Tom Atkins graduated magna cum laude with his law degree from the University of Louisville in 1983 and was admitted to the Kentucky Bar in 1984. Born in Beckley, West Virginia, in 1951, he earned his bachelor's degree from Marshall University in 1973 and his master's degree from the University of Louisville in 1977. Tom served in the United States Army and retired after achieving the rank of Major.
In 1991, Tom and his wife Linda founded the Louisville law firm of Atkins & Atkins. In 1993, the firm won the Louisville Bar Association pro bono award for exemplary work on death penalty cases.
Tom is a past chair of the Louisville Metro Division of Fire Advisory Committee and a past chair of the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections Oversight Committee. In addition to his legal practice, he is a former adjunct professor at the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, University of Louisville.