About Us | Van Cleave Law
Protecting You
Learn More

Christopher C. Van Cleave Justice and Care For Clients

Mr. Van Cleave is passionate about seeking justice for his clients. Whether it is the widow Mr. Van Cleave collected a two and half million dollar judgment for following a weeklong trial and an appeal all the way to the United States Supreme Court when an insurance company wrongfully denied her $5,000 life insurance claim; the small business owner Mr. Van Cleave collected almost a million dollars for after new owners of a hotel breached his services contract; or the widow and two orphaned children Mr. Van Cleave recovered $10 million dollars for after their husband / father was killed on the job, Mr. Van Cleave knows that justice is about more than just money.

While financial compensation can be a big component of justice in these cases, Van Cleave understands that there are many losses no amount of money can make up for. Justice is about more than just dollars and cents- it is about giving those who have been injured, wronged or taken advantage of the opportunity to tell their story. Justice is about making sure those who have been taken from this world too soon are not forgotten. Justice is about giving everyone the means to stand up to big insurance companies and big corporations. Justice is about holding those who do wrong accountable for their actions. Justice is trying to make an example so that similar misconduct will not be repeated in the future. Justice is about compensating losses, but also trying to keep us all safe from being injured, harmed or taken advantage of in the future.

Christopher C. Van Cleave Personal Biography & Experience

Mr. Van Cleave grew up in the small town of Centreville, Mississippi, where he still has friends and family. After graduating from Vanderbilt University, Mr. Van Cleave traveled the world and pursued various interests for three years before going to law school at Mississippi College, where he graduated with Honors in 1997. That same year Mr. Van Cleave began practicing law in Biloxi with Minor & Associates. In 1999, Mr. Van Cleave joined Lawrence Lawrence C. “Larry” Corban, Jr. and Clyde H. “Buddy” Gunn, III. in the firm of Corban and Gunn, which was founded by Mr. Corban’s father in 1926. Within a short time Corban and Gunn became the Corban – Gunn – Van Cleave Law Firm. That practice ended in August, 2017, when Mr. Van Cleave bought Mr. Gunn out and formed Van Cleave Law.

In his more than 20 years of practice, Mr. Van Cleave has helped clients collect more than $150 million dollars and fought for justice every step of the way. Mr. Van Cleave has also helped hundreds of potential clients solve their problems without collecting a fee for himself or the firm. Mr. Van Cleave is committed to using his training and experience to help you find the best solution to any problem you have. Sometimes that means providing you a shoulder to lean and/or honest counsel free of charge. Other times it means providing you with legal representation. It may even mean identifying an issue that is outside the scope of Van Cleave Law’s representation. When that happens, Mr. Van Cleave will help you find the right lawyer who he believes will give your case the hard work and personal attention that he aims to provide at Van Cleave Law.

Mr. Van Cleave is married to the former Kelly Ann Beard, and they are the proud parents of three children. When he is not in Court or working on your case, you are likely to find Mr. Van Cleave coaching or observing their 14 year old and/or eight year old sons’ baseball, soccer, or football teams, or attending their eleven year old daughter’s dance recital or gymnastics practice.

If you think your problem may require legal counsel, give Mr. Van Cleave a call and the opportunity to start earning your trust today.

Contact Us Now


  • Vanderbilt University, B.A. 1991
  • Mississippi College School of Law, J.D. cum laude 1997
  • Awarded Highest Honor, American Jurisprudence Award, in Trial Practice
  • Elected Chairman of the Moot Court Board

Admitted to practice

  • Mississippi
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Mississippi
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Mississippi
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

Professional memberships

  • Mississippi Association for Justice (Member, Board of Governors, 2002-2014)
  • American Association for Justice
  • Southern Trial Lawyers Association
  • Harrison County Bar Association
  • Fifth Federal Circuit Bar Association

Professional Outreach

  • Guest commentator on We the People and Law Call television programs
  • Speaker for numerous continuing legal education programs, including those put on by the Mississippi Bar Association, Mississippi Association for Justice, and Southern Trial Lawyers Association
  • Appointed by Mississippi Secretary of State to serve on the Business Court Study Group (considering establishment of a Business Court in Mississippi)

Community activities

  • Volunteer Coach for Little League Baseball and Upward Sports leagues
  • St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Vestry Member (2013-2016)
  • Member of the Board, Coast Episcopal School (2012-2019)
  • Participant in “Lawyers in Every Classroom,” sponsored by the Mississippi Bar
  • Frequent Judge for Mississippi College School of Law appellate advocacy competitions
  • George Ohr Museum of Art
  • National Commodore Club
  • Gulf Coast Carnival Association

Taylor Fortenberry

Taylor Fortenberry is from Transylvania, a small town in North-East Louisiana, and graduated high school from Briarfield Academy in 2016. Taylor then attended Louisiana Tech University where she interned for two attorneys during her undergraduate studies, where she discovered her passion for providing legal representation to those in need.

After graduating college magna cum laude in 2020, Taylor attended Mississippi College School of Law where she was awarded Best Paper in Legal Analysis and Communication, Criminal Law, and Constitutional Law. She also served as the Technical Articles Editor for the Law Review, Secretary of the Sports and Entertainment Law Society, and a member of the Civil Law Society. During law school, Taylor interned for the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office Litigation Division in Monroe, Louisiana, and served as a Limited Practice Student Attorney for the Adoption Legal Clinic.

Upon graduating from law school magna cum laude in 2023, Taylor took and passed the Louisiana and Mississippi Bar exams, and is licensed to practice in both Louisiana and Mississippi. After clerking for the Honorable Laurie Brister of the Sixth Judicial District in Louisiana, Taylor moved to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and began working for Van Cleave Law in December of 2023. When she is not working on your case, Taylor is likely spending time with her fiancé, Stephen Clark, or visiting with her friends and family.

Paralegal Staff Sandy Johnson

Mrs. Johnson has lived on the Mississippi Gulf Coast since 1979. Mrs. Johnson has over 30 years of legal experience working mainly for plaintiff firms focusing on personal injury, medical malpractice and breach of contract. Mrs. Johnson joined Van Cleave in 2008 and is crucial to every aspect of his practice. When she is not working on your case or helping Mr. Van Cleave at trial, Mrs. Johnson is likely spending time with her husband, Ricky Johnson, or with her three beautiful children and four adorable grandchildren.

Van Cleave Law can begin to evaluate your case today.

Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation.

Christopher C. Van Cleave N/A Christopher C. Van Cleave
Van Cleave Law
Mississippi Insurance Bad Faith and Personal Injury Attorney