Thomas T. Adams

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Thomas T. Adams


Peter W. Martin

Resource Type

Video Interview

Date of Recording





From the video archives of the Cornell Law School Heritage Project. The interviewer is Peter W. Martin; the videographer, Jae-Hyon Ahn. This video contains an interview with Thomas (Tom) Adams, Cornell Law School class of 1957, covering the path that led him to law school, his experience while a student, and his subsequent career, first in New York City, and subsequently in Wilton, Connecticut.

Thomas Tilley Adams was born in Orchard Park, N.Y. in 1929. After graduating from the University of Buffalo in 1951 he served as a Captain in the USAF in Korea from 1951-53. In 1957 he earned a JD from Cornell Law School.

Adams began his legal career in New York City with Davies, Hardy & Schenck from 1957-63. He was lured away to Wilton, Connecticut to become a founding principal of Gregory & Adams in 1963. He remained there until his death in 2015.

Adams was a member of both the New York and Connecticut bars. He was admitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit) and to the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1962. He lectured at Cornell University Law School and was adjunct Professor of Law at Fordham University.

In Wilton he was known for tireless service and advocacy for those less fortunate. He helped shaped the town of Wilton, chairing the building committee for the High School and serving as Town Attorney from 1966-71. He served on many boards and trusts including the Wilton Library Association and the Norwalk Hospital, and worked pro bono for many causes. He and his wife Virginia, together with Marcelino and Judith Lavin, donated 94 acres in upstate New York, with 2500 feet of Lake George historic shoreline, to the Lake George Land Conservancy in 1999.

Thomas Adams was honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Cornell Law School in 1990. The Virginia and Thomas Tilley Adams J.D. 1957 Scholarship was established in his honor by David P. Mason, J.D. 1988.


Cornell Law School, Cornell Law School alumni, Gregory & Adams, Davis Hardy & Schenck


The initial phase of this project was sponsored by a generous grant from the law firm of Sutherland Asbill and Brennan LLP.