Whether he's skiing double black diamonds with his family or in the courtroom fighting for his clients, Suited Casual Dad Christian Lapham never loses his cool.
Christian is a husband, a proud dad, and a Partner at Bean, Kinney & Korman where he works in family law. You can find Christian in publications such as Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and Top Lawyer in both Arlington Magazine and previously, in Northern Virginia Magazine.
Christian is active in his community where he is a member of Leadership Arlington. In addition to this, he's the founder of Second Saturday in Arlington. Second Saturday provides educational resources and seminars for those seeking support during the divorce process. Furthermore, through his firm, Christian has volunteered for Arlington Food Assistance Center and is a past board member at Stop Child Abuse Now of Northern Virginia (SCAN).
On his off-hours, you can find Christian working out with his close-knit group of workout buddies early in the morning. He also enjoys spending time with his wife Lindsay, Finn age 6, and Mason age 9. He loves taking his family out west to hit the slopes or abroad on a tropical vacation. The two seasonal extremes best describe Christian's fashion style.
Which three words best describe your style? Casual-when I am with the family, we are often on the go doing things and there really is no space for pretense. Comfortable-this is big for me-if you don’t feel comfortable in your clothes, what’s the point? Conservative-in my non-family world, I am a lawyer by trade, so business casual on up to suits is the in-office attire.
What trend did you love at the time, but now cringe when you see old photos? I cringe at pretty much every picture of me from ages 8-14. Although I was a fashion disaster as a kid, if I had to pin down one which makes me cringe now, it is the rugby shirts from the early ’90s. I had dozens, each worse than the last. I think I kept Britches Great Outdoors in business.
Facial hair or clean-shaven? Definitely clean-shaven over time. I hate the itchiness.
Dress shoes or tennis shoes? Tennis shoes, unless I am in the office or in court, then obviously it is dress shoes.
What are your favorite places to work out? Outside, without a doubt. From running to biking to skiing to simple exercises (push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, etc.) I’d rather be outside doing this. I am writing this during the pandemic, so outside workouts (as opposed to going to the gym) is not only a preference, it is a necessity.
Who’s your favorite fitness icon? I can’t say I have a favorite fitness icon. The people who inspire me in my workouts are my workout friends. I joined a workout group a couple of years ago and through this group met some great workout buddies, most of whom are in better shape than I am and who inspire me to work harder and also be a better person.
What’s your best fitness advice? Actually, I have followed two pieces of advice which I think are absolutely essential. 1) Surround yourself with great fitness role models. Most people are social animals, and knowing other people are counting on you to show up really helps. Also, working out with friends is a lot more fun and actually gives you something to look forward to (although this has been much harder in Covid-19) 2) Challenge yourself with new types of workouts and physical activities. About five years ago, I found myself getting into a rut just running, which began to wear on my body. I have taken up skiing and biking, both of which have been a lot easier on my body and a lot more fun. I also find that I make far more gains when I can combine different exercises.
What’s your dad superpower? Hmm, I wasn’t sure about this one so I asked the experts on this: my sons. They indicated it is “my ability to compromise.” I am guessing they want something specific from me to compromise right now.
What’s your favorite way to spend time with your family? Going on vacation, and probably skiing together. Although I work hard and certainly law can be a demanding profession, I have found that taking time off to do fun things on vacation with the family is essential. Specifically, we take a lot of ski vacations together, which has been great for all four of us.
What’s been your best family vacation? Although we love to ski together and have taken some unforgettable vacations skiing, I would say our trip to Belize last year has been my favorite. We visited both the rainforests in the south and islands in the central to the north of Belize, and it was absolutely fantastic. There are tons of great activities (kayaking, snorkeling, cave exploration to name a few). There is also wonderful food, the people are welcoming, and the country is beautiful.
Best parenting advice? If you make a mistake, admit it. If it is a bad one, apologize. You are the parent, but you are not expected to be perfect.
