Chris Olson

Top rated Civil Rights attorney in Raleigh, North Carolina

Olson Law, PLLC
Chris Olson
Olson Law, PLLC

Practice Areas: Civil Rights; view more

Licensed in North Carolina since: 1994

Education: Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2014 - 2018, 2024
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Olson Law, PLLC

2020 Progress Ct
Suite 100-154
Raleigh, NC 27608 Visit website


Chris Olson is an attorney at the firm Olson Law, PLLC, which is located in Raleigh, North Carolina. He focuses his practice exclusively on civil rights and wrongful incarceration cases and has been in the legal field for over 25 years. He has immense experience with cases involving wrongful incarceration, civil rights violations, innocence cases and exoneration efforts, and appellate matters.

Mr. Olson has devoted most of his professional career to standing up for people who have been harmed due to the carelessness or bad acts of others. His focus in recent years has been on civil rights cases involving exoneration and wrongful incarceration. He considers it an honor and privilege to do what he does, and he hopes to be working toward greater social justice and equality every single day of his life. His goal is to speak up for people who have had their opinions disregarded for far too long.

Graduating magna cum laude, Mr. Olson earned his Juris Doctor from the Campbell University School of Law. While there, he served as a notes and comments editor for the Campbell Law Review and was a member of the Prince Evidence Moot Court Team. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Between 1994 and 1996, Mr. Olson served as a law clerk at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. He has received much recognition for his noteworthy legal services and has received an AV Preeminent* peer-review rating through Martindale-Hubbell. Additionally, in 2009, he was honored with the Defender of Justice Award by the North Carolina Justice Center for his efforts on behalf of low-income homeowners in consumer class actions.

Mr. Olson is a regular volunteer with North Carolina Legal Aid. He has dealt with a wide variety of consumer issues, from evictions to fraudulent car sales. In an effort to free wrongfully convicted people, he provides pro bono legal representation through the Wrongful Convictions Clinic at Duke Law School.

*AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer-review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

Practice areas

Civil Rights

Focus areas

Police Misconduct

  • 100% Civil Rights

First Admitted: 1994, North Carolina

Professional Webpage:

