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Thomas P. Owens, III (SPHR)



Accolades / Certifications

Practice Areas

  • Employment
Employment Law
  • Wrongful Discharge
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Breach of Contract
  • Wage and Hour Laws
  • Employees with Disabilities
  • Discrimination


Thomas P. Owens, III, is a life-long Alaskan who attended Duke University and received his law degree in 1990 from Duke University Law School. He began developing his practice in employment law soon after arriving at the law firm of Burr & Pease & Kurtz in 1990. He served as the firm’s Managing Shareholder for 15 years beginning in 2001. He advises employers about discrimination, sexual harassment, wage and hour claims, wrongful termination, and employment benefits and has spent his career representing employers in related litigation. Tom has published articles on the subjects of at-will employment and public policy discharge law in Alaska and has presented public seminars on various aspects of employer liability.

Through Pacific HR Investigations and Surveys, a division of Burr, Pease & Kurtz, Tom provides investigative services for those employers, large and small, that require objective, third-party investigations into allegations of workplace misconduct. Tom also conducts anonymous work environment surveys for employers who want to proactively manage the workplace, learning what employees think about their employment and identifying problems while they are still small and manageable, before they ripen into legal claims or unnecessary turnover expenses.

Tom has been certified as a Senior Human Resource Professional (SPHR) by the Human Resource Certification Institute and he is a member of the National Society for Human Resource Management and the Alaska Society for Human Resource Management. Tom brings a practical, preventative approach to employment disputes by working to avoid costly litigation where possible and to minimize the possibilities of legal disputes in the future. Toward those goals, Tom frequently reviews, revises and prepares employment manuals, analyzes personnel policies, cleans up employment application forms, checks disability and other leave policies and practices, and reviews, revises and prepares termination documentation. He is available to conduct on-site training sessions with managers concerning important legal issues including sexual harassment liability, discrimination issues, disability and religious accommodation, and wage & hour compliance.

From 2003 through 2016, Tom has been voted by his peers as one of “The Best Lawyers in America” in the field of employment law. The Best Lawyers organization has named Tom the “Lawyer of the Year” in the field of Employment Law for 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

In his spare time, Tom is also a professional author, writing literary fiction under the pseudonym Owen Thomas. His two-volume debut novel "The Lion Trees" has won 14 international book awards, including the 2015 Kindle Book Award, the Global eBook Awards, the Eric Hoffer Book Award, the First Horizon Book Award, and the Beverly Hills International Book Award. His collection of short fiction, "Signs of Passing" (2015), winner of the Pacific Book Awards, the Indie Reader Discovery Book Awards, the Great Southwest Book Festival, Runner-Up for the New York Book Festival, among others, and included as among the Notable 100 Books of 2015 by Shelf Unbound Magazine.  For more information about Owen Thomas visit his author website at http://www.OwenThomasFiction.com.