Kris Gardner maintains an eclectic legal practice that is focused primarily in local government law, litigation and alcoholic beverage control law. He is a native North Carolinian and grew up in Charlotte, where he attended the public schools. Kris began his career at Tharrington Smith as an office courier after graduating college. He was offered several jobs but selected Tharrington Smith because, even though the interview was brief, he quickly realized the close community of people who worked at the firm. This was a special place. Kris worked hard before attending law school and later worked as a law clerk at Tharrington Smith in the summers during law school. Kris has been an attorney at the firm since 2002 and a partner since 2009.
Kris is recognized throughout the state as one of the most knowledgeable and respected attorneys in beverage alcohol control law. He represents the North Carolina Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association and many beer and wine distribution companies across the state. Kris regularly consults with policymakers and stakeholders in support of responsible, state-based alcohol laws and policy.
Kris also has extensive experience representing local governments. He serves as the town attorney for Enfield, Littleton and Weldon in Halifax County. He has also represented dozens of local governments statewide in a wide array of litigation matters. Kris served on the Morrisville Planning Board from 2008-2014 and as an at-large member on the Morrisville town council from 2014-2015.
In addition, Kris also represents clients in general litigation and other regulatory matters. He assists clients with matters before state licensing boards such as doctors, dentists, engineers and other licensed professionals. Kris also has extensive general litigation experience. He has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in a broad range of disputes, including matters involving wrongful death, personal injury, real and personal property, and complex contract disputes.
Kris graduated cum laude from North Carolina Central University School of Law, where he was a senior editor of the law journal. He attended North Carolina State University before graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1998. His hobbies include hunting and saltwater fishing.
Certified Superior Court Mediator, NC Dispute Resolution Commission, 2009
Selected to North Carolina Super Lawyers Rising Stars, 2009, and since 2011
Selected to North Carolina Super Lawyers since 2015
AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated Lawyer by Martindale Hubbell in the areas of Alcoholic Beverage Law, Litigation and Local Government
North Carolina Bar Association, Law Related Education Advisory Committee, “Apple Gavel” Award winner
Best Lawyers, 2024
North Carolina Central University School of Law
Juris Doctor, 2002
senior editor of the law journal
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
BA, Political Science, 1998
North Carolina State University
North Carolina State Bar, 2002
United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, 2002
United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, 2002
United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, 2008
United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, 2009
United States Supreme Court, 2009
American Bar Association, 2002-2016
North Carolina Bar Association, 2002, Government & Public Sector Law Section
Wake County Bar Association, 2002
N.C. Professional Lobbyists Association, 2010
NC Association of Municipal Attorneys
NCBA’s Lawyer Referral Service Committee, member, 2012-14
NCBA’s Law Related Education Advisory Committee, member, 2005-2011
Morrisville Town Council, at-large member, 2014-2015
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