Skip to Content
Coronavirus Updates:
Primary Author Image

Thomas Anthony Swafford

Partner and Government Investigations Team Leader

Clients say they value my ability to understand people with different backgrounds in a variety of situations – from government investigators to prosecutors to juries.  I’m just as comfortable in a government office or a courtroom as sitting in a coffee shop with a witness unfamiliar with the legal process.  I draw on these diverse communications skills to strategically pursue the best outcome for my clients.

Tony represents national and international clients in complex litigation, government investigations and white collar defense.  He has extensive experience on civil and criminal disputes in the healthcare, transportation, energy, education and manufacturing industries.  He has years of experience handling class action litigation and complex business disputes including acquisition disputes, shareholder actions, intellectual property disputes, unfair competition and breach of contract claims involving public and private companies.  In addition, he routinely defends and advises clients on government investigations and white collar matters pending before federal and state agencies and courts.  He has specific experience in matters involving allegations of healthcare fraud, bank fraud, false claims, immigration and employment-related criminal statutes.  He has tried cases to verdict in state and federal courts and with arbitrators across the country.

Given the ever-expanding nature of the global economy, regulated industries continue to grow more complex and technologically innovative, which means companies increasingly need sophisticated counsel on the legal issues that arise in these related economic areas. Tony closely monitors the many legislative and regulatory proposals that would carry an impact on clients and advises them before and after these proposals become laws and rules. 

In representing clients, Tony handles intricate cases with many moving parts, drawing on his ability to see the over-arching view and the key nuanced details as he frames and adjusts his litigation strategy. Often clients turn to him for guidance on high-profile, headline-making cases.

Frequently clients hire Tony to assist or consult with their original counsel in a pending case when they think his skill set will contribute to a satisfactory resolution. For these complicated matters, he works hard to craft creative litigation tactics and effectively apply them in courtroom arguments or in settlement discussions. 

Additionally, Tony is very involved in his community and with local, state and national bar associations.  He serves as the President and Chairman of the Board for Sonrise Foundation, LLC, a public charity he formed in 2018 to provide counseling and advocacy services to economically disadvantaged children in the State of Tennessee.  

Tony is one of the firm’s representatives in the State Capital Group, a global network of more than 11,000 attorneys in nearly 150 law firms located in state and national capitals across the nation and around the world.

My heroes are those people who use their gifts and talents to help the helpless and give a hand to those who have been less fortunate.


  • Case Western Reserve University, J.D., 1995, magna cum laude
  • University of Tennessee, B.S., 1990, High Honors

Bar Admissions

  • Tennessee

Court Admissions

  • United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee
  • United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit


  • America's Top 100 Bet-the-Company Litigators, Tennessee, 2019
  • Best of the Bar – Nashville Business Journal
  • Mid-South Super Lawyers® (by Thomson Reuters)- Employment & Labor, Transportation, Maritime 2012-2019
  • Best Lawyers® - Labor Law – Management, Litigation - Labor and Employment

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

  • Litigation Counsel of America, Fellow
  • American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section (White Collar Crime Committee)
  • Tennessee Bar Association
  • Nashville Bar Association (Federal Courts Committee)
  • Association for Transportation Law, Logistics and Policy
  • Sonrise Foundation, LLC, Founder and President
  • Represented the seller of multiple automotive repair facilities to a publicly traded foreign company, in a dispute related to the acquisition agreement’s payout provision, which was tied to income statement benchmarks. The parties had written numerous demands and responses with no resolution. After engaging in an analysis of the financial statements based on industry best practices and GAAP, the parties reached a resolution, without a mediator, resulting in a seven-figure payment to the client, as well as a framework for the relationship of the parties going forward. The client avoided significant legal fees and years of litigation.
  • Defended a client that was sued for over $300,000,000 for allegedly not exercising best efforts to commercialize on patented technology. We tried the case in a difficult rural jurisdiction. On the tenth day of the jury trial, we obtained a mistrial on the basis that jurors discussing the case in the jury room were overheard by a witness, as well as evidence of nonverbal contact during the trial between several jurors and the plaintiff. The mistrial led to an ensuring mediation where the client reached a very favorable resolution.
  • Successfully defended an action in federal court on behalf of a foreign publicly traded manufacturing company sued by a U.S. publicly traded company for unfair advertising related to a web-based campaign involving competing products. The plaintiff sought damages including disgorgement of profits on over $1 billion of revenue. We successfully defeated all contested allegations at the temporary injunction stage and during a four-day permanent injunction bench trial. The plaintiff appealed the decision to the Sixth Circuit where we also prevailed. Moreover, we filed a counterclaim for false advertising on which we prevailed after a three-day permanent injunction bench trial. Just prior to a jury trial on all claims, the case was resolved on favorable terms and a framework was established for resolving future disputes between the parties.