Chris Gair is widely recognized as one of the preeminent trial lawyers in Chicago. He is a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers and has tried dozens of cases in federal and state courts and arbitrations. He was recently honored by the American Lawyer as its “Litigator of the Week” for his work in overturning the conviction of a client on tax fraud charges based on juror misconduct.
Chris served for seven years as an Assistant United States Attorney in Chicago, eventually becoming deputy chief of the Organized Crime Division. He led many of the landmark prosecutions undertaken by the office during his tenure, including the conviction of the mayor, city council members and appointed officials in Chicago Heights in connection with a long-running extortion, bribery and racketeering enterprise. He prosecuted and convicted long-time Outfit boss Lenny Patrick for running an extortion crew that shook down restaurants, car dealers and other prominent businesses in Chicago. He then flipped Patrick to convict Gus Alex, an Outfit leader since the 1930s who had never even been arrested in more than five decades of criminal activity. Chris also prosecuted and convicted the then head of Chicago’s organized crime syndicate, Sam Carlisi, and seven of his subordinates for racketeering, conspiracy to commit murder, extortion, loan-sharking and tax fraud.
Upon leaving the United States Attorney’s office, Gair went into private practice and was a partner at two premier litigation firms. He spent eleven years at the well-known boutique Freeman, Freeman & Salzman focusing on antitrust litigation and white collar criminal defense. He followed with seven years as a partner at Jenner & Block, one of the most prestigious law firms in Chicago. Chris was one of Jenner’s top trial lawyers in civil and criminal cases.
Chris is fluent in Spanish and developed a project, funded by USAID, in which he coached prosecutors and police in Mexico in investigating and prosecuting cases for presentation under Mexico’s new system of oral trials. He has worked closely with the Procuradurías of the Mexican states of Baja California del Norte, Morelos, and Oaxaca and in 2016 was a featured speaker at a national conference on justice system reform in Mexico.
He has written numerous articles on an eclectic variety of subjects from football’s claim to make men out of boys to cross-examination to a book review of a contemporary Spanish novelist.
Chris graduated summa cum laude from Duke University with a major in philosophy. He was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. After a year working on the gubernatorial campaign of former Senator Adlai Stevenson III, he studied law at the University of Chicago, graduating with honors and as a member of the Order of the Coif.
Following graduation, Chris spent two years as a law clerk to Justice Seymour Simon of the Supreme Court of Illinois.
Chris’ avocations are reading Spanish-language novels, performing in community theater, running, hiking and skiing.
Gair Eberhard Nelson Dedinas Ltd
1 East Wacker Drive, Suite 2600
Chicago, IL 60601
Chris Gair is "a gifted courtroom lawyer, skilled cross examiner and a very good trial strategist" who has "great instinct and presence in the courtroom"
- Chambers and Partners
"Chris Gair is an aggressive, tenacious, well-regarded trial lawyer with extensive experience in complex commercial litigation as well as white-collar defense."
- Chambers and Partners
"Gair gave them the hammer! He is an awesome courtroom litigator. I wish our [regular] lawyers had half the spit, vinegar and gravel Gair has for guts."
- Client, During a Trial
"Chris commanded the courtroom from the start, gaining the respect of the judge and the trust of the jury from the outset."
- Henning Carey Proprietary Trading