Chris Geis concentrates his civil litigation practice on the defense of local governments and public officials, especially law enforcement officers. He has significant trial and appellate experience in both state and federal courts in North Carolina.
In addition, Chris holds the rank of Commander in the United States Navy Reserve Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps and has extensive experience in military criminal law and operational law, with two deployments to the Persian Gulf since 2001. Chris graduated from the 58th Military Judge’s Course in Charlottesville, Virginia, in May 2015.
After serving on active duty in the Navy, Chris returned to Womble in 2003. He was a summer associate in 1997 while a student at Wake Forest Law School.
Chris has successfully represented numerous cities, counties and public officials in civil trials, appeals, and a wide variety of tort litigation, including in cases involving wrongful death, excessive force, search and seizure, and other personal injury. He also has experience in product liability defense, business litigation, and insurance defense. In 2004, he represented on a pro bono basis a woman whose two children were killed in the September 11th World Trade Center attacks.
Before attending law school, Chris was a newspaper reporter and editor. In 2010 he won the North Carolina State Bar Association’s annual fiction writing competition and had a short story published in the North Carolina Bar Journal. In 2014, he finished second short story and had another story published. In recent years, he has written op-ed columns for the Winston-Salem Journal.
Chris is also a member of the adjunct faculty at Wake Forest University School of Law, where he serves as an adviser to the Student Veterans Legal Clinic, which provides pro bono representation for current and former members of the United States Armed Forces.
- The new South Carolina, Winston-Salem Journal, July 15, 2015
- The ballplayer and the rebel flag, Winston-Salem Journal, June 28, 2015
- The long-lasting memories of Selma, Winston-Salem Journal, March 9, 2015
- A Carolina Blue Bikini and a Court-Martial, North Carolina State Bar Journal, Winter 2014
- Dreaming of the glory days of college hoops, Winston-Salem Journal, April 3, 2014
- Local reservist reflects on journey to bin Laden's end, Winston-Salem Journal, May 8, 2011
- Race in Carolina, North Carolina State Bar Journal, Fall 2010. (Printed version)
- When State Rejected Politics of Race, Winston-Salem Journal, June 14, 2008. (Printed version)
- Member of Forsyth County Bar
- Adjunct Professor of Law, Wake Forest University School of Law, Student Veterans Legal Clinic
Honors and Awards
Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America (BL Rankings), Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants, 2021
Any result the lawyer or law firm may have achieved on behalf of clients in other matters does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.
- Baker v. Smith, 737 S.E.2d 144 (N.C. Ct. App. 2012) (case of first impression holding that sheriff’s jailer was entitled to public official’s immunity on wrongful death claim).
- Estate of Earley v. Haywood County, 694 S.E.2d 405 (N.C. Ct. App. 2010) (first published case holding NCACC provision preserved governmental immunity) and Frink v. Batten, 676 S.E.2d 620 (N.C. Ct. App. May 19, 2009) (Table) (first unpublished case establishing same).
- Cooper v. Sheehan, 735 F.3d 153 (4th Cir. 2013) (on remand to trial court, jury verdict for defendant officers in police shooting).
- Fulford v. Jenkins, 672 S.E.2d 759 (N.C. Ct. App. 2009) (on remand to trial court, directed verdict for defense in jury trial for wrongful death claim against county DSS officials).
- Elliott v. Rollins, 2013 WL 5460193 (E.D.N.C. Sept. 30, 2013) (jury verdict for defense on FMLA claim against county official).