He’s the Chandler in Chandler, Franklin & O’Bryan, the largest personal injury law firm in Virginia. Senior partner Brad Chandler is probably the best-known lawyer– and best-known Massachusetts accent– in the state, thanks to ubiquitous television commercials.
Chandler also introduced the Safe Ride Home Program, now in its 12th year, which both saves lives and boosts his name-recognition. The program is not limited to holiday partiers: it’s available for Fridays after Five, and this year Foxfield attendees could get a free ride home, too.
If you’re cruising around town and see a big Mercedes with the license plate “ATLA GOV”– Chandler was on the board of governors of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America– whatever you do, don’t hit it. You don’t want this guy suing you. But beneath that tough exterior, The Hook discovered, Chandler does have a soft spot: Goofy.
What brought you to Charlottesville? Law school. After graduating from Boston College, I was going to Cornell on a two-thirds scholarship. One day I came down here to look and fell in love with it. I interviewed at 10am on Memorial Day weekend in 1963 and was given until noon to decide. My fiancée, who became my wife, was in a state of shock. And I decided I was going to do it. I had a good feeling about this place.
Best thing about living here? It’s a magnificent setting, a small town with nice people. And it’s a little more genteel. Even in Southern big cities, civility is starting to wane.
Your favorite hangout? Glenmore and Farmington country clubs. I play a lot of golf.
What’s the most overrated virtue? That’s tough. I find it hard to say. Being wealthy may be overrated. Good health is more important than wealth or good looks.
What accomplishment are you proudest of? Probably being elected president of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association and serving on the board of governors of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. And some of my cases. The child who drew that Goofy drawing [he points to a rendering of Goofy in his office] suffered a brain injury in a school bus accident, and he received $2.5 million. Now he’ll have everything he needs. I’m proud of cases like that, where without legal representation, they would have gotten screwed.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I’d have more patience.
What do people find most annoying about you? I’m aggressive; I’m loud. I had a judge ask why I was angry, and why I was yelling. I said I’m from Boston. That’s the way we talk.
Whom do you admire? Vince Lombardi. He told it like it was. He said, “Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser.” It’s not just how you play the game that’s important, it’s whether you win or lose.
What’s your favorite read? I don’t have time to read except for professional publications. I don’t read for recreation. I’m too lazy. I watch TV.
Must-see TV? NYPD Blue, The Practice, The Shield, a new show on cable that’s excellent, and The Sopranos.
What subject causes you to rant? Foreign aid. I’d stop all foreign aid until our homeless people are taken care of. Seeing homeless people really irks me when we give billions in foreign aid to those countries that hate us. Why not give that money to take care of the homeless?
What’s the best thing about life in the 21st century? The life expectancy goes up, and people remain healthier longer. Whether people are happier now than in the 1800s, I don’t know.
If you could come back as a car, what model would it be? An Aston Martin Vanquish.
What’s the most trouble you’ve ever gotten in? When I was in high school, I drove a 1950 Olds. I was always running out of gas and late for school. My principal said if I was late for school again, I’d be suspended. When I ran out of gas again, I decided to skip school and go play poker so I wouldn’t show up late. I also used to drag race.
What’s your favorite comfort food? Potato pie. It’s an Irish dish with a piecrust, stew beef, potatoes, carrots, and onions.
Most grateful for? My family– three children, four grandchildren and a fifth on the way… and I got to play baseball in high school and was player of the year in 1959 in Massachusetts.
Describe a perfect day: I’d sleep late– I’m a night person. Then get up, go play golf, and shoot a good round.
Favorite bumper sticker: My kid can beat up your honor roll student.
Favorite cartoon: Goofy
Best quote: Anybody who doesn’t like Goofy, there’s something wrong with them.Read more on: brad chandler