‘Keeper of the values’ – and trusted advocate for the legal needs of business and life
It was personal curiosity that drew Chris Malone to the field of general civil practice to serve the needs of small and medium-sized companies, contractors, licensed professionals, self-employed individuals, business owners, and people or families in need of legal support. Committing nearly his entire career to ThompsonMcMullan, Chris today serves as president and managing director of the firm, overseeing operations and setting the course for the future.
He is also “the keeper of the values,” the one who sets the bar for how the firm will work together and function. It’s the role he views as most important: Upholding the firm’s foundational core values – fairness, integrity, equal dignity, balance, service, and civility – and ensuring the six elements are sustained and transitioned to the new and younger generation of lawyers who are building ThompsonMcMullan.
He was in their shoes once, too. As a young attorney, leaving a clerkship at the Supreme Court of Virginia, he was in the process of interviewing at numerous firms until Oct. 31, 1980, when he met founders John Thompson and Grice McMullan. “I called my wife afterwards and said, ‘We can call it off. That’s where I want to work.’”
It was an immediate sense of integrity and fairness in the air that drew him to the firm, where Chris today serves clients in general business and real estate matters – contracts, entity formation, and everyday legal counsel – and represents businesses and individuals in litigation across a variety of matters in Virginia and U.S. courts, with a significant emphasis on construction litigation. In addition, Chris maintains an extensive adoption and family law practice. As an adoptive parent of three himself, Chris personally understands the adoption process and assists families in initiating and finalizing adoptions to establish “forever homes” for children. Should contested issues arise, he represents adoptive parents and child-placement agencies in resolving disputes.
“There is no greater affirmation, for me, than for somebody to say that they want me to be their lawyer,” Chris says. “Our firm values are very clear: If someone has been bold enough to place their trust in us, then there is a great deal of responsibility that attaches to that. Every matter that comes through our door is important, and if we agree to it, we have the responsibility to give it our full attention regardless of the size or the issue.”
As an ordained permanent deacon in the Catholic Church, Chris devotes his free time in part to service in ministry to the Diocese of Richmond. He is assigned to serve at The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in the Fan District.
Chris is also actively involved with business and charitable organizations through the community. He was the 2016 John C. Kenny Pro Bono Award recipient from the Richmond Bar Association, an award presented annually to individuals or firms that show a dedication to pro bono legal services to greater Richmond’s poor and underserved. Chris regularly provides ongoing legal consultation and advice to a number of charitable organizations devoted to services for the homeless and disabled. A native of Alexandria, Chris lives in Hanover County with his wife of four decades, Nancy. His five grown children all live and work in the Richmond area. He enjoys hiking, camping, and the great outdoors.
“I don’t see it as a balancing act,” Chris once told Virginia Lawyers Weekly, when asked how he balances his business and personal life. “We live only one life and ought to use all of our time well in meeting our obligations as spouses, parents, lawyers and members of the community — all of which are equally important and sacred.”