Tommy Elias Bryan was raised on a family farm in Crenshaw County, Alabama, where his parents taught him the values of faith, family, and hard work. He is the son of Margie Spivey Bryan and the late Elias Daniel Bryan.
A 1974 graduate of Brantley High School, Justice Bryan continued his education at Troy State University, where he received Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in education. In 1983, he graduated from Jones School of Law. After graduating from law school, Justice Bryan served as a staff attorney for the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals.
In 1987, Justice Bryan became an assistant attorney general for the State of Alabama, serving as an associate general counsel for Alabama's environmental department. In this position he gained valuable experience in defending and interpreting highly technical and scientific regulations and standards, as well as drafting administrative orders and reviewing legislation pertaining to environmental issues.
In 2004, Justice Bryan successfully campaigned for a seat on the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals and was sworn into office as a Judge on that court in January 2005. Justice Bryan was victorious in his own reelection effort to the Court of Civil Appeals in November 2010. In 2012, Justice Bryan was elected to the Alabama Supreme Court. Also, in 2012, Justice Bryan was named "Judge of the Year" by the Family Law Section of the Alabama State Bar.
Justice Bryan is a member of the Alabama Bar Association, where he serves as a member of the Environmental Law and Appellate Practice Sections, and he has served as vice chairman of the Quality of Life Committee. He is also a member of the Montgomery County Bar Association. He has been admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court and the United States Courts of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and the District of Columbia.
Justice Bryan is married to the former Pamela Mizzell from Tuscaloosa, and they have two children, a daughter, Thomason, and a son, Tucker. The Bryan family attends Montgomery's First Baptist Church. Justice Bryan is a Deacon there and sings in the sanctuary choir. He also teaches a young-married-adult Sunday School class.