Donald E. Christopher, shareholder and former office managing shareholder in Baker Donelson's Orlando office, is a fourth-generation Floridian. His practice has been broadly focused because he is not only an accomplished trial lawyer, but also counsels clients on real estate and corporate transactions and planning. After receiving his J.D., Mr. Christopher spent two years serving as law clerk to Chief Judge George C. Young of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida. There, he quickly learned the nuances of trial practice from one of Florida's most respected federal judges.
Mr. Christopher left his clerkship with Judge Young a month early in November 1979 to accept an appointment as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida. While there, he successfully tried over 30 civil and criminal cases. He developed particular experience in financial fraud, but his trials and appeals were quite varied, including: the largest known theft of currency from the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, D.C.; injuries resulting from a Halon explosion at the Kennedy Space Center; the extradition of an American bail bondsman to Canada to face kidnapping charges; fraud and embezzlement by high-ranking bank officials; and numerous income tax evasion cases.
After leaving the government in May 1983 to begin practice with Hal Litchford, Mr. Christopher returned twice at the request of the Department of Justice to serve as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in 1983 and 1989. The scores of civil cases he has tried before both judges and juries have included breaches of contract, employment claims and noncompete covenants, corporate fraud, construction disputes, suits to set aside fraudulent transfers, antitrust actions, copyright indemnification, bankruptcy adversary proceedings and defense of product liability claims.
Mr. Christopher has appeared on behalf of creditors in bankruptcies, incorporated many businesses, handled mergers of companies, drafted and negotiated a wide variety of business contracts, and represented both purchasers and sellers of shopping centers, apartment complexes and unimproved land. Business clients appreciate this breadth of experience that has enabled him to skillfully guide them through many of the toughest decisions and disputes they face.
- Orange County Bar Association (Chair, Corporate and Business Law Committee, 1989 – 1990; Arbitration Committee, 1991 – 1992; Professionalism Committee, 1999 – 2004; Judicial Relations Committee, 2002 – 2008)
- American Bar Association (Litigation Section, Committee on Corporate Counsel, 1991 – present)
- The Florida Bar (Rules of Judicial Administration Committee, 2012 – 2015; Civil Procedure Rules Committee, 2005 – 2011, Vice Chair 2009 – 2010, Chair, 2010 – 2011; Federal Court Practice Committee, 1994 – 1997; Ninth Judicial Circuit Fee Arbitration Committee 1990 – 1991)
- Ninth Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee "E", 2007 – 2010 (Vice Chair 2009 – 2010)
- District of Columbia Bar Association
- Virginia State Bar Association
- Virginia Trial Lawyers Association
- AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
- Panelist – "Q&A Ask the Experts Panel," Council On State Taxation, Southeast Regional State Tax Seminar, March 22, 2016
- Virginia, 1977
- Florida, 1978
- District of Columbia, 1979
- U.S. District Court for the Middle, Southern and Northern Districts of Florida
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, 1979
- U.S. Supreme Court, 1980
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, 1981
- U.S. District Court, Colorado, 2000
- University of Virginia School of Law, J.D., 1977
- Harvard University, A.B., 1974, cum laude in Government