Chris Arledge is a Partner at Ellis George LLP and the creator and director of Ellis George’s Trial Academy. He has been trying intellectual property and other complex business disputes for more than twenty years.
Chris has landed multimillion-dollar verdicts for plaintiffs in a wide range of cases involving patents, trademarks, licensing agreements, and other commercial disputes, as well as defense verdicts for defendants.
Chris’s work has been praised by judges who presided over his trials:
- One (now-retired) federal judge described Chris’s closing argument as “one of the best closing arguments [he has] seen in 40 years.”
- A Superior Court judge declared that Chris’s “cross examination of the plaintiff was the most riveting examination [he’s] seen in any trial … exquisite work.”
- Another Superior Court judge said Chris’s cross examinations in a two-month jury trial were “as good as anything I’ve ever seen. Your ability to keep control of the witness while also telling a story was something I don’t think I’ve seen anybody else do. If I were still practicing, I would go to one of your classes or read your book.”
Chris is an experienced and successful advocacy instructor. He is the co-author of the book To Prove, To Please, To Move: Timeless Principles of Legal Advocacy. Chris has taught trial advocacy and deposition skills around the world, including programs at some of the largest, most-prestigious law firms in the country. Chris is also a member of the faculty for the Advanced Advocacy Course for Barristers in Dublin, Ireland and for the Advanced International Advocacy Course at Oxford University in England. Chris has also taught the “Art of Persuasion for Lawyers” and “Taking and Defending Depositions” courses at Chapman University School of Law.
After years on the faculty for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, Chris has developed his own trial-training program that he offers to bar associations, law firms, Inns of Court, and law schools. His program is a performance-based program where students learn to try cases by performing actual witness examinations, opening statements, and closing arguments. What separates Chris’ program from other successful trial-training programs is the emphasis on using effective storytelling in all aspects of trial and a focus on creating and protecting the advocate’s credibility.
Chris’s articles on persuasion and trial advocacy have appeared in the ABA Journal, Law360, California Lawyer, OC Lawyer, and the Daily Journal, and Chris was profiled on Law360’s “Trial Pros” series.
After graduating from law school at the University of Southern California, Chris clerked for the Honorable Charles Wiggins on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and spent three years as an associate at O’Melveny & Myers before co-founding the law firm One LLP in Southern California. After 19 years at One LLP, Chris joined the partnership at Ellis George LLP.
Sample First-Chair Trial Results
- A $7 million jury verdict in a trade secret case.
- A $5 million jury verdict in a fraud case against an international pharmaceutical company.
- A $4.3 million arbitration award in an international licensing dispute concerning the use of well-known soccer marks.
- A $2 million jury verdict in a trademark counterfeiting case.
- A $1.68 million judgment in a patent case. The jury confirmed the validity and enforceability of the patent, found the defendant’s infringement to be willful, and granted the requested 15% royalty. The court granted a post-trial request for enhanced damages.
- A $1.58 million arbitration award in a dispute over software development.
- A directed verdict in a multi-million-dollar trade dress dispute in federal court.
- A successful defense in a mass media defamation case involving a world-famous celebrity. The jury awarded only $10,000 to a plaintiff who sought millions for, he claimed, falsely being called a drug dealer.
- An arbitration award granting the client an ownership interest in a television program.
- A defense verdict in a three-week jury trial in an intentional interference with contract case.
- A defense verdict in a two-month jury trial in a defamation case with $80 million at stake. Chris came in just before trial to second chair the case and handle the key cross examinations. The trial judge later said those cross examinations were “as good as anything I’ve seen.”
Chris believes that lawyers are, above all, called to persuade, and Chris therefore studies and teaches the principles of persuasion. He has taught the Art of Persuasion at Chapman Law School and has lectured on persuasion widely, to bar associations, Inns of Court, and law firms. Chris’s first continuing legal education program on persuasion remains the highest-rated MCLE program ever offered by one of the major online MCLE providers. See participant feedback here: (Link)
Chris handles all manner of complex business disputes, but he has special proficiency in intellectual property matters, particularly disputes over copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets. In recent years, he has handled disputes involving the intellectual property of celebrities like Madonna, Don Henley, Kobe Bryant, Bette Davis, and Perez Hilton.
Education & Background
- O’Melveny & Myers LLP: Litigation Associate.
- United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit: Law Clerk to the Honorable Charles Wiggins.
- One LLP: Co-founder and Managing Partner.
- University of Southern California, J.D.: Order of the Coif; Arthur Manella Scholarship winner (awarded to the top-ranked student in the class at the end of the first year); Law Review.
- William Jewell College, B.A.: magna cum laude.
- Author, “Effective Storytelling on Cross Examination,” Orange County Lawyer, February 2024
- Author, “6 storytelling do’s and don’ts for lawyers,” ABA Journal, August 2022
- Author, To Prove, To Please, To Move: Timeless Principles of Legal Advocacy, January 2022
Other Items of Interest
- In law school, Chris was selected by William Rehnquist, then Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, as one of only 11 law students nationwide to be granted an interview as finalists in the Chief Justice’s clerkship-selection process.
- Chris has regularly been selected to the Southern California Super Lawyers list by Super Lawyers magazine.
- Chris has served as a Trustee of California Baptist University, where he has also taught constitutional law.
- Chris has served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Magnolia Memorial Park.
- Chris is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and instructor.
- Chris writes a weekly college-football column for WeAreSc.com called Musings from Arledge.