Balch has worked as professional presiding officer, parliamentarian, writer of parliamentary opinions, and consultant on bylaws revision and amendments for groups ranging from large political conventions and national issue advocacy entities through national and regional professional and trade associations to local school boards and churches. Clients have included an international religious association, time-share and condominium boards, medical groups, political candidates and party organizations at the national and state levels, as well as specialty organizations from dog breeders to dairy farmers to public relations consultants. His professional presiding experience includes disciplinary hearings.


An attorney, he has been a consultant or expert witness for litigation involving parliamentary issues, and provides workshops to governmental decision-making bodies.


Balch teaches introductory parliamentary procedure to incoming officers and directors, coaches new presiding officers, and trains other parliamentarians. For 21 years he taught an intensive summer course in parliamentary procedure to college students. He has also been a faculty member for a course in professional presiding for other parliamentarians.


Twice national parliamentarian for the National Association of Parliamentarians, he now chairs its Commission on Credentialing, and frequently provides workshops at its conventions.


He is a past president of the American College of Parliamentary Lawyers, and has authored numerous articles in professional parliamentary journals.






  • B.A., Williams College, 1977

  • J.D., New York University School of Law, 1983


  • President, American College of Parliamentary Lawyers, 2012-2013 

  • Parliamentarian, National Association of Parliamentarians, 1999-20012011-2013 

    • Chairman, Commission on Credentialing, National Association of Parliamentarians, current term 2019-2021 (term as Commissioner 2019-2023)

    • Member, Ethics Committee, National Association of Parliamentarians, current term 2013-2017 

    • Member, Drafting Subcommittee of Professional Development Committee, National Association of Parliamentarians, 2011-2013

  • Vice-President,* Maryland Association of Parliamentarians, 1997-99

  • President,* Maryland Lawyers Unit of Maryland Association of Parliamentarians, 1999-2000; 2012-2014

    • Lobbyist, Coalition for Democratic Process (group that successfully lobbied District of Columbia Council for changes in DC nonprofit corporate code to make it more appropriate for organizations relying on standard parliamentary procedure)

  • Member, American Institute of Parliamentarians

    • Member,  Joint Parliamentary Committee of the National Association of Parliamentarians, American Institute of Parliamentarians, and Robert's Rules Association on the Revised Model Non-Profit Corporations Act

* Also served as secretary in these organizations.


  • Henry M. Robert III, Daniel H. Honemann, Thomas Balch, Daniel E. Seabold and Shmuel Gerber, Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, 12th ed. (Public Affairs, Hachette Book Group, 2020) (also an author of the previous 10th and 11th editions)

  • Henry M. Robert III, Daniel H. Honemann, Thomas Balch, Daniel E. Seabold and Shmuel Gerber, Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised in Brief, 3rd  ed. (Public Affairs, Hachette Book Group, 2020) (also an author of the previous 1st and 2nd editions)

  • Thomas J. Balch as member of four-person Parliamentary Research Team (other members varied), “Questions and Answers” column in quarterly National Parliamentarian, 2000-2003; 2010-2013

  • Henry M. Robert III, William J. Evans, Daniel H. Honemann, & Thomas Balch, “Significant Changes in the Tenth Edition of RONR,” National Parliamentarian (Three-part article in First, Second, & Third Quarters 2001)

  • Thomas J. Balch, “When Rules Cannot Be Suspended,” National Parliamentarian (Third Quarter 1998)



  • “Tactical Use of the Rules” – intensive weekend course taught annually to 6-22 students each summer from 1995 through 2016.

  • Numerous workshops for national, state and local parliamentary and other organizations on topics including:

    • When Things Go Wrong

    • When CAN You Make a Point of Order and When Can You NOT Suspend the Rules

    • Teaching Amendments                              

    • The Significance of RONR In Brief

    • Secondary Amendments

    • Riffs on the Main Motion

    • Requests and Inquiries

    • Revising Robert’s Rules

    • The Proper Use of Lay on the Table

    • Presiding Practice

    • Preparing and Presiding Over Amendments                            

    • The New Comprehensive DC Corporate Code: How It Would Impact You

    • NAP Convention 2013 Parliamentary Issues

    • NAP Convention 2013 Behind the Scenes

    • Multiple Amendments in One Motion

    • Law and Parliamentary Practice

    • Ethics in Parliamentary Practice

    • Electronic Meetings

    • Disciplinary Procedures

    • Credentials Challenges

    • Controlling When Something Comes Up

    • Contentious Conventions

    • Changing Something Done Before: The Comparative Advantages of Reconsider and Rescind/Amend Something Previously Adopted       

    • Changes in the 11th Edition

    • Changes in the 10th Edition

    • Challenging Elections

    • Bylaws Revision Procedure

    • Ballot Elections

    • Board Parliamentary Procedure and “Boardsmanship”

    • Basic Meeting Rules

    • The Attorney as Presiding Officer and Parliamentarian

    • American Bar Association Continuing Legal Education: The Law of Meetings: How to Avoid Challenges in Nonprofit Meetings

    • Amendments Step-by-Step

    • Amending Paragraphs



Parliamentary services provided, varying by organization, included serving as professional presiding officer, serving as meeting,  convention or floor parliamentarian or associate parliamentarian, providing professional parliamentary opinions, consulting on bylaws revisions, providing assistance in drafting motions including bylaw amendments, and providing workshops or briefings on parliamentary procedure. (partial list) 

  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

  • American Academy of Certified Public Managers

  • American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education

  • American Association of Nurse Anesthetists

  • American Dairy Association

  • American National Standards Institute Intellectual Property Rights Committee

  • American Society of Safety Engineers

  • Bellwood [Illinois] School District 88 Board of Education              

  • Columbus Club of Arlington

  • Epiphany Lutheran Church

  • Gordon Properties

  • Homestead, Florida City Council

  • Izaak Walton League of America

  • Knights of Columbus Supreme Council

  • Lake Jackson Citizens Association

  • Miller County [Missouri] Baptist Association

  • Marriott Vacation Club International of Aruba Cooperative Association

  • NAACP Stafford County (Virginia)

  • National Association of Counties

    • National Association of County Collectors, Treasurers and Finance Officers

  • National Association for Court Management

  • National Black Nurses Association

  • National Capital Planning Commission

  • National Child Care Association

  • National Parent-Teacher Association

  • National Rifle Association

  • National Society Colonial Dames XVII Century

  • National Society of Professional Engineers

  • Navy Wives Club of America

  • Old English Sheepdog Club of America

  • Political parties:

    • College Republican National Committee

    •  Free the Delegates

    •  Libertarian Party

    • Loudon County Republican Party

    • McCain08

    • Republican Parties of Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Oregon, and Washington (state conventions)

  • Prince William County School Board

  • Public Relations Society of America Richmond [Virginia] Chapter

  • Queen’s Gate (Hawaii) Association of Apartment Owners

  • Scottish Terrier Club of America

  • Simmons Acres [Virginia] Homeowners Association

  • Society of Thoracic Radiology

  • United Postmasters & Managers of America

  • United Soybean Board

  • Virginia Association of Free and Charitable Clinics

  • Virginia Citizens Defense League

  • Waipo Garden Apartments (Hawaii) Association of Apartment Owners

  • Winfield Mutual Housing Corporation