Christopher S. Gontarz, Esq. Receives 2017 Joseph T. Houlihan Lifetime Mentor Award

06/20/2017 - Named for the late Joseph T. Houlihan who was known for his generosity of spirit and legal expertise in and out of the courtroom, the Joseph T. Houlihan Lifetime Mentor Award honors individuals who, during their careers, have consistently demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to successfully mentoring in the Rhode Island legal community.  The Award recognizes an attorney who serves as a role model to other lawyers in Rhode Island and who has significantly contributed to the profession and/or the community, and those who, with their excellent counsel, have excelled as mentors and contributed to the ideals of ethics, civility, professionalism and legal skills.



Christopher S. Gontarz, Esq.,
of Lynch & Pine, LLC in Newport, is honored with the Rhode Island Bar Association 2017 Joseph T. Houlihan Lifetime Mentor Award.  After five years as an officer with the Portsmouth Police Department, Chris received his law degree from the New England School of Law in 1984. He became a prosecutor for the Department of the Attorney General in 1985, working in the Criminal Division, and years later a trial lawyer for thousands of cases in Superior and District Court. He serves on the RI Supreme Court Ethics Advisory Panel and the RI Supreme Court Commission on Judicial Tenure and Discipline. Other memberships include, but are not limited to, the RI Bar Association House of Delegates and Executive Committee, the RI Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, The Federalist Society, the St. Thomas More Society of RI, and the Roger Williams University School of Justice Advisory Board. He has taught a variety of criminal law courses at numerous institutions in the state, and served as chairperson of the RI Bar Association Criminal Law Bench Bar Committee for several years. He was the 2008 recipient of the Dorothy Lohmann Community Service Award, and Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly’s 2011 Lawyer of the Year. Chris regularly volunteers for law related education assignments. He is held in high regard by his colleagues for his incredibly generous disposition, repeatedly making himself available for assistance and offering support to new attorneys, promoting civility and professionalism by example.

According to Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Calo, Jr.: “Chris was invaluable to me when I first started out, and in fact still is. He provides valuable critiques and insights that I could not get anywhere else. He has taught me how to treat clients and how to handle difficult cases. He has taught me the importance of integrity when handling every aspect of a case. He is encouraging and supportive and I could not think of a better person to mentor me. It is clear that Chris is committed to helping new attorneys, and bettering not only the attorneys but Rhode Island's legal system as well.”