Christopher M. Kelly



Christopher M. Kelly is the partner in charge of the firm’s Charlotte, North Carolina, office and a member of the Firm’s Executive Committee. He focuses his practice on complex litigation which includes commercial transportation law, business and commercial litigation, serious personal injury litigation, product liability disputes, insurance law, professional negligence, construction defect and appellate representation. Chris is also the Firm’s Commercial Transportation Team Leader.

Chris’ experience includes commercial disputes, catastrophic personal injury cases, complex construction matters, product liability claims and significant Carmack Amendment or cargo loss claims. Additionally, he has significant experience in professional negligence, insurance issues and real estate litigation. He has tried significant cases to verdict in both state and federal court ranging from contract disputes to wrongful death, from condemnation disputes to FELA personal injury claims and property damage due to chemical exposure to traumatic brain injury claims.

As a transportation lawyer, Chris is involved in handling matters which include:

  • Transportation contract disputes
  • Significant cargo and property damage claims
  • Catastrophic injury and death cases
  • FELA and crossing accident cases
  • Real estate disputes involving right of way and condemnation
  • Software licensing disputes and discovery management
  • Freight charge disputes and collections
  • Warehousing disputes
  • Review, revision and negotiation of transportation agreements

Chris’ coordinates motor carrier and railroad accident investigations, as well as emergency response to accidents. He is experienced in working with regulatory authorities investigating such matters to protect the interests of his client while ensuring important cooperation and collaboration occurs with the investigating agency.

He is also designated national counsel for the locomotive video evidence preservation programs for two national Class I railroads. He works with counsel in 22 different states to coordinate discovery and handle software licensing and data issues.

Chris’ wide range of experience ensures that his clients receive the benefit of sound counsel. Whether involving decisions made in the boardroom or judgment calls made in the courtroom, Chris’ 20 plus years handling complex legal matters have equipped him to effectively and economically represent clients throughout the Carolinas.


University of Notre Dame

B.A., Economics and Russian (1994)

Wake Forest University School of Law

J.D. (1997)

Bar Admissions

  • North Carolina State Bar
  • South Carolina Bar
  • United States District Court for the District of South Carolina
  • United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina
  • United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • Supreme Court of the United States

Associations & Professional Memberships

  • American Bar Association
  • Conference of Freight Counsel
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Mecklenburg County Bar Association
    • Service Committee Member (2012 – 2015)
  • National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel
  • North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys
    • General Liability Practice Group, Vice Chair (2017 – 2018)
  • Transportation Lawyers Association
    • Immediate Past President (2023-2024)
    • President (2022-2023)
    • President Elect (2021-2022)
    • First Vice President, Editor of The Transportation Lawyer: A Comprehensive Journal of Developments in Transportation Law (2020 – 2021)
    • Second Vice President (2019 – 2020)
    • Secretary/Treasurer (2018 – 2019)
    • TLA Annual Conference and Meeting, Santa Fe, NM, Program Chair (2017)
    • Executive Committee Representative at Large (2012-2014)
    • Transportation Law Institute, Los Angeles, CA, Program Chair (2013)
  • Trucking Industry Defense Association

Honors & Awards

  • Best Lawyers in America (2016-2024)
    • Commercial Litigation
    • Railroad Law
  • Wake Forest University School of Law
    • Editorial Staff, Law Review
    • E. McGruder Faris Memorial Award for Character, Leadership and Scholarship
  • Greenville Business Magazine, Best & Brightest, 35 and Under
  • Martindale-Hubbell, Peer Review Rated AV – Preeminent
    • AV Preeminent for Highest Level of Professional Excellence 
    • Distinguished for High Professional Achievement 
    • Ethical Standards and Legal Ability
  • South Carolina Super Lawyers, Transportation (2020-2021)
  • Transportation Lawyers Association, Distinguished Service Award (2017)

Community Involvement

  • Kiwanis Club, Greenville, SC, Past President
  • Leadership Greenville, Class 30, Graduate
  • Leadership Charlotte, Class 34, Graduate
  • Mecklenburg Area Catholic Schools (MACS) Education Annual Fund, Development Council
    • Council Member (2015 – 2020)
    • Grant Committee Chair (2016 – 2017)
    • Council Vice Chair (2017 – 2018)
    • Council Co-Chair (2018 – 2019)
  • Mecklenburg Area Catholic Schools (MACS) Fine Arts Center at CCHS Campaign Committee Member
    • Feasibility Study Committee, Member
    • Pre-Campaign Committee, Member
    • Campaign Committee, Member
  • Notre Dame Club of Charlotte, Member
    • Notre Dame Club of the Piedmont, Past President

News & Articles

The following articles are available upon request:

  • FAAAA Preemption Case Note:  Winning Huge Against Trespass to Chattel and Unfair Trade Practice Claims in a Transportation Contract Dispute, The Transportation Lawyer, Vol. 18, No. 5, pp. 28-30, April 2017.
  • Must a Defendant Joined and Served After Proper Removal of a Case Consent to Federal Jurisdiction: An Analysis of 28 U.S.C. § 1448, The Transportation Lawyer, Vol. 16, No. 1, pp. 44-47, July 2014.
  • Judicial Notice and Google: Ancient Doctrine and Internet Search Engine, The Transportation Lawyer, Vol. 14, No. 2, pp. 28-30, October 2012.
  • Contrasting Developments in the Law Related to Electronic Discovery: The Burden of Demonstrating Prejudice Due to Spoliation, The Transportation Lawyer, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 46-48, July 2011.
  • Truck Wars: The Rise of the Dark Side, The Transportation Lawyer, Vol. 11, No. 5, pp. 25-29, April 2010.
  • Attacking Affidavits: Maintaining the Integrity of the Process, South Carolina Lawyer, pp. 38-43, 50, January 2010.
  • From Twombly to Iqbal: The Rule 8 Revival of the Rule 12(b)(6) Motion, For The Defense, pp. 14-18, November 2009.
  • Keeping it Lonely at the Top: A Brief Guide to Resisting APEX Depositions, For The Defense, pp. 41-42, 60, January 2009.

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