Prior to launching the Law Office of Chris Van Vechten, Chris worked as a Rule 9 prosecuting attorney with the Thurston County Prosecutor’s Office and later with the Lakewood City Attorney’s Office. In addition, he interned with the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Civil Division and externed with Superior Court Judge James Dixon. Chris also volunteered his services on behalf of tenants via the Pierce County Neighborhood Legal Clinic and briefly volunteered with the Northwest Justice Project’s Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation program.
Chris’ most celebrated case involved him proving that a 15 year-old student at Shelton High School was framed by a classmate for bringing a cocked and loaded handgun to school in a case that was originally reported as a botched school shooting. Ever since, Chris has enjoyed something of a reputation as a “miracle worker.” His cases have at times received national media exposure and he has been quoted and interviewed by multiple media outlets including USA Today
A graduate of the University of Puget Sound and Seattle University School of Law, Chris has made a significant imprint on Tacoma not only as a lawyer but also as a political activist and occasionally a candidate for elected office. In 2009, The News Tribune credited Chris with leading a successful effort to televise Tacoma School Board meetings. In addition to championing various causes related to public education, Chris is a vocal proponent of reforming the criminal justice system whose ideas have inspired proposed legislation.
Chris lives with his wife, daughter, and two famous cats in Hilltop, Tacoma. He also occasionally does stand-up comedy at local clubs and bars.
MEMBERSHIPS, AFFILIATIONS & VOLUNTEER WORK:
- Washington State Bar Association (5/14 – Present)
- Pierce County Bar Association (5/14 – Present)
- Washington Defender Association (10/14 – Present)
- Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (7/14 – 9/15)
- Appointed member of the Tacoma Community Redevelopment Authority (12/13 – 11/14)
- Volunteer, Tacoma-Pierce County Neighborhood Legal Clinic (9/13-1/14)
- Volunteer, Northwest Justice Project Housing Foreclosure Mediation Program (9/12-12/12)
- Member, Parents and Friends of Tacoma Public Schools (2012 – Present)
- Member, Mayor Strickland’s Education Task Force (appointed 2/11- 3/13)
- Elected Councilman on Tacoma’s North End Neighborhood Council (elected 11/09 to 7/12)
- The Honorable Robert J. Bryan American Inn of Court (9/10-12/11)
- Commissioner on the Pierce County Arts Commission (appointed 4/08 to 6/10)
- Math Tutor at Peace Community Center (06-07)
- Fundraiser for the Sexual Assault Center of Pierce County (06-08)