- University of Minnesota Law School, Advisory Board, Member
- American Bar Foundation, Fellow
- 5/6/2020Former Ambassador Tom McDonald, a partner in the Vorys Washington, D.C. office and leader the firm’s administrative and regulatory law, and governmental policy practice, was profiled in the May 2020 edition of the D.C. Bar’s Washington Lawyer magazine.
- 3/27/2020The ational Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law submitted a letter to the Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting, asking her to investigate school practices that may include the unfair discipline of Black students with disabilities and segregative assignments to schools for those students.
- 11/8/2019U.S. District Court Approves Settlement in Coalition for Education Reform, et al v. Indian River School DistrictThe U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware recently approved a settlement agreement, consent order, and appointment of a special master in Coalition for Education Reform, et al v. Indian River School District.
- 9/27/2019Tom McDonald, a partner in the Vorys Washington, D.C. office and a former U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe, was featured in the American Ambassadors Live! podcast on September 27, 2019.
- 9/9/2019Tom McDonald, a partner in the Vorys Washington, D.C. office and a former U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe, was quoted in American Ambassadors Weekly on September 9, 2019.
- 10/17/2018Tom McDonald, a partner in the Vorys Washington, D.C. office and a former U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe, was featured in the Global Public Affairs Club (GPAC) Weekly Round-Up (5 October 2018 – Issue #15).
- 10/1/2018Vorys announced that Tom McDonald, a former U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe and an attorney with nearly 40 years of legal experience, has joined the firm as a partner in the Washington D.C. office.
- 9/28/2018Tom McDonald, a partner in the Vorys Washington, D.C. office and a former U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe, was featured in the September 28, 2018 edition of POLITICO Influence.
- 8/2018Tom McDonald, a partner in the Vorys Washington, D.C. office and a former U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe, was recently interviewed by BBC World News regarding the elections in Zimbabwe.
- 6/11/2020In this Vorys On Call: Coronavirus webinar, Vorys attorneys presented the most timely and relevant topics as businesses and organizations respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 5/14/2020In this ninth weekly edition of our weekly COVID-19 webinar, Vorys attorneys continued to focus on the legal and business issues related to the return to the workplace.
- 5/7/2020In this eighth weekly edition of our weekly COVID-19 webinar, Vorys attorneys continued to focus on the legal and business issues related to the return to the workplace.
- 4/2/2020Our third multi-disciplinary webinar on the various business and legal implications of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic took place on Thursday, April 2, 2020.
- 3/17/2020Vorys Partner Tom McDonald spoke at a Council on Foreign Relations seminar titled, “Turbulence in Energy Markets” on March 17, 2020.
- 3/9/2020Vorys Partner Tom McDonald introduced Minnesota United States Senator Tina Smith at the 2020 Annual University of Minnesota Capitol Hill Reception on March 9, 2020.
- 2/19/2020Vorys Partner Tom McDonald participated in a Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Conference Call: Prospects for Peace in Afghanistan on February 19, 2020.
- 6/2019Tom McDonald, partner in the Vorys Washington, D.C. office, attended Foreign Affairs LIVE with George Packer on June 6, 2019.
- 4/9/2019Vorys Partner, Tom McDonald, presented at the University of Cincinnati College of Law event, “Law and Business in Sub-Saharan Africa,” on April 9, 2019.
- 2/14/2019On February 14, Tom McDonald, a partner in the Vorys Washington, D.C. office, moderated the roundtable discussion on the importance of diverse voices in California politics at the State Capitol.
- 4/23/2020Congress Passes Bill Extending Small Business Loan Programs and Providing Emergency COVID-19 Response FundingFollowing weeks of negotiations, today Congress passed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act providing a relief from the widespread economic injury caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency.
- 4/1/2020In addition to the CARES Act, a number of states have enacted legislation, implemented relief programs, or made available state resources to further assist businesses in combating mounting economic hardships. This alert summarizes the state-specific relief efforts in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington, D.C.
- 3/30/2020In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 197 into law on March 27, 2020, a bill that had passed unanimously in the Ohio General Assembly.
- 3/26/2020Following days of often tense negotiations, the United States Senate has passed the third phase of federal coronavirus relief legislation, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the CARES Act), which will provide $2 trillion in economic aid to individuals and businesses impacted by the coronavirus public health emergency.
- 3/20/2020Since the first known case of COVID-19 in the United States was discovered in late January, the federal government has taken several steps to both fight the spread of the disease and blunt its economic impact on the American economy.
- 6/18/2019Tom McDonald, a partner in the Vorys Washington, D.C. office, authored an article for Corporate Counsel titled "Five Tips for Conducting Business in an Emerging Market."