Meet Christopher DeBari. He is a Personal Injury Attorney whose been practicing in Tampa Bay area for about 20 years.
Please tell us a little bit about your family. I came from a Italian-American background. My family was great, they were second generation Americans on one side, first on the other side. My parents are from Naples and Bari, Italy where my grandparents are. We were raised on The Jersey shore and it is a really great culture up there, spent a lot of time in New York City, Philadelphia and New Jersey is great.Our family is very close, we did a lot together, we played together and stayed together. I went to college in Northern New Jersey, Montclair State University and majored in English and Dramatic Literature. I originally planned on being a Teacher but I started getting acting and modeling jobs in New York City at The Shakespeare Festival and some of their productions. I did theater in New York, off Broadway and New Jersey Regional Theater. I went to Law school and graduated in 1998, passed the bar and started practicing.
First I was a State attorney in Pinellas County, my concentration was mainly traffic and DUI, Domestic Violence and child abuse so I served about 3 years there. Then I got into private practice, I’ve been working in the areas of personal injury and criminal defense ever since.
Q: You were originally an actor, so what happen that make you switched to Law?
A: I came down to Florida and I actually met an agent down here and I wasn’t expecting that the transition from up north to down south was gonna be this black and white from a show business career to Law school. I had an agent down here for a little while we did some commercial work, a little it of modeling and mainly that was the work that I could get. There wasn’t a lot of theater going on to get into. And once I got accepted to Law School, I had to focus. For the most part I prepared for school, I went back and forth to New York a little bit and I did a little of soap opera in New York but when I started Law school, May of 1996, I really just didn’t have the time to go back to Show Business so I really have to make a decision to do one thing.
Q: You were practicing in the area of child abuse, is that correct?
A: When I was a District Attorney in Pinellas County and once they promoted me to felony division the special project. I worked on child abuse, child neglect, child sexual abuse and it was pretty rough because the people that should be taking care of them are abusing them so that was never an easy thing to deal with particularly for the child.
Q: Did you try to move away from that?
A: Yes. Once I moved from the public service to the private sector. I still do the criminal defense work but I don’t defend any cases involving child abuse, I just don’t want to do that because it’s too much.
Q: How long have you lived in North Tampa?
A: Probably about 15 years now.
Q: What are your favorite restaurants in North Tampa?
A: Up this way, not too many. There’s Carrabba’s restaurant, there’s Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza but I tend to prefer a to cook at home especially during the Corona Virus. So I haven’t really had any favorite restaurants lately. Vizcaya was very nice and we go there a lot.
Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in North Tampa? Why?
A: My wife. She’s interesting and I’ve never met anybody like her. She’s amazing, project driven, she’s creative, articulate, brilliant and I’ve never ever met anyone that thinks the way she thinks and I’m not exaggerating that one.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
A: I’ve done a little bit of travelling and I’ve always enjoyed it. I think right now, I would enjoy France or Spain or both that would be a nice trip. I don’t know when that will happen but hopefully soon.
Q: What is one of your favorite movies?
A: In recent years my favorite movie, the one that I really enjoy watching the most is probably Midnight in Paris, it stars Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, it’s very enjoyable movie, very nostalgic and funny.
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: I really want to ski in the Alps. I have skied a lot in United States, in Canada but I’ve been told it would be a great experience.
Q: What is your favorite music or band?
A: I’ve been always been a huge fan of Stevie Wonder, I like his music a lot, I like a lot of Jazz, Miles Davis and my godfather is a brilliant musician, Lou Pompilio in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. I like them a lot and those are really some of my favorite artists.
Q: If you could be in a movie who would be your co-star?
A: It would be fun to do a movie with Tom Hanks, he’s a funny guy!. As far as leading lady is concern, I think Rachel McAdams is really talented and there will be a long list of leading ladies I would like to co-star with.
Q: If they will make a movie about your life, who would play “you”?
A: Probably Mark Ruffalo and if it’s younger and thinner it would be John Travolta.
Q: What is your favorite dish?
A: That’s a tough one. I like most Italian dishes that we make but probably my mother-made Manicotti would be my favorite dish.
Q: What piece of advice about life would you give to people?
A: Don’t take yourself too seriously. Find something that you want to do, something that will inspire you to do it every time you wake up in the morning, get into a line of work, occupation or vocation that you really have interest in. Think about doing what you love because you can do very well if you are happy with what you are doing.