Law school community mourns the loss of VBA President Chris Lantz, Class of 2011

Christopher Steven Lantz died of injuries sustained in a snowmobile accident on Wednesday, December 29. Chris was a third-year student at Vanderbilt University Law School and had accepted a position as an associate at the Atlanta law firm of Kilpatrick Stockton, which he was to start after earning his law degree in May 2011.

A native of Oakland, Maryland, Chris graduated first in his class from West Virginia University in December 2007 with a B.S. degrees in both electrical and computer engineering. He was awarded the university’s prestigious Robert C. Byrd Scholarship, as well as a Blue & Gold Scholarship and a WVU Academic Grant. He served as an Engineering 101 Teaching Assistant and was named the 2007 WVU Foundation Outstanding Senior and inducted into three academic honors organizations.

During his college summers and before starting Vanderbilt Law School, Chris worked as an information technology specialist with First United Bank and Trust in Oakland, and as a project manager for Sycamore Systems in McHenry and Frederick, Maryland. He also served as website project chairman for the Oakland Rotary Club and received the Rotary’s “Service Above Self” award for outstanding service and dedication. He also maintained his own computer consulting business, CL Corp., which supported small businesses with website design and computer networking, from 1998 to the time of his death.

At Vanderbilt Law School, Chris was an M. Lee Smith Scholar and also held a Dean’s Scholarship. He was elected president of the Vanderbilt Bar Association, which leads all Vanderbilt student organizations and coordinates school-wide community service projects, in spring 2010. He was also Technology Editor of the Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law. He served as a summer intern for Justice William C. Koch Jr. on the Tennessee Supreme Court in Nashville during summer 2009 and as a summer associate with Kilpatrick Stockton in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2010. He was a member of the Vanderbilt chapter of the Federalist Society, which he served as treasurer; he was also the liaison to the Executive Committee of the society’s national Intellectual Property Practice Group. He was a representative to the Young Lawyers Division of the Tennessee Bar Association and vice president of the Vanderbilt Intellectual Property Association.

In addition to his academic and professional activities, Chris organized a racquetball league and an intramural soccer team at Vanderbilt. When Nashville, Tennessee, where Vanderbilt is located, experienced unprecedented flooding in May 2010, Chris was instrumental in organizing teams of student volunteers to help Nashville residents whose homes were flood damaged with clean-up.

Classmates remember Chris as outgoing, extremely bright, and gifted organizer. “Chris was a central figure in the life of the law school,” said Vanderbilt Law Dean Chris Guthrie. “We are deeply saddened by the news of his death.”

Born July 29, 1985, in Oakland, Maryland, Chris was the son of Steven and Mary (Crum) Lantz. He is survived by a brother, Evan Michael Lantz, his fiancée, Jillian Mazur, of Nashville, and his grandparents, Smith Lantz and William and Barbara Crum.

Chris was a 2003 graduate of Southern High School, where he was salutatorian of his class.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Chris’ name to the Rotary Foundation, through the Oakland Rotary Club, or to St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Oakland, Maryland. Chris’s legacy lives on through the generous donations of organs.

In honor of his life and service to Vanderbilt, the Law School will hold a memorial service in Flynn Auditorium on Friday, January 28th at 3:45 pm. We invite you to arrive early, as a slideshow of Chris’ life will begin playing roughly 30 minutes beforehand. Refreshments will follow. We invite you to join us.

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