W. CHRISTOPHER DUNN, ESQ. OF RANDALL PAGE LAW
This Chesapeake native took "the scenic route" to his original destination
by Cristi Sanchez
W. Christopher Dunn of Randall Page Law
Christopher Dunn had wanted to practice law since high school, but life's path took twists and turns before returning the Great Bridge native to his original destination. "I like to say I took the scenic route-a really happy 30-year excursion," he chuckles.
Chris grew up in the neighborhood of Wilson Heights and was a very busy youth on the drumline at Great Bridge High School who delivered newspapers. He even delivered The Shopper to area homes during the magazine's early days prior to its being mailed. During his time in high school, Chris drew inspiration from a popular TV legal drama which influenced his choice of professions. "I used to really enjoy watching a TV show called The Paper Chase," Chris reveals. "I found it very interesting, and that's when I started thinking about becoming a lawyer. My parents would tell me that it was a good fit because I loved to argue," he adds, laughing. "I had two main areas of interest that I loved at the time: music and law. I decided to pursue a career in the law."
After graduating in 1987, Chris attended William & Mary as a government major with the intention of going to law school. That is when life took its first turn. During his core government classes, Chris was surprised by the amount of writing required. "I found that as a government major, there was a considerable amount of writing involved, and while I could write well, I did not enjoy it," he explains.
One day in the student center coffee shop, he happened to cross paths with a visiting economics professor from Adelaide, Australia. As they began to talk, Chris shared his dilemma. "As I was explaining my experience, the professor suggested that I take an economics class to see what I thought," Chris recalls. "He told me that economics is just math with better stories.' So, I took a class and found out that I really enjoyed it. Economics isn't just the study of money; it's the study of the allocation of scarce resources. That can be applied to anything, and I found it fascinating." It was a defining moment because it was then that Chris changed his major to Economics.
All throughout college Chris remained connected to music by teaching drums to band students at various high schools. Realizing that his love for music had never dimmed and was still calling to him, Chris decided to change course again after earning his economic degree from William & Mary by heading to East Carolina University to study music. He left ECU with his second bachelor's degree and soon became a band director.
"A lawyer can be a shield or a sword. I like being the shield."
W. Christopher Dunn advises a client
After serving as a band director in Georgia and North Carolina school systems, Chris returned home, spending 17 years with Chesapeake Public Schools as band director at Crestwood Middle School. He also taught drums to students at Great Bridge, Hickory, and Deep Creek high schools."I absolutely loved what I did," Chris says, beaming. "Teaching kids to have the same love and appreciation for music was extremely fulfilling. I left the school system with very fond memories when I was finally able to retire."
Upon retiring from teaching, Chris's career path came full circle when he decided to pursue his original dream of becoming a lawyer. He knew that he now had the level of maturity necessary for tackling the rigorous writing and coursework required by the law school at Regent University. Applying himself wholeheartedly, Chris graduated from Regent with honors.
During his studies, Chris's record of public service continued. He completed internships with the Chesapeake, Suffolk, and Norfolk Commonwealth's Attorney's offices, the Suffolk Public Defender's Office, and the Virginia Beach City Attorney's Office. "I always expected that I would continue in public service," Chris says. "So, after graduating and passing the bar, I initially practiced with the Virginia Beach Public Defender's Office. I loved what I did. I sincerely loved the people and the mission there, but when I was recruited for Randall Page by my law school mentor, I felt it was an opportunity I couldn't pass up. They were giving me the chance to practice in areas of law I'd never experienced before. Ironically, I still find myself saying many of the same things as a lawyer that I did as a teacher: Ã¢ÂÂNo, you can't do that,' or Ã¢ÂÂNo, that doesn't make it legal," he chuckles.
With offices in Chesapeake, Suffolk, Courtland, Emporia, and Lawrenceville, Randall Page, PC is a community-based General Law practice offering legal services in approximately 25 jurisdictions, handling personal injury, traffic, criminal, real estate, and domestic and family law. "We serveÃÂ our community because it's where we work, live, and give," Chris points out. "I'm able to help so many more people now. When I was in the classroom, I could help 25 to 30 people at a time. But it was the same 25 to 30 students every day. Now I'm making a difference in the lives of 25 to 30 different people every single day."
The heart of Chris's practice is advocacy, and his goal is to ensure that his clients understand their rights and have representation. He concentrates on representing his clients in traffic, criminal, and family law matters "Many people don't have a full understanding of their rights. Some aren't aware of their rights at all. Even traffic violations have long-term ramifications for insurance and jobs that require security clearance," he emphasizes. "No one should ever go to court without an advocate. A lawyer can be a shield or a sword. I like being the shield. Going it alone and not having an advocate who knows the system and procedures can cost people dearly. I can provide representation that will help people avoid hardship down the line. People need someone to advocate for their point of view and obtain justice for them. I enjoy doing that."
Although Chris's 30-year path to practicing law took many unexpected turns, they all seemed to lead to the same destination-a life of public service providing help, education, and compassionate understanding advocacy. And he's just getting started.
Randall Page PC
2000 Burson Drive
Chesapeake, VA 23323
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