Other Outstanding Achievements:
  • Editor, NC Advocates of Justice, Manual of Complaints, Commercial Litigation Section, 2009 – 2010
Pro bono/Community Service:
  • Regular participant in NC Legal Aid's Volunteer Lawyers Program. Handled numerous consumer disputes ranging from landlord-tenant disputes to deceptive auto sales.
  • Pro bono counsel volunteering with Duke University School of Law Wrongful Convictions Clinic on exoneration efforts.
Educational Background:
  • BA in Political Science and Government, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1990
Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • Authored manuscript and presented CLE titled "Anatomy of a Wrongful Incarceration Case" at Campbell University School of Law., CLE Presenter, Author, Anatomy of a Wrongful Incarceration Case, Campbell University School of Law, 2023
  • Co-Chair and Speaker, “Class Actions: Making Mountains out of Molehills.” NC Advocates for Justice Convention 2014
  • Manuscript Author and Presenter, “So, You’re Going to Sue a Big Bank. . . Or, How to Stay Busy for Eight Years.” NC Advocates of Justice Mountain Magic 2009
  • Presenter, “Class Action Roundtable.” UNC Festival of Legal Learning 2010
Verdicts/Settlements (Case Results):
  • Long v. City of Concord: Total settlement of $25 million in wrongful conviction suit arising from 44-year wrongful incarceration. Civil rights suit against employees of NC State Bureau of Investigation, Concord Police Department, and City of Concord. Claims against SBI defendants resolved for $3 million; claims against City of Concord and its employees resolved for $22 million. City of Concord also issued a formal, public official for the "wrongs that caused tremendous harm to Mr. Long, his family, friends, and our community.", 2023
  • Ronnie Long v. Hooks, et al., 972 F.3d 442 (4th Cir. 2020): Case in which police withheld multiple items of exculpatory evidence and denied Mr. Long a fair trial, resulting in his wrongful incarceration. Fourth Circuit, in an en banc opinion, held that law enforcement officers violated Mr. Long's constitutional rights.  Assisted Duke University School of Law Wrongful Convictions Clinic with exoneration effort as pro bono counsel. Ronnie Long's convictions were vacated, bringing his 44-year wrongful incarceration to an end., 2020
  • Greg Taylor v. Deaver, et al.: NC State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) agents fabricated evidence in the form of misleading SBI lab reports used to falsely argue that blood was found on Greg Taylor's vehicle. Part of a team that successfully represented Greg Taylor in his post-exoneration civil suit seeking damages for his 17-year wrongful incarceration. The case was settled for $4.625 million, the limits of available insurance coverage., 2013
  • Estate of Harbin v. State of North Carolina: Trial verdict in favor of family of individual given a lethal overdose of methadone at a state treatment facility. State ordered to pay $628,000 at trial. Verdict affirmed on appeal, but with amount reduced to $528,000. Medical malpractice claim against treating physician resolved confidentially in separate proceeding., 2013
  • Richardson v. Bank of America, 657 S.E.2d 353 (NC 2008), petition for disc. rev. dismissed, leaving undisturbed, Richardson, 643 S.E.2d 410 (NC 2007): Served as class counsel and formulated the liability and damages theories which led to the class-wide liability and damages rulings in favor of a class of low-income borrowers who were sold unlawful credit insurance which substantially and unfairly increased their mortgage loan costs. Summary judgment ruling in favor of the borrowers affirmed, establishing that subprime lender committed unfair trade practices and breached its duty of good faith and fair dealing as a matter of law. The case settled for $38.75 million and provided significant damage awards for low-income borrowers throughout North Carolina., 2009
  • Dwayne Dail v. City of Goldsboro: The Goldsboro Police Department misplaced evidence that would later be used to exonerate Mr. Dail and to convict the actual perpetrator. Police officials obstructed justice and denied Mr. Dail his right to access to the courts in falsely representing that all evidence had been destroyed. Their negligence and misconduct unnecessarily extended Mr. Dail's wrongful incarceration. Part of a team that represented Dwayne Dail in his post-exoneration civil suit. The case was resolved for $7.5 million., 2013
  • Tillman v. Commercial Credit Loans, Inc., 655 S.E.2d 362 (NC 2008): Served as class counsel and part of a team that litigated claims on behalf of low-income mortgage borrowers for eight years in state and federal court. Following a landmark ruling by the NC Supreme Court, the first instance in which an arbitration clause was invalidated on the ground of unconscionability, the case resolved for $42.5 million with significant damages awarded to thousands of subprime borrowers., 2009
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • Secretary, North Carolina Advocates for Justice Civil Rights Section, 2023
  • Vice Chair, North Carolina Advocates for Justice Civil Rights Section, 2024
  • Served on NC Advocates for Justice Executive Committee, 2013
  • Served as Chair of NC Advocates for Justice Commercial Litigation Section, 2013
  • Cover story, feature article for North Carolina Super Lawyers edition published January 2024., Feature article, North Carolina Super Lawyers, 2024
  • , AV Peer-Review Rating, Martindale-Hubbell, 2023
  • Named Defender of Justice for 2009 "[f]or . . . groundbreaking work to enforce the legal rights of thousands of consumers and to protect millions more." Recognition followed successful conclusion of two consumer class actions against Bank of America and CitiFinancial which settled for $38.75 million and $42.5 million, respectively, and provided for significant damage awards for thousands of low-income borrowers throughout North Carolina., Recipient of Defender of Justice Award, North Carolina Justice Center, 2009
  • Received Martindale-Hubbell’s “AV” peer review rating, the highest level of professional excellence in legal knowledge, communication skills, and ethical standards
  • Recognized as a North Carolina Super Lawyer on a regular basis since 2014
  • Awarded Highest Honors upon earning JD from Campbell University School of Law., Highest Honors, Campbell University School of Law, 1994

Office location for Chris Olson

2020 Progress Ct
Suite 100-154
Raleigh, NC 27608

Phone: 919-624-3718


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  • Super Lawyers: 2014 - 2018, 2024

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