Q&A With New Member Chris Schehr
Chris Schehr set up his own practice after about a year of working for a big firm in Charlotte. Since then, he has learned a lot of firsthand lessons about client intake and the importance of a network.
“I would say the biggest lesson I learned when starting my own firm was don’t try to bite off more than you can chew,” he said. “At first, I wanted to take anything that came in the door, but quickly realized I should be selective with my cases. I also learned that it is very important to keep experienced attorneys close as they are a great resource when I needed help with an issue. They have been very helpful in times of need.”
Michael Christopher Schehr
Schehr Law PLLC
NCAJ member for: nine months
A Winston-Salem native, Schehr attended UNC Charlotte and Thomas Jefferson School of Law, graduating cum laude in 2018. He lives in Charlotte with Bosley, his 14-year-old Great Dane/boxer mix, who he refers to as his “only child.”
Schehr answered a few questions for us about his practice and his side gig as a professional paintball player.
What led you to set up your own practice?
What fueled my decision to start my own practice was not being able to work closely with clients when I worked for a bigger firm. Most of the time, a paralegal or legal assistant would meet with my clients while I would just review the case file and go through the process. I wanted to be face-to-face with my clients and give them a personal experience. I am also very entrepreneurial in nature and enjoy the process of growing a business.
What prompted you to join NCAJ?
I found the NCAJ to be an excellent resource when it comes to researching and finding other issues like your own. I find myself scrolling through the Auto Torts Listserv looking for situations and issues similar to mine. If I need help with a case, I know the Listerv is an excellent place to ask. I would not hesitate to tell others to join the NCAJ and join a Listerv in their area of practice.
Why did you decide to focus on immigration defense, criminal defense and personal injury?
I decided on PI, criminal defense and immigration because I was most interested in those areas. I clerked for a big firm in San Diego where I did personal injury prior to taking the bar exam. I had some experience in the area and found it enjoyable. With respect to criminal defense and immigration, I just kind of fell into those areas. The previous firm I worked at as an associate, I worked mainly in immigration and criminal defense. I enjoy these areas and understand that everyone is entitled to a defense team. I may also have been inspired by many legal Netflix shows.
Is there a case so far that stands out as particularly memorable, one that made you feel proud to practice law?
All of my cases have been memorable in one way or another. However, I really find joy in my immigration cases. I remember helping a young girl without status after her parents abandoned her in her home country. She found a foster mother, and I obtained custody for her. I remember seeing how happy she was after the hearing. Those are the cases that remind me why I love being a lawyer.
Was there someone in your life who inspired you to pursue a career in the law?
My best friend Philip Thomas inspired me to go to law school. He is a year older than me, and I saw him go through his first year of law school. Call me crazy, but I thought it seemed fun, so I took the LSAT and applied.
Tell me about your experience being a professional paintball player.
I fell in love with paintball after attending a paintball birthday party around the age of 12. Little did I know it was a growing sport that I would see on ESPN a few years later. I worked through the divisions and eventually tried out for my first pro team. I made the team and have been playing professionally since 2013. It is my escape from normal life and clears my mind.
Describe the perfect day off.
My perfect day off consists of waking up on a sunny day, taking my dog on a long walk and then heading to the lake to hang out on the boat all day.