Parenting true confession? Let’s be honest, not every game your kids want to play or story they want to tell is amazing or super fun. Sometimes it is really, really boring. That’s okay. Just play along, and be thankful they want to play this game or tell this story. My friends with teenagers tell me once they get to that age, the stories and the games dwindle or even end. Engage while you can, and hopefully to encourage engagement in the future.
What's your best tip to go from working dad to fun dad mode? Do your best to walk in the door at home and leave work in the workplace. I try not to work during the week while the kids are awake. This has also been impossible during the pandemic, but establishing those boundaries is important. Admittedly, as a lawyer who receives a lot of emails from a lot of clients at all hours, I have to tell myself this is the kids’ time, not the clients’ time. I am not always the best at this, as my kids can tell you, but I am trying!
What’s your favorite family online delivery meal? This is constantly evolving. My favorite recent delivery meal was steak tacos from our neighborhood Mexican restaurant.
It's your turn to cook, what do you make? Since the pandemic, I have really gotten into breakfast. I have started making chocolate chip pancakes, banana muffins, and a pretty mean veggie omelet. I am not an incredibly efficient cook, and because I am a morning person, the additional time makes cooking breakfast a lot more enjoyable and relaxing.
Since you're a family lawyer, what's your best tip for an enduring marriage? Let me offer two: 1) Be honest. Most of the marriages I see which fail involve a lack of trust. 2) Also, as I say above, don’t be afraid to apologize. It allows for you to move forward, and ideally past the issue.
What's your favorite hack to balance work and family life? In order to take great vacations and make time for your family and still be an excellent family law attorney, you have to work very hard and efficiently when you are at work. This makes all of the great vacations and family time possible.
What's one thing that you practice and preach to your clients and follow at home? Get involved in everything your kids do. Know their teachers, their friends (and their friends’ parents), help them with their homework (as much as you can), take them to their practices, roll up your sleeves and get in there. Engagement is important. Not that I ever want to go through a custody battle, but it is easy to tell the engaged and involved parents from the un-engaged and uninvolved parents.
What’s your favorite show to binge-watch? Most recently, "The Last Dance".
If you could pick anyone to star as you in a movie based on your life, who would it be? Tobey McGuire maybe? He is about my age in real life.
What’s your favorite sport and why? Definitely skiing. Biking is becoming a close second.
What’s your favorite workout song? I love running or biking to “Night Moves” by Bob Seeger.
If you could hang out with anyone from history, living or deceased, who would it be? John Kennedy. He had an amazing intellect in addition to being such a charismatic person. He was also an active guy and knew his way around a sailboat a lot better than I do.
What’s at the top of your travel bucket list? We had a trip to Banff planned for April before flights and vacations were canceled all around the globe. That is at the top. Peru is a close second. I have many more but those two are next on the list.
What’s your favorite way to unwind at the end of a long day? I love doing two things. Enjoying a glass of wine or lying down on the sofa and goofing with my sons. My older son Mason has many wonderful qualities, but sitting still on a sofa next to me is not one of them, so normally this is with my younger guy Finn.
We love how well-rounded and level-headed Christian is in both his work as a family lawyer and with his approach to family life. Whether he's litigating in front of a judge in a well-tailored suit or casually relaxing on an island sporting flip flops and shorts, Christian has a grounded approach to life. Though he represents clients during one of the most difficult chapters in their lives, Christian is careful not to take the stress home with him. We are a big fan of how he is a fantastic example of a hands-on dad and also finds time in his busy schedule to gives back to his community as a leader in charitable causes.
We can learn from Christian seamlessly toggling different realities whether he's in the courtroom, slopes, or beach, he is dressed and prepared for every occasion. Be sure to learn more about Christian from his LinkedIn page and Bean, Kinney & Korman company website.
And for more fun and stylish dads, be sure to check out FamilyApp’s Dad on the Street Channel!