Chris personally understands how overwhelming it is to be involved in a serious accident, as he has had several close family members suffer accident-related injuries, including his two youngest daughters who were seriously injured by an intoxicated boat driver.
Chris has been practicing law since 1984, and is the founder and principal partner of Russell & Lazarus APC. The firm of Russell & Lazarus was established in 1998 and is located in Newport Beach, California, with offices serving the county of Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, Sacramento and Orange. Mr. Russell began his practice with the premise that by meeting the needs of his clients first, the needs of his firm and his employees would then also be met. Mr. Russell coached high school football as a way to put himself through college. He practices law and lives by the motto of former Notre Dame head coach, Lou Holtz: 1. Do right by people at all times; 2. Do everything to the best of your ability; 3. Show people you care.
Chris and his associates have successfully litigated over 5,000 personal injury claims to verdict or claims that have settled prior to trial or arbitration, ranging in value from $25,000 to $16.2 million. Chris belongs to the American Association of Justice (formerly known as the American Trial Lawyers Association), the Consumer Attorneys Of California, the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles, and the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association. Chris has also been admitted to all of the courts of the State of California, and has argued cases in the Federal Courts as well as the California Court of Appeals. He shares strategies and communicates daily with his Plaintiff attorney colleagues across the State of California on topics including trial tactics, judge selection, expert witness background information, medical provider credibility, etc. These strategies help put his clients in the best position to allow them to resolve their injuries as quickly as possible, and to obtain fair compensation from at-fault parties who are oftentimes represented by insurance companies that seem to have lost the ability to even understand the definition of “fair.”
He has worked on almost every type of personal injury claim imaginable, including motor vehicle collisions, product liability claims, slip, trip and fall claims, premises liability claims, animal inflicted injury claims, work related claims, sexual assault claims, and the list goes on. The common theme to all of these claims was that someone was injured and they needed help. Chris’ goal in helping people is two fold; get them better and get them fair compensation. Chris has recovered compensation on behalf of his clients 95% of the time. Chris does not shy away from taking on difficult liability claims when the injuries are substantial, which is why it is not at 100%.
AWARDS & DISTINCTIONS
- The National Law Journal Elite Trial Lawyers
- The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Trial Lawyers
- Super Lawyers Official Selection, 2016 – 2017
- Million Dollar Advocates Forum
- OC Metro Top Attorney
- BBB Accredited Business
- Avvo Rating: 10 out of 10
- Orange County Trial Lawyers Association
- Consumer Attorneys of California
- Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles
Chris has been blessed in being married to Helene for 32 years. He has four grown daughters, who, along with his wife, are the loves of his life. His current hobbies are few, as he lives a busy life practicing law and helping his clients, along with keeping up with weddings and the college comings and goings of his daughters. When his girls where active in sports, he coached, sponsored, or helped coach in excess of 50 of their sports teams. When he does have spare time, Chris enjoys giving back to the community in the context of activities or events that involve preventing injuries or honoring those who have been injured or killed in accidents. Chris has been a primary sponsor of the Sarah DeMille annual cross country race which was established in memory of one his daughters’ classmates who died tragically in a car crash. Chris is also a primary sponsor for “Swim for Life,” an organization devoted to preventing child drowning, which is still the number one cause of death for children under the age of 5 in Orange County. Chris is the third of six children with his youngest brother, John, heading up his affiliate office in Northern California, Russell & Philbrick.
In 1981 Chris received his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Long Beach State University, and in 1984 he received his Juris Doctorate Degree from California Western School of Law in San Diego. He has taught business law at the University of California at Irvine and has taught trial practice at Western State Law School. He is the author of “How Smart People do Dumb Things to Destroy Their Personal Injury Claims,” a book that focuses on avoiding common mistakes in the claims process after a serious accident or injury.