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An accomplished trial lawyer with over twenty-five 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 felony cases. 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 strongly 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 was appointed trial defense counsel and won several complete acquittals early in his career. He was later promoted to appellate defense counsel and handled scores of criminal appeals. His military awards include the Meritorious Service Medal and the Parachutist Badge. Chris came to Fauquier County in 1996 and joined the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, where he tried numerous felony jury trials, including a first degree murder case resulting in a life sentence. Chris continued his service as a JAG attorney in the Virginia Army National Guard on a part-time basis until 2001. He entered private practice in 1999.

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 a failed retinal detachment surgery
  • Co-counsel in defending first degree murder case resulting in two manslaughter convictions and the reversal of one conviction on appeal
  • 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
  • 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 in mid-trial)
  • Handled multiple partition suits with complex accounting issues
  • Represented builder in malicious prosecution case involving builder’s former clients resulting in significant plaintiff’s verdict
  • Successfully defended numerous trustees/personal representatives in breach of fiduciary duty claims
  • Prevented foreclosure of client’s home in lawsuit against “equity stripper”
  • Handled multiple “corporate divorce” cases involving LLC members, partners and corporate shareholders
  • Represented major corporation and senior executives in stock option fraud case – case settled on favorable terms to corporation and executives
  • Co-counsel in complex $10 million partnership litigation case resulting in complete defense verdict after a multi-day trial; judgment affirmed on appeal
  • Successfully contested will based on undue influence (case settled in mid-trial)
  • Obtained $650,000 settlement in wrongful death case in which all statutory beneficiaries were located in Thailand
  • Successfully defended group of homeowners in road easement litigation
  • Handled multiple fraud cases involving the sale of real estate (buyer and seller)
Areas of Practice
  • General Civil Litigation
  • Personal Injury
  • Criminal Defense
Litigation Percentage
  • 100% of Practice Devoted to Litigation
Bar Admissions
  • Virginia
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Virginia
  • 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
Education
  • Antonin Scalia Law School, Arlington, Virginia, J.D.
  • University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, B.A.
    • Honors: Pi Sigma Alpha, Dean's list
Professional Associations and Memberships
  • Virginia Trial Lawyers Association
  • Fauquier County Bar Association, President, 2004
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys
  • National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers
Past Employment 
  • Fauquier County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney, 1996 - 1999
  • U.S. Army, Judge Advocate General's Corps, 1992 - 1996
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