Christopher Pelham

Head of Litigation and Disputes, Los Angeles
Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP

Los Angeles
United States
T:+1 213 892 9221
Los Angeles
United States
T:+1 213 892 9221
Christopher Pelham

Christopher Pelham



Christopher Pelham is an experienced trial lawyer and former federal prosecutor who helps clients resolve sensitive and complex issues through commercial dispute advocacy, internal investigations, compliance counselling and representations before government agencies and regulators.

As an Assistant US Attorney in Los Angeles, Christopher investigated and prosecuted cases involving racketeering, organized crime and fraud, which culminated in nine jury trials and four appellate appearances.  As a trial lawyer in private practice, Christopher specializes in high-risk and complex disputes.  Christopher's experience includes litigating commercial disputes in federal and state court as well as in arbitral proceedings, representing clients that have been the targets or subjects of federal criminal investigations, and conducting internal investigations. 

Christopher’s litigation practice is highly varied and has involved many subject matter areas.  Christopher has extensive experience litigating trade secret and intellectual property infringement cases (including in both the life science and technology industries) and is familiar with both Lanham Act and Defend Trade Secret Act violations.  Christopher has also litigated matters involving breach of contract, high-exposure wrongful death and personal injury, qui tam allegations (on behalf of both defendants and intervening agencies), and commercial fraud. 

Before joining Norton Rose Fulbright, Christopher led an investigation and litigation practice in Shanghai, China for another international law firm. During that period, Christopher was one of only a handful of former US prosecutors working directly from mainland China. To this date, Christopher's practice includes representing and defending clients in high-profile cross-border criminal and regulatory matters, leading clients through cross-border commercial disputes, and conducting internal investigations concerning (among other issues) violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Christopher has also represented both individual and institutional clients, based both in the US and in Asia, before US regulatory and investigative bodies.

With his significant local and international experience, Christopher's current practice extends to all aspects of cross-border commercial and white-collar matters.

Christopher has also been active with several Los Angeles-based nonprofits, including School on Wheels and the L.A. Center for Law & Justice, as well as with Stepping Stones in Shanghai.

Professional experience

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  • J.D., New York University, 2005
  • B.A., University of California, Berkeley, 2002
  • California State Bar
  • Led a team that achieved, through a summary judgment motion, a successful dismissal of a Los Angeles-based developer from RICO allegations in federal court.
  • Led a team that successfully arbitrated, in Hong Kong, on behalf of a multinational life science company that alleged trade secret theft and breach of covenant against a former joint venture partner.
  • Led a team that achieved a dismissal of a civil RICO complaint against a former government official.
  • Advised and helped a Chinese financial institution secure an early dismissal of a breach of contract case that plaintiffs filed in New York Supreme Court.
  • Represented a telecommunications joint venture in successfully defending against a partial arbitral award in Chinese courts.
  • Represented a middle manager of a multinational healthcare company that was the subject of a US healthcare fraud investigation.
  • Represented a multinational healthcare company in a dispute with a former joint venture partner accused of misappropriating a competitor's trade secrets, as well as in a related DOJ investigation.
  • Represented a Chinese energy product company litigate breach-of-contract and fraud claims against its former joint venture partner.
  • Helped a multinational healthcare company investigate allegations of bribery and corruption in its Thailand operations.
  • Represented a Chinese financial institution in DOJ and federal court proceedings relating to a subpoena in a significant US money laundering and anti-terrorism investigation.
  • On behalf of a major US retailer, led an internal investigation of allegations of kickbacks and misconduct raised by a supplier, and led the client's remedial efforts.
  • On behalf of a US energy service company, conducted an internal investigation into allegations of employee misconduct, including allegations of unfair treatment and breach of internal data privacy policies.
  • On behalf of a US healthcare product company, conducted an internal investigation into issues of kickbacks and bribery related to the client's subsidiary.
  • On behalf of a US design company, conducted an internal investigation of anonymous allegations regarding the management and operations of its China operations, including issues of conflicts-of-interest and corruption.
  • On behalf of an international power management company, led an internal investigation into the conduct of a China-based employee, including allegations of corruption and self-dealing in connection with a state-owned end-customer.
  • Represented a non-US logistics company in a civil tort dispute in federal court, which involved allegations of negligence and wrongful injury, and helped the client secure a full dismissal.  
  • On behalf of a global healthcare services company, led an investigation into allegations of corrupt payments in its China sales operations.
  • Advised a US manufacturing company on post-acquisition remedial measures following acquisition of China-based assets.
  • On behalf of a global energy equipment manufacturer, led an investigation into allegations of trade secret theft in its Latin America and China operations.
  • On behalf of a US automotive parts company, conducted an internal investigation into allegations of misconduct, self-dealing, and bribery related to the client's subsidiary and distributor, and helped the client prevail over former third parties in Chinese court.

Representative cases

  • Crestridge Consulting, Inc. v. Ningbo Superim Shenlong Technologies Co., Ltd. et al, No. 2:18-cv-04682 (C.D. Cal.): Represented Chinese manufacturer in breach of contract case
  • Operation Technology Inc v. Cyme International T & D Inc., et al, No. 8:14-cv-00999 (C.D. Cal.): Represented energy services company in trademark infringement/false advertising trial.
  • Seaver, et al., v. Cazes, et al., No. 2:18-cv-712-DB (D. Utah): Represented logistics company in cross-border tort action.
  • Gorgeous Investment Holding Group, Ltd. v. Industrial Bank, Ltd. (New York Sup. Ct.): Represented financial institution in breach-of-contract and tort action.
  • Recipient of the 2014 California Lawyer of the Year Award in Criminal Law
  • Southern California Super Lawyer, Thomson Reuters, 2022 – 2023
  • Lawdragon 500 Leading Global Litigators, Lawdragon, 2023
  • Top 100 Lawyers, Los Angeles Business Journal, 2023
  • Langston Bar Association of Los Angeles County (Lifetime Member)
  • School on Wheels (Volunteer)