When Virginia Commonwealth University professor Noah Scalin saw his art depicting a human skull on T-shirts sold by mass retailer Target, the man he called was Chris Gatewood.
The nationally known intellectual property lawyer has a reputation for protecting creative people, including artists and musicians. “We got a cease and desist letter to Target to stop selling the images,” Gatewood says, “although it was the fault of one of their vendors.”
His legal specialty can keep him traveling to such spots as California, Tennessee and New York. Among his clients are local rock musician Robbin Thompson and Dave Muhlenfeld, who writes the goofy jingles for the FreeCreditReport.com television ads.
Gatewood's also made headway helping develop a program to attract and retain college graduates and interns to the Richmond area through YRichmond, a project of C3, the Creative Change Center. He serves on C3's board, and also writes on legal matters for Web outlets such as ZDNet and SitePoint.com, and Richmond Grid magazine.
He came to Richmond in a roundabout way. He graduated from Wake Forest with an English degree in 1995. A job at a coastal Maine resort provided contacts that got him to an Associated Press bureau in Augusta and then Richmond. He went to law school at the University of Virginia, graduating in 2000. Work at Hunton and Williams and a Washington law firm followed before he moved to Hirschler Fleischer's offices in Richmond in 2004.
Besides playing with his 5-year-old daughter, Gatewood spends his out-of-office time doing pro bono work for immigrants. “It's amazing how many are unaccompanied juveniles,” he says.