About Chris

T. Christopher Wharton (he/him/his) is an attorney and senior partner from Salt Lake City, Utah who focuses on family law, criminal defense, and LGBTQ advocacy. He is licensed to practice in federal and state courts in Utah and is certified to appear before the Supreme Court of the United States.

Chris graduated from Westminster College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. He received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, where he served as president of the Student Bar Association and managing editor of the Journal of Law and Family Studies. Chris also completed a semester studying jurisprudence at University of Oxford, Magdalen College, and international criminal law at The Hague, Netherlands.

Chris gained valuable experience interning at the Utah State Legislature, clerking with the Utah Attorney General’s Office, and practicing as a third-year law student at the at the Salt Lake City Prosecutor’s Office, where he tried and won his first jury trial. Chris went on to work as an associate attorney for two years before opening his own practice in 2012. 

Chris' extensive work in the areas of family law and LGBTQ advocacy has gained local and national attention. In 2013, Chris helped lead a team of attorneys that submitted an amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court, arguing for equal treatment of LGBT families under the law. In 2015, he obtained the first same-sex common law marriage adjudication in Utah. 

As an active community volunteer, Chris has done pro bono work for the ACLU of Utah, Equality Utah, the Utah Pride Center, and the Rainbow Law Clinic. Chris has served as president of the Utah Young Lawyers Division, vice chair of the Board of Directors of the Utah Pride Center, and chair of the Salt Lake City Human Rights Commission. Chris also served on the board of the LGBT & Allied Bar Association of Utah and on the Utah State Bar Board of Bar Commissioners as the young lawyer representative to the American Bar Association House of Delegates. He currently represents the residents of District 3 on the Salt Lake City Council.

Outside the office, Chris enjoys independent films, local politics, history, art, Netflix, and food trucks. 

Professional Memberships

  • Utah State Bar
  • Utah State Bar Family Law Section
  • LGBT & Allied Lawyers of Utah
  • Watkiss-Sutherland II Inn of Court
  • Salt Lake County Bar Association
  • National LGBT Bar Association 
  • Utah Assocociation of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Awards & Recognition

  • "Best LGBTQ Lawyers Under 40," National LGBT Bar Association (2019)
  • "Up & Coming Legal Elites," Utah Business Magazine (2016-2019)
  • "Rising Star," Super Lawyers Magazine (2015-2019)
  • "Best Lawyer," Q Salt Lake Fabby Awards (2015-2018)
  • "Best Advocate for LGBT Families," City Weekly (2015) 

Publications

  • “More Than Marriage: Utah’s System of de Jure Denigration Goes to the Supreme Court,” Utah Bar Journal, Vol. 26 No. 3.
  • “Fighting Like Cats & Dogs: The Rising Number of Pet Custody Battles,” Journal of Law and Family Studies, Vol. 10 No. 2.
  • “Deserted in Deseret: Emancipating Polygamist & Queer Homeless Youths,” Journal of Law and Family Studies, Vol. 10 No. 1.
  • "What Can YLD Offer YOU: A Preview of Events & Programs for Young Lawyers 2014-2016," Utah Bar Journal, Vol. 28 No. 5.