Tom Mars, a former attorney with Wal-Mart Stores Inc., will on Jan. 1 join the Little Rock-based law firm of Friday, Eldredge & Clark.
Mars brings 30 years of combined legal, business, government relations, and leadership experience to the firm and will work in the Little Rock office of Friday, Eldredge & Clark. He will also work with with Northwest Arkansas clients through the firm’s offices in Rogers and Fayetteville.
Mars’ accomplishments have included a number of seven-figure jury verdicts and eight-figure settlements and the successful defense of corporate defendants in complex litigation. His private practice experience includes business torts and contract disputes, class actions, arbitration, RICO, defamation, civil rights, medical malpractice, FOIA, administrative law claims and the representation of clients in federal criminal and civil investigations. Mars is a former member of the Arkansas Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates.
Upon graduating from law school, Mars worked for U.S. Attorney Asa Hutchinson where he assisted in the successful racketeering prosecution of a high-profile white supremacy group. Following a clerkship on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, Mars worked for Hillary Clinton at the Rose Law firm. Years later, Mars served as Gov. Mike Huckabee’s personal lawyer and subsequently joined Huckabee’s cabinet as director of the Arkansas State Police.
Having secured an eight-figure settlement from Walmart in the 1990’s, Mars joined Walmart in 2002 as vice president and division general counsel for litigation. In that role, Mars was responsible for managing the company’s vast portfolio of litigation, which included Dukes v. Walmart and numerous other class actions. Four months after joining Walmart, Mars was promoted to senior vice president and general counsel and became responsible for all of Walmart’s legal matters around the globe. He served in that position for seven years until being promoted to executive vice president and chief administrative officer of Walmart U.S.
“Tom’s experience in private practice and as Walmart’s General Counsel, will be an added asset to Friday, Eldredge & Clark, as we serve our clients,” said J. Shepherd Russell III, managing partner of the firm. “His experience with legal matters, in multiple practice areas, both in the U.S. and in foreign markets is invaluable.”
After leaving Walmart in 2013, Mars served as the acting CEO of the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colo. More recently, he has been a litigation partner in an Atlanta law firm.
Mars graduated from Arkansas State University with a degree in criminology. After working as a police officer in Virginia, Mars attended the University of Arkansas Law School. He served as editor-in-chief of the Arkansas Law Review and graduated first in his class. Mars made the top score on the February 1986 bar exam.