Christopher Oprison, a former associate counsel to President George W. Bush, joined DLA Piper’s litigation group as a partner in Miami.
He joins from Akerman, where he was a partner who focused on white collar crime, and has represented a colorful cast of clients. Recently, he defended Sebastian Gorka, an advisor to Donald Trump, who was caught with a loaded handgun at Regan International Airport.
At DLA Piper, Oprison said he plans to pivot slightly and specialize in health care cases, but will continue to take on the occasional criminal defense case. One of his specialties is representing health care clients in False Claims Act and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act cases, he explained.
“DLA Piper has a lot of pharmaceutical companies and device companies as clients,” he said, “I felt like it was a platform where I could grow.”
After graduating from George Washington Law School in 1997, Oprison clerked for District Judge Terrence W. Boyle of the Eastern District of North Carolina; and then, in 1998, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps where he spent several years practicing law in the court at Camp Lejune, prosecuting military personnel who were charged with crimes ranging from murder to drug trafficking.
On one occasion, he handled a case where someone robbed the bank on the grounds of Naval Station Guantanamo Bay. “Never underestimate people’s ability to do stupid things,” Oprison said.
In 2006, Oprison was appointed special assistant and associate counsel to president George W. Bush. He served under Bush for two years, and was in charge of investigations that impacted the Department of Justice.
“I was involved in any number of questions that arose in firing of U.S. attorneys or records issues,” he said.
Oprison arrived at the White House on the tail end of several controversies involving staff from the Bush administration like Scooter Libby and Bernard Kerik. His job was to help direct legal strategy and organize responses to these controversies, he said.
Since then, Oprison worked at Skadden and then joined Akerman in 2013, often handling criminal cases but also general litigation.
At one point, at Akerman, he represented a group of models–including a cast member of the Real Housewives of Miami–in a case against a Miami swingers club called “Miami Velvet.” The club had used pictures of the models in promotional materials for their parties, unbeknownst to the models. Oprison said the case has received a summary judgement and now it’s a matter of determining how much the club owes the models.
UPDATED: This article has been amended to correct that Oprison did not prosecute adultery cases while in the military. In addition, one of Oprison’s quotes was removed because it was taken out of context from the conversation in which it was given.