Christopher S. Knopik
Managing Attorney Christopher Knopik’s legal career can best be described as incredibly dynamic and highly successful. Chris’s vast experience as both defense and plaintiff’s counsel to major corporations combined with his work as general counsel and c-suite executive for a large multi-state health care company gives him a unique perspective on the complicated business and catastrophic injury cases that are the focus of BKH’s Florida-based Complex Litigation Practice Group.
A graduate of the University of Virginia Law School, Chris joined the Tampa, Florida office of Holland & Knight after clerking for the Honorable William Terrell Hodges who was then sitting as Chief Federal Judge for the Middle District of Florida. He and a number of talented colleagues subsequently left H&K and formed a series of small firms, including the Knopik Deskins Law Group which was recognized as one of the “Best Law Firms in America” and received the 2013 Florida Excellence Award from the U.S. Trade and Commerce Institute.
During more than 30 years in private practice, Chris tried numerous medical negligence, personal injury, product liability, intellectual property, civil rights, and commercial cases in state and federal court. He also served as national trial counsel for one of the world’s largest product manufacturers and as defense trial counsel for three of Florida’s largest electric utilities.
In March 2014 Chris became Chief Legal Officer (CLO) and General Counsel (GC) at the Laser Spine Institute (LSI). At the time, the firm, which operated seven surgical centers in six states and employed more than 800, was the nation’s leading provider of minimally invasive spine surgery. In addition to his duties as CLO and GC, he was named to LSI’s executive committee and served as corporate secretary for the company and its affiliated entities.
As CLO and GC, Chris and his team were responsible for a wide variety of areas including litigation, corporate compliance, internal investigations, intellectual property protection, contract review, selection and management of outside counsel, and internal and external crisis communications. He also played a key role in assisting LSI’s leaders as they dealt with a number of difficult challenges. He helped steer the firm through multiple changes in all high-level executive positions, numerous changes in the composition of the board of directors, revisions to firm’s governing documents, several reductions in force and facility closures, a private placement offering, crisis management, and financial restructuring efforts.
In short, Chris dealt with the vast majority of demands and dilemmas that business owners, executives, and board members confront as they strive to grow and succeed in today’s increasingly competitive global economy. The knowledge and practical experience he gained while at LSI will prove invaluable to the business clients who turn to BKH for advice and counsel.
Chris’s outstanding work on behalf of his clients has earned the respect of the legal community as well as numerous honors. He has the highest possible legal and ethical rating from Martindale-Hubbell and has been continuously recognized by his peers and Florida Trend Magazine as a member of “Florida’s Legal Elite.” He has been named a “Florida Super Lawyer” and was ranked among the Top 100 “Super Lawyers” in the Sunshine State by his peers while in private practice. Chris is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an organization limited to trial attorneys who have secured verdicts or settlements of one million dollars or more.
Chris is admitted to practice in the United States Supreme Court, United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, the United States District Court for the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida and the bar of the State of Florida. He has been Board Certified in Civil Trial Advocacy by the Florida Bar since 1991, is certified in Civil Trial Advocacy by the American Board of Trial Advocates and the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification. He is the author of numerous scholarly articles and is a regular and popular speaker/presenter at legal seminars. A complete list of articles and seminar topics may be found here.
Chris has long contributed to the quality of life in the Tampa/St. Petersburg/Sarasota area. He was a member of Leadership Florida Class XVIII, a founding member and president of the Board of Directors of Warrick Dunn Charities, participated in Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Hillsborough County, and was a member of the Operational Oversight Committee and the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan YMCA of Hillsborough County.
Chris, who is the father of four children, Kyle, Ora Rae, Ruby, and Samuel, resides in Tampa, Florida.
Areas of Practice
- Complex Business Litigation
- Catastrophic Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Litigation
- Intellectual Property Law
- Product Liability Law
- Corporate Compliance
- Regulatory Representation
- Contract Negotiation and Review
- Florida State University, Bachelor of Science, Political Science and Government
- University of Virginia School of Law, Juris Doctorate
- United States Supreme Court
- United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
- United States District Court for the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida
- Florida State Courts
Honors and Awards
- Rated “AV” by Martindale-Hubbell
- Board Certified in Civil Trial Advocacy by the Florida Bar
- Board Certified in Civil Trial Advocacy by the American Board of Trial Advocates and the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification
- Board Certified as Civil Trial Pretrial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy
- Listed among Best Lawyers in America for Medical Malpractice, Personal injury, and Commercial Litigation
- Selected as one of “Tampa’s Best Lawyers” by Tampa Bay Business Journal
- Named “Leading Plaintiff Attorney in America” by Lawdragon.com.
- Named to Florida Monthly list of “Best Legal Eagles in the State.”
- Member Florida Trend Magazine’s “Florida’s Legal Elite” and Legal Elite Hall of Fame
- Named “Florida Super Lawyer”
- Named Top 100 Florida “Super Lawyers” while in private practice
- Member, Million Dollar Advocates Forum
- 2004 recipient, Hillsborough County Bar Association’s Michael A. Fogarty “In the Trenches” Award
- 2012 recipient, Tampa Bay Chapter of the Federal Bar Association’s George C. Carr Memorial Award
- 2015 recipient, Florida Chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates Joseph P. Milton Award for Professionalism
- Knopik Deskins Law Group recognized as among the “Best Law Firms in America”
- Knopik Deskins Law Group 2013 recipient of the U.S. Trade and Commerce Institute’s Florida Excellence Award
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Hillsborough County Bar Association
- The Florida Bar Association
- The American Board of Trial Advocates
- The Tampa Bay Federal Bar Association
- The Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers
- The Association of Corporate Counsel
- The Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel
- Chief Judge of United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida appointee to the Merit Selection Panel regarding the selection of United States Magistrates and to the Grievance Committee for the Tampa/Fort Myers Division
- Chief Judge of Florida’s Thirteenth Judicial Circuit appointee to the Judicial Rotation Committee regarding the evaluation of policies governing judicial assignments.
Past Employment Positions
- Clerkship with the Honorable William Terrell Hodges, Chief Federal Judge for the Middle District of Florida
- Attorney, Holland & Knight, Tampa, Florida
- Founder, Knopik Deskins Law Group
- Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel, the Laser Spine Institute
Charitable Activities/Community Involvement
- Leadership Florida, Class XVIII
- A founding member and past president of the Board of Directors of the Warrick Dunn Charities
- Former Big Brother in Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Hillsborough County, Florida
- Member of the Board of Directors and the Operational Oversight Committee of the Metropolitan YMCA of Hillsborough County
Chris is the father of four children, Kyle, Ora Rae, Ruby, and Samuel.