Jeff Thomas received his Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School, where he graduated cum laude, and his Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Michigan Business School, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and was selected as a James B. Angell Scholar. Prior to attending law school, he worked for three years at IDS Financial Services, rising to Senior Financial Analyst in the Corporate Planning & Analysis Department. During that period, he also received the Presidential Award from the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants for earning the highest score in the state on the May 1992 CPA exam.
After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1997, Thomas practiced law in Chicago and Silicon Valley, where he advised clients on structuring business entities, angel investments, venture capital financings, building teams, intellectual property issues, real estate transactions, contracts, and other commercial matters. In 2000, he founded a web-based company assisting attorneys seeking alternative careers. As a result of the venture, he was invited to speak at the law schools of Harvard University, the University of Chicago, and DePaul University. While managing the venture, Jeff continued to practice law, advising entrepreneurs, private equity investors, nonprofits, and other clients. In 2005, he taught as an adjunct faculty member at Northwestern University’s School of Law. At Northwestern, he supervised students as they advised entrepreneurs through the Blum Legal Clinic’s Small Business Opportunity Center. He also helped teach Northwestern’s Entrepreneurship Law Seminar.
In 2006, Thomas joined the faculty at Chicago-Kent College of Law, where he was an assistant professor of clinical practice. At Chicago-Kent, he developed and taught a course on forming and financing high-growth ventures and founded the Small Business Program at the school’s teaching law firm. The Small Business Program offered students the opportunity to gain important business and legal knowledge and skills while counseling live entrepreneurial clients. In 2008, he joined the faculty of Belmont Abbey College as an associate professor of business and as the founding director of the entrepreneurship program, for which he recruited new faculty, developed curriculum, mentored entrepreneurs, supported business pitch competitions, and served on various committees.
Thomas has a record of publication and presentation in entrepreneurship, directed towards practitioners. He has served the community as a member of the Gaston County Economic Development Commission’s Small Business Council and as a volunteer for local Chambers of Commerce.