Business Litigation Attorney and Counselor
More Than Two Decades of Experience in Complex Dispute Resolution
Chris Ludmer handles litigation avoidance and litigation resolution cases throughout California. Chris has more than 20 years of trial experience and can help businesses and individuals reach the right resolution to complex disputes.
Unlike most modern “litigators,” Chris has personally tried more than 70 cases to jury verdict, in both State and Federal Courts. He has also litigated and reached favorable settlements in hundreds of other cases. Precisely because of his trial skills, he is able to advise clients when settlement is the best option and to negotiate for a favorable result. In all cases, his focus is developing innovative strategies to reach each client’s unique goals in the most cost-effective, efficient manner possible. All this is why Chris has been honored to represent a foreign Head of State, businesses from small local start-ups to large global corporations, individuals of all kinds, and is sought out by other attorneys to provide strategic and tactical litigation assistance and even “pinch hit” for them at trial.
Former Navy JAG Corps Attorney with More Than 20 Years of Experience
Chris Ludmer dedicates his practice to complex civil litigation. Before he founded CL Ludmer, A Law Corporation, Chris served as JAG Corps lawyer for the U.S. Navy, reaching the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He was supervising prosecutor and senior trial counsel for the U.S. Navy Trial Service Office Southeast, in charge of all trials from South Carolina to Texas, the Caribbean and Central and South America. He was chosen out of more than 400 other attorneys to serve as the principal assistant at the Pentagon to the Navy’s senior uniformed lawyer and the legal advisor to the Secretary of the Navy. Chris was also civil litigation team leader in Washington, DC, defending the Department of the Navy in all manner of civil lawsuits.
During his military service, Chris was also a special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. He speaks German and Japanese and worked as an associate for the Japanese Business Group of Coopers & Lybrand.
In San Diego, Chris was a partner at a large law firm, where he honed his trial skills, but he decided to establish his own practice to deliver more personalized legal services to his clients. This position allows him to work closely with his clients to provide prospective legal advice by developing comprehensive litigation avoidance strategies and to understand the best means of accomplishing their goals when disputes arise. Chris also knows that sometimes clients just cannot avoid litigation no matter what they do (or don’t do). His advance planning and advice helps his clients be ready when the fight comes, and win it. He treats each case as the unique matter it is.
CL Ludmer is foremost a trial law firm. At the start of every case, Chris prepares for trial. This trial focus helps his clients settle cases more favorably, and win those cases that end up getting tried in the courtroom. But even cases that settle relatively quickly can place a heavy financial burden on business and individuals, breaking budgets and shifting priorities. As such, Chris often first works with businesses and individuals long before any lawsuit arises to devise dispute avoidance practices and policies. To mitigate risks, he reviews contracts with a trial lawyer’s eye towards potential gaps and ambiguities that leave the opportunity for breaches and room for misinterpretation. Chris provides guidance to business stakeholders and corporate counsel on terms that protect a business’s interests. He also assesses employee handbooks and processes, and advises company principals and corporate counsel on improvements that can avoid employee disputes, or win them when they arise. Because he represents both plaintiffs and defendants depending on the case, Chris is uniquely positioned to understand the proof and evidentiary challenges involved from both sides’ point of view.
But the reality today is that, despite a clearly drafted contract or a model employee handbook, disputes can still arise. Chris’s military training becomes apparent in the high level of organization, discipline and strategy he applies to trial preparation from the outset of every case. He presents a polished litigator who is able to deliver a clear, persuasive argument to judges and jurors.
An important aspect of being a seasoned trial attorney is recognizing when not to take a case to trial. Chris considers each client’s—and each case’s—unique characteristics, the costs of litigation, time frame for resolution and the potential outcomes when advising clients about their options. Chris’s success in amicably resolving disputes with opposing counsel is grounded in his reputation as a skilled trial attorney. Opposing counsel recognize his willingness and ability to take a case to trial if the other side refuses to settle for the remedies his client is entitled to. In addition to Chris’s skill, opposing counsel also respect his professionalism, fairness, ethics, and ability to fashion creative solutions that leave each side with dignity. That is why so many prior opposing counsel refer Chris new clients—a rare honor in the heated, ego-driven world of litigation.View All Practice Areas
INNOVATIVE, STRATEGIC AND RESPONSIVE
Law is not static or linear. Each case must be approached with fresh eyes to develop the best path to resolution, focusing first and foremost on the client’s goals and needs. Chris offers innovative guidance and develops creative solutions. He works with clients on flexible fee structures that are aligned with the client’s needs and objectives. He is responsive to the client and to new matters that arise during the course of litigation. The military adage, “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy,” applies equally to litigation, and especially in trial, where the only thing predictable is the unpredictable. Foreseeing multiple contingencies, developing an adaptable set of strategies and tactics, and the ability to quickly shift gears during the heat of testimony, are skills that separate effective trial attorneys from mere paper litigators. Chris brings those skills to bear in every case.
