Monday, October 07, 2013

Chris Pledger as legal officer of Mars Hill Church, some questions about where Pledger was licensed to practice law ... besides Texas

Who are the officers of Mars Hill Church?

For state law purposes, Mars Hill has a president, Mark Driscoll; a vice president, Dave Bruskas; and a secretary/treasurer, Sutton Turner. Mars Hill also has a chief financial officer, Kerry Dodd; and a chief legal officer, Chris Pledger.

The governance statement, whenever it was published, was already old news by May 2012. The above-quoted text was thoroughly absent in the version of Governance that's been available to view this year.  It's worth noting that Sutton Turner, the one described as having "kingly gifts" is legally the secretary and treasurer of the corporation.  So it's worth revisiting the fact that "king" in triperspectival parlance seems to be circumlocution for what other people would call secretary and treasurer. 

So, let's take a look at when Chris Pledger last attended a Sunday service at Mars Hill.
Chris Pledger@ChrisPledger 27 May 12
Last church service . Very thankful for the ministry and mission of Mars Hill and the privilege to have been part of it.
7:26 PM - 27 May 2012 via HootSuite ·
Well, that's literally the day after Mark Driscoll posted this video, replete with some of his children, to announce that Mars Hill Orange County had been served an eviction notice for he was not sure what.

Turned out it was never zoned for long-term use by a church and that this was relatively easy to have found out in advance.  Why it wasn't is not something that can be readily explained, although given the lack of prior investigation into zoning and land use issues for what is now Mars Hill Church corporate headquarters at 50th Street in Seattle ... the oversight in Orange County can be said to not be entirely without precedent.  Maybe Bogardus and company hoped to find an alternate venue before eviction became a risk.  In any event, Chris Pledger's last Sunday service at Mars Hill was literally the day after Mark Driscoll announced that Mars Hill Orange County was given an eviction notice regarding its then-current space.

So ... where did Chris Pledger end up?

In June 2012 the way things read was more like this:
Posted on June 28, 2012
Chris Pledger | Executive Director

Chris Pledger serves as Executive Director of Vintage21 Church. Prior to joining Vintage21, he served as Director of Strategy and General Counsel of Mars Hill Church (Seattle). Chris oversees Vintage21′s central operations and business functions
Today it reads as follows:
Chris Pledger | Executive Pastor / @chrispledger
Chris Pledger serves as Executive Pastor of Vintage21 Church. Prior to joining Vintage21, he served as Director of Strategy and General Counsel of Mars Hill Church (Seattle). Chris oversees Vintage21′s central operations and business functions, including finance, property, communications, technology, and media. His primary role is to steward the resources of Vintage21 and ensure the church’s operations remain above reproach and on mission. Chris has been married to Jennifer for over twelve years. They have three daughters, Addison, Everett and Caroline, and a son, Jack.

So let's review what Pledger says about himself at LinkedIn this week:

Chris Pledger's Experience

Executive Pastor

Vintage21 Church

Nonprofit; 11-50 employees; Religious Institutions industry
June 2012Present (1 year 5 months)

General Counsel and Director of Strategy

Mars Hill Church

Nonprofit; 51-200 employees; Religious Institutions industry
May 2011May 2012 (1 year 1 month)


Kutak Rock

Privately Held; 501-1000 employees; Law Practice industry
August 2006May 2011 (4 years 10 months)
Corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions and general corporate law
and there's this, it seems.  Arkansas.
So, we've been able to establish that Pledger's last tweeted Sunday at Mars Hill Church was around the same time the eviction notice to Mars Hill Orange County happened.  Likely just a coincidence, that, actually.  Pledger was named in coverage of the Mars Hill Church trademark and logo situation in later 2011. 
Pledger is not currently licensed to practice law in Texas, which was where he was licensed to practice law before he arrived at Mars Hill.
Mr. Thomas Christopher 'Chris' Pledger
  • Bar Card Number: 24007851
  • Work Address: 103 Enterprise St Ste 201

    Raleigh, NC 27607
  • Work Phone Number:
  • Primary Practice Location: DALLAS , Texas
Current Member Status
Not Eligible To Practice In Texas (click for detail) [Let's click on it to find out what it says]
    MCLE Non-Practicing
    A Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) Non-practicing Exemption has been claimed. Active members who have not engaged in the practice of law in Texas during the entirety of an MCLE compliance year are eligible to claim an exemption from the MCLE requirements. While claiming this exemption, an attorney is not eligible to practice law in Texas. Active attorneys who remove the non-practicing exemption are immediately eligible to practice in Texas.

    For more information, please contact the State Bar of Texas Membership department at (800)204-2222 ext. 1383

License Information

  • Bar Card Number: 24007851
  • Texas License Date: 11/06/1998
So, perhaps readers can field a question for Wenatchee The Hatchet--when was Thomas Christopher Pledger licensed to practice law in the state of Washington and what was his Bar #?  Was he licensed to practice law in any of the states that in 2011 featured Mars Hill campuses?  So far Wenatchee The Hatchet has not been able to establish that that was ever the case nor, for that matter, whether that would matter.  Is it necessary for church legal officers fulfilling the role of legal counsel to be licensed to practice law in the state in which the church is headquartered, or not? Louisiana and Texas would appear to be relatively given. 


Anonymous said...

according to - only 2 states come up that he is or was able to practice in -

Anonymous said...

Washington Bar rules do not require bar membership to work as an "in house counsel", however that rule is changing...

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

That was my guess but it was still a question that wasn't entirely settled. Thanks for fielding it.