Chris concentrates in criminal defense in federal and state courts. Chris concentrates on defending clients accused of white collar crimes, street crimes, sex offenses, and capital murder in the South and around the country.
Since launching his private practice in 2007, Chris has represented clients in serious matters from Las Vegas to New York City to San Juan, Puerto Rico. However, the bulk of his practice is fighting for men and women accused of crimes in and around South Carolina.
Prior to opening his own practice, Chris spent 15 years as a public defender or non-profit lawyer. Chris began his career in Charleston, S.C., and he and his family returned in 2010 after spending a decade in Atlanta.
The son of two teachers, Chris grew up in Carrollton, Georgia. After graduating from his hometown college, he earned his law degree from Georgetown University in 1992. Chris spent the next eight years as a public defender in Charleston, successfully defending clients against a wide array of criminal charges from driving offenses to capital murder.
Chris is recognized by his peers for his excellence as a criminal defense lawyer. Chris is the President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He was selected by Superlawyers in 2016-2020 for Criminal Defense in South Carolina and has achieved an Avvo of 10.0.
In 2000, Chris joined the Southern Center for Human Rights, a nationally acclaimed non-profit law office in Atlanta that defends people facing the death penalty throughout the Deep South. Working with committed and talented defense teams, Chris won a series of impressive results in very difficult cases — an acquittal for death row inmate Gary Drinkard, a DNA exoneration for Douglas Echols, an acquittal for Albert Joe Ryans, and a lesser conviction and sentence for death row inmate Levi Pace.
Chris accepted the appointment to become the founding director of the Georgia Capital Defender, the state agency charged with defending indigent men and women facing the death penalty at trial and on appeal. During his tenure (2004-2007), the office accomplished amazing results for its clients, resolving 40 cases without a single client being sentenced to death, including a unanimous life verdict in a double murder case that Chris tried in Brunswick, Georgia. However, the State of Georgia responded by cutting funding so low that it undermined the clients’ constitutional right to effective representation. After being prohibited by the State of Georgia from litigating the issue in court, Chris resigned over the principle of effective representation for all defendants facing the death penalty, which was covered in the New York Times. One of Chris’ most distinguished honors came in 2020, when he was sworn in as the 62nd President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL).
He is a sought after speaker on criminal defense topics ranging from courtroom advocacy, forensics, criminal law, and ethics, having given more than 100 presentations to professional organizations and bar associations in more than thirty states. He is on the faculty of the National Criminal Defense College where he teaches fellow criminal defense lawyers and learns from them in the process. He has served as an adjunct professor of law at Emory University, Georgia State University, and the Charleston School of Law, teaching courses and clinics on capital punishment and criminal procedure. In 2017 he made his television debut when he was featured in Season 1 Episode 6 of the Netflix original true crime documentary series “The Confession Tapes”.
As part of his commitment to giving his best for his clients, Chris enrolled in a two-year masters program in oral storytelling from East Tennessee State University. Chris graduated in 2016. With his experience and passion for justice, Chris will continue to protect the liberty and reputation of his clients by working tirelessly to win the most favorable verdict possible.