"In my nearly 30 years as the CEO of several startup companies and the president of a division of a Fortune 100 company, Chris Ludmer is the savviest attorney I have ever met. Chris is intuitive, quick on his feet and misses no detail. He is a no-nonsense, laser-sharp litigator. His military training combined with his advocacy skill affirms that whenever I go into battle, I want Chris Ludmer leading the charge."
— Gary M. Pratt, Chief Executive Officer, Surgical Review Corporation
"I couldn't recommend Chris more. He excelled in every area on our case and obtained an outcome that was 50% better than we projected when starting our litigation. He was sensitive to our need to manage costs and always kept his eye on what was in our best business interest."
— Mark Toothacre, President, Pacific Medical Buildings
"When we needed to find a skilled litigator to handle a complex trade secrets and employment matter in California, we retained Chris Ludmer to represent the company. We had confidence in his approach to the right litigation strategy and his ability to negotiate the process and to manage the parties on the other side of the table. Chris is one of the most capable strategic legal minds I have come to work with in my career."
— Brian Snow, CEO, Pristine Environments
"As a business owner, I have had the pleasure of working with Chris Ludmer for the past 3 years. Chris has helped me extensively with negotiating my company’s Operating and Licensing agreements. He is a very responsive, creative and thorough attorney, who always has my best interest at heart. He listens carefully to my questions and always responds quickly. He offers a vast wealth of knowledge and experience, and is extremely efficient in working with other counsel. Chris has a calm demeanor and is very personable. I have enjoyed working with Chris and look forward to many more years as his client."
— Linda Conover, President, Leucadia Pizza Rancho Santa Fe
"Chris is the ideal attorney. Insightful and articulate, he stays with the case and follows up so that you don’t EVER have to wonder what is going on. Even more, Chris focuses on our business interests first and foremost, and is adept at both formulating creative strategies and managing our expectations. He is fair and wise, and I have the utmost confidence in his judgment. Chris’s instincts, honed by his extensive experience, never miss the mark. He is conciliatory when the case warrants it, and fights tenaciously when needed. When he sees an opportunity, he strikes decisively during the battle. Whenever any kind of legal dispute arises, Chris is the one we want on our side."
— Michael G. Wastvedt, CPA, CGMA, CDFA, President, Wastvedt & Company, Inc.
"Chris represented the majority partner and shareholders of our veterinary group after one shareholder laid claim to two hospitals and equal partnership. The case was challenging in many respects, not the least of which was a less than optimal paper trail. Chris was readily available at any hour for consulting, guidance and strategic planning. His demeanor and approach were reassuring and calming during a very stressful period, contrasting with his strong and dynamic court presence and litigation style. He commanded the courtroom and discovered a seldom used law under the Corporations Code—one that even the judge was not aware of and had to be educated about—and won control of the practices and partnership back for all of the shareholders at trial. The trial was far faster than anyone anticipated and it was a convincing win. Since then I have consulted with Chris on a number of issues, from employment law, discrimination, and LLP contracts. He is responsive, knowledgeable and always the consummate professional. I trust him implicitly."
— Ann Eliopulos, DVM, Hospital Administrator, Bodhi Animal Hospital
"When your business has a legal problem, Chris is the FIRST one you should call. He is the best lawyer we have ever encountered, period. As a small business owner, we have over 100 employees in an industry fraught with high turnover. Much of that employee base is from a generation that seems to have grown up litigious, with a sense of being "owed" something extra from their employers when they leave no matter what the circumstances and no matter how long their tenure. Especially in a relatively employer-unfriendly state like California, where the employment law landscape can be perilous for businesses of any size, the risk of frivolous claims and lawsuits to extort money is constant. That's one reason we are so lucky to have Chris Ludmer on our side. He is always available to counsel us on almost any issue, and his advice has helped us avoid many potential problems or risks that could have resulted in costly litigation. When threats or claims did arise, Chris's advance work with us and the processes he had us institute, along with his brilliant litigation skills, squashed any claims threatened or brought against our business early on. That alone has saved us time and again from spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, and countless hours of precious time, to defend ourselves. It's a real challenge owning and operating a small business. But with Chris representing us, and knowing that he ‘has our back,’ we can focus on that business and our increasing success. Hiring Chris as your lawyer is one of the smartest business decisions you will ever make!"
— Jennifer Ellis, Chief Operating Officer, Big Dog Ventures LLC
"Mr. Ludmer conducted the defense of a complex fraud jury trial in my court. His representation of his clients and his advocacy to the court were outstanding in every respect."
— San Diego Superior Court Judge