Thomas Tierney grew up in Minneapolis. He attended the University of Notre Dame and graduated with high honors in 1987. He attended law school in San Francisco at the University of California, Hastings College of Law and graduated cum laude in 1992. He worked at litigation boutique law firms in San Diego from 1992 to 2000. In 2000, he moved to Vero Beach, Florida and began working at the Rossway Swan firm, became a partner in 2003, and continues to work there today.