Thomas J. Bell

Thomas J. Bell
West Lake Village Office
Education: University of California, Davis – University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law
Dean’s List (3 semesters) – Tranor Honor Society
Member: California State Bar
Joined BM&M in 2010

Growing up in Soledad, California, Tom Bell was more inclined to pursue a career in the field of agriculture than he was in field of law. Both his parents were in ag--his dad is a winemaker and his mom is HR manager for a national berry company--, and he did his undergrad work at UC Davis studying managerial economics.

"I wasn't sure what I wanted to do after college, and I had no inclination of becoming a lawyer at the time."

Things change. After graduation from UC Davis, he worked in several fields--marketing/advertising, and statistical analysis--, before taking a job in banking where he became adept at getting to know clients and negotiating in their interest. During his time at the post he met several skilled lawyers and became interested in the law.

"I liked what they were doing and thought that practicing law would be much more interesting than banking."

He enrolled at the McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific and caught on quickly. At McGeorge he served as writer and editor for the law review and made the Dean's List three times. He graduated with distinction is a member of the Traynor Honor Society.

"I discovered many of the skills I had learned in the banking industry transferred to practicing law. Negotiating, getting to the heart of matters, working with people, it was all the same, except the law was more interesting."

While at law school, he studied abroad, and had the opportunity to take a course in Salzburg, Austria, taught by Supreme Court Justice, Anthony Kennedy.

"He was really inspirational and had such a keen scope of the law. He was also a brilliant lecturer."

While in Europe, Tom got to do some traveling with his fiancé and enjoyed the experience.

"I proposed to her in Venice, and we were married soon after."

After graduation, Tom chose a career in Workers' Comp, but also did some general law while learning the ropes. He eventually settled in Workers' Comp defense and says he enjoys every minute.

"Workers Comp gives me the opportunity to get out in the field, and there's never a dull moment."

Tom joined Benthale, McKibbin and McKnight in August of 2010 and works out of the LA Office.

"We have a great team at the LA office, and it's a real pleasure going to work every day there. My wife loves LA and I'm getting used to it. It really is a great city and the weather is perfect."

Away from the office Tom enjoys spending time with his wife, walking the dog and home improvement projects. He also has his eyes in following in the footsteps of his father and learning how to make wine as a hobby. His dad owns Bell's Ridge Vineyard in Mariposa, California, and specializes in making Ports.

"I don't have a lot of time for sports or hobbies right now because we are getting settled in a new home, but I look forward to getting back into golf and maybe doing some traveling."