Chris and the McNeill Family
Chris McNeill

Chris McNeill is a husband, father, lawyer, and Christian who serves judge on the Kentucky Court of Appeals in the 1st Appellate District, Division 1.

Chris is a native of western Kentucky who grew up on a family farm in Fulton County. He graduated from Murray State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture and while working for a local farmer, he completed a master’s degree in Organizational Communication with classes primarily nights and weekends.

He later graduated from the Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, through their night program while he worked full-time for the Office of Inspector General.

Additionally, he completed the Program for Senior Executives in state and local government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

Chris has actively practiced law for over twenty years. He worked as a Staff Attorney for the Kentucky Court of Appeals. In that job, he conducted extensive legal research and drafted opinions for review by the appellate Judge in a myriad of areas including criminal plus civil issues of insurance coverage, personal injury, and summary judgment, plus criminal, worker’s compensation, government zoning, property claims, gender discrimination, disability discrimination, and contract disputes with evidentiary and admissibility disputes throughout.

While some were limited in scope, some of the cases involved multiple parties with multiple interests and layers of issues to work through. After that, he worked in private practice where the work covered a wide range of areas. It included criminal defense and, civil work on various issues in both federal and state courts.

For the past 16 years, he has been the Directing Attorney of the Paducah office of the Department of Public Advocacy.

In recognition of his experience, honesty, and fairness in April of 2020, Chris was appointed to the bench by Gov. Andy Beshear.

His legal career spanned from private civil practice to later practice in government criminal law work. He has appeared in front of and made arguments to numerous District and Circuit Judges in multiple courts and counties over many years. During the tenure he Department of Public Advocacy, he has been involved in or supervised representation in over 70,000 cases. He has regularly taken part in cases appearing in court across the region.

Chris believes the depth and breadth of his work and life experiences, combined with his work ethic, have well prepared him to serve on the Kentucky Court of Appeals near the heart of the written word in Kentucky courts.

Passionate about his faith, he serves as deacon of the First Baptist Church in Paducah. He believes in giving back and is active in the community. He is a member and past President of the Rotary Club of Paducah, and former Vice-Chair of Paducah Main Street. In college, he served as Student Government President and served as the Student Regent on the Murray State University Board of Regents.

Professionally, he served as President of the McCracken County Bar Association and he has been a member of the McCracken County Specialty Court, formerly Drug Court, board since its original inception in 2005. He was also recognized with the Professionalism and Excellence Award by the Department of Public Advocacy in 2012.

Chris and his wife Melanie live in Paducah and have been married for 26 years and have two sons.