Attorney Spotlight: Chris Climo

April 6, 2018

Chris Climo spotlightTell us about your practice.

Since joining the firm just over six months ago, I have been fortunate enough to work on variety of interesting, high-stakes litigation matters. My very first assignment at the firm was for a white-collar criminal jury trial in federal court – the type of assignment a freshly minted lawyer dreams about. I have also had the opportunity represent clients in the context of government enforcement actions, complicated business disputes, and a variety of appellate matters. The litigation experience available to new associates at Bass, Berry & Sims is unmatched in the Nashville market.

Prior to joining the firm, you had the opportunity to serve as a law clerk for Judge Gilbert S. Merritt, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. How did this experience prepare you for practicing law?

My clerkship with Judge Merritt fundamentally changed the way I approach the law, and I am confident that it will serve as a strong foundation for my legal career. Working for a man who has devoted decades of his life to protecting the ideals of justice and the rule of law was humbling and inspiring. I walked away from the experience with an overwhelming desire to devote the same passion and sense of purpose to my own practice. When I am puzzling over a particularly troublesome legal issue, I imagine the questions that Judge Merritt might ask to cut straight to the heart of the matter. When I am turning a phrase, I think about how Judge Merritt might say the same thing with half the words and double to rhetorical force. And when I am constructing an argument, I try to imagine which issues Judge Merritt would focus on if he were deciding the case. A clerkship is something like an apprenticeship; it gives a young, inexperienced lawyer the opportunity to learn from a master of the profession. My time with Judge Merritt undoubtedly made me a better lawyer, and I am thrilled to be able to incorporate the things I learned from him into my own practice.

Why did you choose to pursue a career in the legal field?

My mom would tell you that she knew I would be a lawyer when I was in second grade. If she did not know as soon as I asked to dress up as Thomas Jefferson for Halloween, then she did when I came home afterwards. Foreseeing the possibility that I might be mistaken for one of the other Founding Fathers – men in powdered wigs do look alike, after all – I decided to hand out copies of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson’s most famous work. Despite my diligence, people told my dad what a cute George Washington I was all night. When I arrived back home, I asked my mom with a straight face, “Don’t people know that Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence?” That Halloween taught me a difficult lesson about constitutional republics; it also convinced my mom that I would end up a lawyer.

The more conventional answer to the question is that I decided to pursue a career in law after spending two years as a professional consultant to hospitals. Although my consulting work was challenging and interesting, it required me to fly across the country every week. Law school offered the potential to continue performing interesting and intellectually engaging work, with much less travel. Since going to law school, I have been thrilled to learn that a career as a litigator is a natural fit for my way of thinking and my interests.