Chattanooga is home to attorneys who focus on a variety of civil matters. There are immigration attorneys, family law attorneys, workers’ compensation attorneys and more.
Now that Christopher Gant is living and practicing in Chattanooga, the city also has a kabob man.
Gant says he became an expert in skewered meats while representing a restaurant in Atlanta. The landlord was attempting to lease neighboring space to an eatery that would have sold the same kind of food as his client.
“I had to litigate the exclusivity provision of their lease,” Gant explains. “When a sandwich shop opens in a strip mall, they want to be the only place selling sandwiches. My client had the exclusive right to sell Mediterranean food and kabobs at that location.”
The initially straightforward dispute bumped into a roadblock when it came to the definition for kabob, so Gant hit the proverbial books to find precedence.
He found it in a case argued in Massachusetts Superior Court that hinged on whether or not a burrito is a sandwich.
“I determined every culture in the world makes something that could be called a kabob; although it’s called something different, it’s basically skewered meat cooked over an open flame,” Gant explains. “So we had a dispute over whether a company could move in and sell the same types of foods my client was selling and simply call them something different.”
Gant won the case. While he says he laments not setting any legal precedents with respect to kabobs, he says he did relish the opportunity to cite the Massachusetts matter.
Gant, 42, brings more than his expertise in skewered meats to Chattanooga as he moves his base of operations from Atlanta to the city; in addition to representing clients in business disputes, he also concentrates on financial business litigation, real estate matters and personal injury work.
A Rossville, Georgia, native, Gant was practicing as Christopher Gant PLLC when he left Atlanta, but locally, he’ll be joining the law firm of Litchford, Pearce & Associates PLLC as a partner.
Attorneys Mark Litchford and Richard Pearce launched the firm last year after leaving Grant, Konvalinka & Harrison. Welcoming Gant into the fold not only brings three Class of 1997 McCallie School graduates under a single roof, it also allows Litchford and Gant to realize a long-held dream to practice together.
“Mark and I met as ninth graders at McCallie and became lifelong friends,” Gant recalls. “We’ve always talked about practicing law together.”
The opportunity for Gant to return to the Chattanooga area arose when his wife, Ali Gant, accepted a job as the chief development officer at Girls Preparatory School last year.
At the time, their twin sons were approaching the age when they would be able to attend McCallie School as sixth graders, providing yet another reason for the family to pull up roots and move to the city.
After the move, Gant continued to practice in Atlanta; however, the pandemic ended his weekly trips to Georgia’s capital when it sent everyone into seclusion.
While sheltering in place, Gant sought admission to the Tennessee State Bar and became a member of the Chattanooga Bar Association. While his license is still pending, he does have permission to practice in the Volunteer State in a limited capacity.
Gant will be drawing on his experience in civil business litigation as he develops his practice locally.
He first focused on bank litigation while doing mortgage foreclosure workouts for the Atlanta law firm of Quirk & Quirk during the housing crisis of 2008 and later continued representing banks and other creditors at Stites & Harbison.
Gant then added general civil litigation, real estate closings and personal injury work while practicing with a number of firms and law groups throughout the greater Atlanta area.
He says his aspiration to become an attorney stemmed from his interest as a teenager in politics.
“When I was younger, a lot of lawyers served in the state Legislature. I admired their ability to speak effectively in public and advocate for their clients or a public policy position,” he notes. “I didn’t become a lawyer with the intention of going into politics, but I believed that had merit and thought I would like to be a lawyer someday.”
Gant earned his undergraduate and law degrees at the University of Georgia. After graduating with his juris doctor in 2007, he secured a job with a law firm in Atlanta. He then promptly lost the position when the housing crisis forced the practice to terminate most of its younger attorneys.
Finding another job was not easy. “Everybody wanted three to five years of experience, which I could not provide, but I was eventually able to go to work for Stites & Harbison,” Gant remembers.
As Gant opens a new chapter in his practice, he says he’s pleased with his choice of career.
“Everyone who comes to me with a legal issue has encountered some sort of a problem, whether they have a claim and need to file a lawsuit or they’ve been sued and need to respond to it, and I like the challenge.”
Gant also enjoys living in the Scenic City. He and Ali have three sons, including the twins and a boy who’s now in kindergarten. All three youngsters are involved in a variety of sports, which Gant says keeps him and his wife busy when they’re not working.
Now settled into a renovated century-old home on the North Shore, Grant says he and his family do carve out time to experience “everything local,” including walks on the Walnut Street Bridge and visits to See Rock City and the Tennessee Aquarium.
“We like taking in the sights I took for granted as I grew up here,” he says. “We also appreciate the pace of life.”
Gant also enjoys having the corner on kabob matters in Chattanooga. It might not be easy for an attorney to start fresh in a new city, but it certainly helps to have a specialty.