News Release

Charleston, SC, Lawyer Christopher W. Adams Sworn In as President of Nation’s Criminal Defense Bar

Washington, DC (Aug. 17, 2020) -- Christopher W. Adams of Charleston, SC, was sworn in as President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) at the Association's annual meeting held on August 15. Stephen B. Bright, Harvey L. Karp Visiting Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School and former Director of the Southern Center for Human Rights, administered the oath of office.

Adams is a founding partner at the law firm of Adams & Bischoff, L.L.C. and has represented clients all over the country in capital and noncapital cases. Before starting his own practice, Adams was a public defender and non-profit lawyer for 15 years.

In 2000, Adams moved to Atlanta to join the Southern Center for Human Rights, a nationally acclaimed non-profit law office known for defending people facing the death penalty throughout the Deep South. He then became the founding director of the Georgia Capital Defender, a state agency defending indigent clients accused of capital murder. During his tenure, the office resolved 40 cases without a death verdict. In 2010, Adams and his family returned to his hometown of Charleston, SC.

Adams is a Life Member of NACDL and served on the Board of Directors from 2004-2009 and 2010-2016. Adams has been involved in several Committees and Task Forces over his many years of NACDL membership and leadership. He currently serves on NACDL’s Budget, Death Penalty, Executive, Governance, and Public Defense Committees in addition to the Task Force on First Step Implementation. He is also an advisor to NACDL’s CLE Institute. This past year, Adams served as NACDL’s President-Elect.

Adams was recognized for Criminal Defense in South Carolina by Superlawyers in 2016-2020. He is also a faculty member at the National Criminal Defense College (NCDC) and a co-founder and faculty member at the National College of Capital Voir Dire. He has taught criminal defense law classes at Emory University, Georgia State University, and the Charleston School of Law, and is an in-demand lecturer, frequently speaking on topics such as death penalty defense, criminal law, and trial advocacy. 

Adams received his J.D. from Georgetown University in 1992, and previously served on the University’s Law Alumni Board.

A high-resolution picture of Christopher Adams is available for download here. Photo Credit: ©2020 NACDL/Photo by Clay Austin


Ivan Dominguez, NACDL Senior Director of Public Affairs and Communications, (202) 465-7662 or

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal justice system.

Explore keywords to find information

Featured Products