Mr. Handler is a managing partner in Handler Thayer, LLP, where he chairs the firm’s Advanced Planning & Family Office Practice Group. Here he is an advanced planning attorney focused on the analysis and structuring of sophisticated estate plans and family offices, and handling taxation and business planning issues for business owners, executives, professional athletes, celebrities and over 250 family offices over $250M in net worth, and 81 Family Offices worth over $1B. Tom has extensive experience in the analysis, design and implementation of domestic and international business planning, financial and estate planning, asset protection, family office compliance and advanced tax planning strategies.

Mr. Handler has been named one of the Top 15 Wealth Planners and one of the Top 100 Attorneys in the United States. He has also been named to Who’s Who in American Law, Who’s Who in America and Global Leading Lawyers. Illinois Leading Lawyers named Mr. Handler one of the Top Lawyers in the areas of Closely and Privately Held Business Law and Trust, Will and Estate Planning Law.

He received the Family Wealth Alliance Leadership Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2017 and the Private Asset Management Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021. He was named 2017 Private Client Lawyer of the Year and in 2016 won the Excellence in Estate Planning Award. In 2015, he was named International Wealth Planner of the Year and Wealth Planning Game Changer Lawyer of the Year in addition to receiving the Michael J. Brink Lifetime Achievement Award for Leadership and Service.


Honors & Awards

  • Family Wealth Alliance – Leadership Award for Lifetime Achievement, 2017
  • Citywealth Global Leaders List – Top 100 Lawyers in the U.S., 2013-Present
  • U.S. Private Client Lawyer of the Year, 2017
  • Excellence in Estate Planning award, 2016
  • Family Office Review – Michael J. Brink Wealth Industry Leadership & Service Award, 2015
  • Acquisition Finance Magazine – Wealth Planning Gamechanger Lawyer of the Year, 2015
  • Acquisition Finance Magazine – International Wealth Planning Lawyer of the Year, 2015
  • Leading Lawyers (IL) – Trust, Will and Estate Planning Law, 2010-Present
  • Leading Lawyers (IL) – Closely & Privately Held Business Law, 2010-Present
  • University of Illinois Scholarship Foundation Loyalty Circle Award, 2007
  • Pi Kappa Alpha Chicago Alumni Association Loyalty Award, 2004
  • Wealth Strategies Design Team (Comprised of fifteen of the top wealth planners in the United States), 2001-2007
  • Who’s Who in the World, 2017
  • Life Member, National Registry of Who’s Who in America, 2001-Present
  • Who’s Who in Executives and Professionals in America, 1996-97, 1997-98
  • Who’s Who in American Law, 1989-1991
  • Who’s Who of Emerging Leaders of America, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992
  • Distinguished Leadership Award, 1988
  • Men of Achievement, 1988
  • Who’s Who in the Midwest, 1987 and 1989
  • Outstanding Young Men of America, 1985 and 1986
  • University of Illinois Outstanding Senior Award, 1979
  • Shorter Board Scholastic and Leadership Honorary, 1978
  • 100 Club Scholastic and Leadership Honorary, 1978
  • Pi Kappa Alpha Outstanding Service Award, 1978
  • Sigma Iota Lambda Scholastic Honorary, 1977
  • Phi Eta Sigma Scholastic Honorary, 1975


  • Member, The University Club of Chicago, 2008-Present
  • Member, The Clayton Club, 2017-Present
  • Member, Asset Protection Society, 2006-Present
  • Member, Atlantic Salmon Federation, Chicago Philanthropy Committee, 2005-Present
  • Member, International Business Forums Chicago Chapter, 2002-2012
  • Captain, Winnetka Tennis Team, 2001-Present
  • Member, Winnetka Tennis Association, 1987-Present
  • Member, Chicago Bar Association
  • Member, CBA Trust Law Committee
  • Chairman, Subcommittee on Private Foundations, 2001-2002
  • Chairman, Subcommittee on Family Limited Partnerships, 2003-2004
  • Chairman, Subcommittee on FLP Administration, 2006-2007
  • Member, CBA Federal Taxation Committee
  • Member, Illinois State Bar Association
  • Member, Section on Corporation and Securities Law
  • Member, Section on Federal Taxation
  • Member, Section on Trusts & Estates
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, ABA Section of Taxation
  • Member, Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity
  • Member, Society of Financial Service Professionals, 2006-2007
  • Member, North American Interfraternity Conference
  • Nominating Committee, 2004-2006
  • Committee on Public Relations and Marketing, 1999-2002
  • Member, Financial Planning Association, 2001-2003
  • Member, Sierra Club Lawyers’ Roundtable, 1992-1994

Partial List of Publications