Super Lawyers - Jonathan L. Thornton
AV Preeminent - Jonathan L. Thornton
Super Lawyers 15 Years - Jonathan L. Thornton

Jonathan Thornton has been a trial lawyer in Virginia for 33 years. His practice focuses on serious automobile and trucking accidents, medical negligence, wrongful death, and traumatic brain injury cases. He is licensed to practice in Virginia and in North Carolina. Jon has consistently been recognized by his peers as a Virginia Super Lawyer every year since 2007, which is an honor given to 5% of the attorneys practicing in Virginia. He has also been regularly named, based on peer-to-peer surveys, by Coastal Virginia Magazine as a top attorney since 2016. Jon was previously recognized as one of the Top Ten Young Lawyers in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia. He has obtained medical malpractice verdicts and settlements that have been listed among the largest verdicts obtained in Virginia and neighboring states, with his results reported in local media and legal publications.

Jon earned his Bachelor of Arts degree, summa cum laude, from Washington & Lee University, where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. He graduated from the University of Virginia Law School and was then appointed as a federal law clerk to United States District Judge John A. McKenzie in Norfolk.

Following his judicial clerkship, Jon practiced law for six years with the largest law firm in Southeastern Virginia where he handled primarily personal injury, medical negligence cases, and business litigation. In 1997, he co-founded Pierce & Thornton, PLC, a law firm dedicated solely to representing the rights of the severely injured individuals and surviving family members in wrongful death cases.

Jon was nominated by his peers to an inner circle of leading attorneys who represent patients and their families in medical negligence cases in Virginia. Jon is also an active member of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, where he has served on the Medical Malpractice Legislative Subcommittee and as a member of the Board of Governors. Additionally, Jon has been honored to serve on the Executive Board and as the President of the Virginia Beach Bar Association. Jon has frequently lectured on medical malpractice issues before the Virginia Beach Bar Association, the Norfolk Portsmouth Bar Association, to pre-medical students at Washington & Lee University, to medical residents graduating from the Portsmouth Naval Medical Center and Eastern Virginia Medical School programs, and to Physician Assistants at Eastern Virginia Medical School.

Jon has been awarded Martindale-Hubbell’s “AV Preeminent” rating by his peers, who include lawyers and judges, signifying that he meets the very highest level of professional excellence for legal knowledge, legal experience, communication skills, and ethical standards. In being recognized for this honor, Jon’s peers, including opposing counsel, have said the following: “Jonathan’s intellect and keen legal ability quickly gain the trust and confidence of his clients and opposing counsel. Jonathan is one of the best litigators I have encountered in over 20 years of practicing law.” – and – “Mr. Thornton is one of the best I’ve worked against. He is professional and knowledgeable and represents his clients well, while maintaining a friendly working relationship with his adversaries – a hard balance to strike. I wouldn’t hesitate to refer even my family members to him.” In fact, many of Jon’s clients have been referred to him by former clients and/or their family members, and also by former opposing counsel in cases he has taken to trial or mediation.

In addition to his trial practice in Virginia and North Carolina, Jon has successfully partnered with co-counsel in trying or resolving cases in numerous other jurisdictions, including Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia, California, Washington, D.C., Colorado, Georgia, and Florida.

Jon views his role as a trial attorney as one of not only fighting to obtain fair and full compensation for his clients, but also of counseling and providing answers to individuals who have had catastrophic events occur in their lives. When Jon accepts your case, he is personally committed to you and your family from the initial investigation through the trial. As one of his former clients stated after Jon had successfully resolved his son’s case traumatic brain injury case, “It’s more than a case to Jon – he represents you as if it happened to him.” Another client, whose family he represented in a wrongful death case commented, “Through the entire process, I always felt trust and confidence in [Jon’s] judgment. I was very proud to have had [Jon] represent me in the courtroom.”

Jon credits his clients and their families for enabling him to successfully try, mediate, and settle many significant medical malpractice, motor vehicle collision, wrongful death, traumatic brain injury, and catastrophic injury cases on their behalf.


Virginia Trial Lawyers Association
Expert Witnesses CLE
October 2009
Fairfax, Virginia

American Law Institute
Effective Presentation of Damages in Personal Injury Cases
October 2010
Norfolk, Virginia

Norfolk Portsmouth Bar Association
Medical Malpractice Tips – Plaintiff’s Perspective
April 2011
Norfolk, Virginia

Virginia CLE
Best Practices in Circuit Court – A Forum for Litigators
April 2012
Virginia Beach, Virginia

Washington & Lee University Seminar Series
Medical Malpractice Primer for the Pre-Med Student
2011 – 2017
Richmond, Virginia

Portsmouth Naval Medical Center
Address to Medical Doctors Graduating from the Residency Program
June 2014, 2015
Portsmouth, Virginia

Eastern Virginia Medical School
Address to Fourth Year Medical Students about Medical-Legal Issues from the Patient’s Perspective
March 2015, 2016, 2017
Norfolk, Virginia

Eastern Virginia Medical School
Address to the Physician Assistants clinical program regarding the importance of medical documentation
April 2018
April 2019
March 2021
March 2022
March 2024


  • University of Virginia School of Law - J.D. - 1990
  • Washington & Lee University - B.A. - 1987

    summa cum laude

Bar Associations

  • Virginia Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association
  • American Association for Justice
  • Virginia Trial Lawyers Association
  • Norfolk-Portsmouth Bar Association
  • Virginia Beach Bar Association

    Executive Board 2010 – 2013 President, 2014

  • Etheridge Society

    The Etheridge Society is an inner circle of leading attorneys who represent plaintiffs in medical negligence litigation in Virginia.

Client Reviews

Jon...You carry yourself professionally...and very ethically. That's most important to me as I look at cases and speak with attorneys...Seeking the truth is a noble cause. Too bad it often takes much time and monies to get there...All the best,

Dr. M.H.

To David . . . Thank you for your continued diligence and advice on this law suit. Thanks to you and your staff. I have recouped my expenses and lost wages due to the injuries I received in my accident. I enjoyed working with your group and will recommend you to friends in the future. God Bless You...


I strongly recommend the law firm of Pierce & Thornton to anyone who needs a wrong righted . . . The attorney who represented me and my loved ones, Jon L. Thornton, did a great job. Jon Thornton . . . is a man of great passion. It's more than a case to Jon Thornton, he represents you as if it...


David, thanks again for a well managed and successful case outcome. It was a pleasure working with you. I never felt like we were out of the loop. We are glad it is behind us but I will miss discussing the case with you. It was always a pleasure talking with you.


I am very pleased with the resolution of this claim and feel blessed beyond measure. I just don't know how we can ever thank you enough for everything you did for us to receive justice for the death of our dear mother. May God richly bless you in all things.


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