profile
Christopher T. Whelan

Contact Me:

Biography

An accomplished trial lawyer with over twenty-seven years’ experience, Chris Whelan maintains a broad-based litigation practice in Virginia state and federal courts. Chris primarily focuses on serious personal injury and wrongful death cases, commercial litigation, real estate litigation and estate/fiduciary litigation. He also handles serious criminal matters. Chris is known for his meticulous attention to detail, thorough case preparation and outstanding execution in the courtroom. Chris approaches every case as if it will be tried to verdict, but recognizes that in many cases, the client’s best interest is served by a negotiated settlement. Regardless of the size or type of case, Chris passionately believes that thorough preparation inevitably leads to the best outcome. In the words of John Wooden: “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”

Chris is a native of Northern Virginia and graduated from the University of Virginia after studying foreign affairs and philosophy. He obtained his J.D. degree at Antonin Scalia Law School where he developed a keen interest in trial work. Following law school, Chris served as a judge advocate in the U.S. Army. He tried numerous courts-martial as a trial defense counsel, earning multiple complete acquittals. He was later promoted to appellate defense counsel and handled scores of criminal appeals. After leaving active duty in 1996, Chris continued his service as a JAG attorney in the Virginia National Guard for five years. His military awards include the Meritorious Service Medal and the Parachutist Badge.

From 1996 to 1999, Chris worked as an Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney in Fauquier County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office, where he continued to develop his trial skills, prosecuting numerous complex and challenging criminal cases, from embezzlement to first degree murder.

Chris is a member of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association and the National Trial Lawyers Top 100. He served as President of the Fauquier Bar Association in 2004. In his spare time, Chris enjoys landscape photography, playing guitar and maintaining his old school midrange game.

Representative cases:

· Obtained $1,000,000 settlement in medical malpractice case against retinal surgeon in connection with retinal detachment surgery

· Co-counsel in defending first degree murder case resulting in two manslaughter convictions and reversal of one conviction on appeal

· Successfully removed POA for elder financial abuse

· Successfully defended suit to set aside foreclosure sale (defense verdict)

· Obtained $750,000 settlement for client who suffered traumatic brain injury in high speed construction zone accident

· Obtained summary judgment in favor of lender charged with violation of the Federal Truth in Lending Act 

· Litigated numerous easement disputes

· Successfully enforced multimillion dollar settlement agreement in arbitration

· Won substantial judgment against design professional for fraud in the inducement

· Co-counsel in complex wrongful death case involving construction accident ($3,000,000 settlement reached mid-trial)

· Obtained $800,000 wrongful death settlement

· Tried multiple partition suits with complex accounting issues

· Obtained substantial verdict in malicious prosecution case 

· Successfully defended numerous trustees/personal representatives in breach of fiduciary duty claims

· Prevented foreclosure of client’s home in lawsuit against “equity stripper”

· Litigated multiple “corporate divorce” cases involving LLC members, partners and corporate shareholders

· Represented major corporation and senior executives in stock option fraud case – settlement on favorable terms to corporation

· Co-counsel in complex $10 million business torts case, resulting in complete defense verdict after a multi-day trial; judgment affirmed on appeal

· Successfully contested will based on undue influence (case settled mid-trial)

· Obtained $650,000 settlement in wrongful death case in which all statutory beneficiaries were located in Thailand

· Handled numerous fraud cases involving the purchase and sale of real estate 


Education

  • Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, Arlington, Virginia
    • J.D.
  • University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia
    • B.A.
    • Honors: Pi Sigma Alpha
    • Honors: Dean's List
    • Major: Foreign Affairs

Bar Admission

  • Virginia, 1992
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Virginia, 1999
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Virginia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit
  • U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces

Professional Associations

  • Virginia Trial Lawyers Association
  • Fauquier County Bar Association, President, 2004
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys
  • National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers

Past Positions

  • Fauquier County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney, 1996 to 1999
  • U.S. Army, Judge Advocate, 1992 to 1996

Current Employment Position

  • Partner