Executive Vice President & General Counsel, Secretary
GNY Insurance Companies
Thomas D. Hughes is Executive Vice President & General Counsel, Corporate Secretary to Greater New York Insurance Companies, where he reports directly to the CEO and President on matters ranging from the corporate affairs of the companies to intricate matters of insurance coverage and appellate practice. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at St. John’s University, where he teaches a course on Metaphysics, immediately before which he spent 17 years as an Adjunct Professor of Law at New York Law School, where he taught Legal Writing and Reasoning, Contracts Drafting, and Drafting Corporate Documents (a course he created). Tom has also been retained by major law firms to serve as an arbitrator in reinsurance arbitrations, and meets yearly with United States Senate and Congressional staffs concerning key pieces of insurance-related legislation.
Tom holds a LL.M (General) in Trial and Appellate Practice from New York University School of Law, a J.D. from New York Law School, a M.A. in Philosophy from Columbia University, a M.A. in Philosophy from the New School University, a M.A. in Theology from Fordham University, and a B.S. in Criminal Justice from St. John's University, cum laude, where in 1972 he founded the St. John’s Criminal Justice Association. Tom has also earned the Charter Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation, and is presently pursuing a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Science at New School University. After graduating from New York Law School, Tom accepted a Senior Law Clerk position with the Honorable Joe J. Fisher, United States District Judge, Eastern District of Texas. In 2008 the President of St. John’s University appointed Tom to the 12-member Advisory Board of the College of Professional Studies, where he serves to this day.
Before joining the Greater New York Insurance Group, Tom was the Assistant Solicitor General/Deputy Solicitor General in charge of the Attorney General’s New York City Appeals & Opinions Bureau. In that capacity, he briefed or argued notable United States Supreme Court cases, including New Jersey v. New York, which decided the question of which state has sovereignty over Ellis Island, and Vacco v. Quill, where the Supreme Court upheld New York’s law banning physician-assisted suicide. He has also briefed and argued important cases in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and in the New York State Court of Appeals, including Argo v. Greater New York Mutual Insurance Company, which captured national attention when the New York Court of Appeals, adopting Tom’s argument, refused to follow virtually every other state in overturning an important principle of insurance-contract law. The New York State Legislature would take the extraordinary step of passing a law that overturned the holding of the New York State Court of Appeals in Argo. Tom has discussed his cases on CNN, CBS, WNYC, BBC, WBIS, and National Public Radio, and in local and national newspapers.
Tom delivered the keynote address to judges and lawyers in the Suffolk County Catholic Lawyers Guild and has given legal-writing seminars to legal personnel from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and to Assistant Attorneys General from the New York State Attorney General's Office. Tom has spoken at insurance and banking seminars across the country in addition to publishing articles on anti-money-laundering and New York State Labor Law. Tom authored a chapter entitled “Viewing the Role of General Counsel For A Property-Casualty Insurance Company In A Non-Mechanistic Universe” for a book on best practices for insurance companies, and delivered the opening remarks for an event sponsored by the College of Professional Studies at St. John’s University for Homeland Security and Cyber Security professionals.
After graduating from St. John’s, Tom spent 10 years as an Investigative Specialist in the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Foreign Counterintelligence Division. During his first year in the Bureau he received a rare commendation from the FBI Director for his counterespionage work “with respect to a matter of great interest to the Bureau and the Nation.”
Tom and his wife Elizabeth have two children, Kathleen Merante, 25, and Brittany, 19.