Tom Geoghegan was born on January 22, 1949 in Cincinnati, Ohio, where his father was an insurance salesman and his grandfather was a local elected official. Tom, the eldest of six brothers, attended Cincinnati’s St. Xavier High School.
Tom attended Harvard University, where he worked for the student newspaper, The Crimson. After graduating magna cum laude in 1971, Tom worked as a contributing editor at The New Republic until he entered Harvard Law School in 1972. Upon his graduation in 1975, he began what was to be his life’s work as a public interest attorney.
From 1977 to 1979, Tom was a policy analyst for the U.S. Department of Energy. Working with Secretary James Schlesinger and Assistant Secretary for Policy Alvin Alm, Tom was the editor-in-chief of the groundbreaking National Energy Plan II. He also drafted several energy-related Congressional proposals submitted by the Carter Administration, including one bill that eventually became a law mandating state energy conservation programs. For his efforts, he earned an award for outstanding service as a Department of Energy employee.
In 1979, Tom moved to Chicago, where he joined the law firm headed by the man who would become his mentor, the legendary Leon Despres, who for many decades was among Chicago’s most prominent reformers and progressive voices. At Despres, Schwartz and Geoghegan, Tom has filed suits in a wide variety of public interest, labor, and employment law cases. He has successfully represented countless individuals who were discriminated against in the workplace due to their race, sex, disability, age or sexual orientation, and he has sued employers who violated sexual harassment laws and the Family and Medical Leave Act. He has also filed lawsuits to enforce child labor laws, expand voting rights, crack down on the payday loan industry, and require public health measures to stop the spread of tuberculosis among the homeless.