Photo Credit: Becky Perkins, Summit Photo
When most people conjure the image of an attorney, they envision an elder statesman-looking fellow with a conservative haircut combed neatly to one side, dressed in a nondescript suit, standing in front of a towering bookcase of legal journals. This is definitely not Chris McLane. As an AV Preeminent attorney with the highest AVVO rating of 10 and the recipient of the Client Champion Platinum Award by Martindale-Hubbell, one might expect to find him tucked in a stately corner office guarded by a diligent receptionist. But as his hundreds of clients for the past 15 years will tell anyone, this is most assuredly not Chris. He meets clients in the local coffee shop, wearing flip-flops and shorts, or a parka, if he’s just returned from the ski slopes, which reflects exactly who he is—a genuine down-to-earth person, who just happens to be one of the best family law attorneys in the state of Colorado. And his clients love him for it. From Golden to Front Range to the Denver metro area, across the Eastern Plains, Mountain communities, and the Western Slope, he is known as a protector, a guardian, a creative legal strategist—and a friend.
As the energetic, compassionate founder of Family Law Center of the Rockies, Chris brings not only his exceptional legal mind, but his heart, his shoulder, his ear to each person he represents as he ushers them through all aspects of domestic relations law, including divorce, allocation of parental responsibilities, child support, and adoption. Through the most difficult, complex, emotional times of people’s lives, it is not a legal assistant, a receptionist, or a paralegal, but Chris who stands by their side, helping them navigate the family court system throughout Colorado—and fiercely protecting them as he would his own family.
We sat down with Chris to learn more about his unorthodox approach, what drives him, and the case that have left an indelible mark on him.
There was a pivotal moment in your life that led you to family law. Will you share this with us?
I truly feel that it was my calling. My undergrad is in electrical engineering; I wanted to do patent law. But after a few months, I realized that I was just staring at a computer all day, and this was not how I wanted to spend my life. Then one day, a neighbor was talking to me about his custody case, and I offered to help him pro bono. I really enjoyed it, and it just took off from there. I didn’t find family law; it found me. I’m right where I belong.
Is this what compelled you to found Family Law Center of the Rockies?
It absolutely is. The emotional toll that court proceedings can have on families can be immense and each case has its unique challenges—whether a difficult ex-spouse engaging in parental alienation or a parent failing to pay child support. We understand that and we are devoted to building strong relationships with each of our clients. I work personally with every person I represent and devise creative strategies to maximize their chances of success and minimize the emotional and financial stress. I have one mission—to protect the families and individuals I represent, whether reviewing a separation agreement or parenting plan or handling a highly contentious divorce.
You have a picture of a mama bear with her cubs on your website. What does this mean and why did you choose it?
I adore that picture, and so do my clients. This single picture reflects both who we are and who we are fighting on behalf of. Just as our clients are driven by protecting their own families, their kids, I am absolutely driven to protect my clients as if they were my own family.
In what other ways are you, as an attorney, and your firm different from most?
I would say in many ways. I’m not one of these pretentious attorneys that has to announce to people that I’m an attorney. The only time you’ll see me in a suit is when I’m fighting on behalf of my clients in a courtroom; it’s like my battle garb. But when I first meet them, I’m dressed in my usual casual clothes. They feel immediately at ease, and connect with me on personal level, and they feel they can put their faith in me in part because I’m not hiding behind some shiny unapproachable veneer; they see the genuine Chris—a person who truly cares about them.
As for my firm, first, I don’t use support staff or a paralegal. I want to be personally connected and intimately involved with my clients, so they deal directly with me, which also benefits them in court because I can see any nuances that often pop up. Second, my firm is 100% virtual. By not having to pay exorbitant rent for an office space, I can keep my fees low—usually less than half of what attorneys and law firms charge. And, really, I prefer to meet people in an informal environment. It puts their minds at ease, and they feel much more comfortable talking over a cup of coffee in a casual atmosphere, rather than in an office setting.
What do you enjoy most about your work, or what drives you, Chris?
Early in my career, I represented a client with six adopted kids. She was going through a divorce and trying to get custody because her husband was very abusive and had hurt the kids. That struck a profound chord with me. When we finished the case and I got her everything she needed, she said, “Thank you so much. Please never stop caring.” I have never forgotten that. I’ve been guiding by that my entire career. My greatest accomplishments are seeing how I’ve help to make a positive impact on my clients’ lives.
Chris holds a J.D. from Roger Williams University and a B.S. from Southern Illinois University. He is a member of the Colorado Bar Association; Family Law Section, Colorado Bar Association; 1st Judicial District Bar Association, 7th Judicial District Bar Association, Heart of the Rockies Bar Association, and Southwestern Colorado Bar Association.
Owner and Attorney — Family Law Center of the Rockies
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