Date: 02/14/2013 Print This Post


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Everyone’s Go-To Family Law Attorney, Opri – Who Most
Recently Commented on CNN About The Tom
Cruise/Katie Holmes Divorce – Has Rep’d Cases
Involving James Brown, Michael Jackson, Anna Nicole Smith,
David Hasselhoff and David Caruso

Debra Opri remains one of the most powerful and legendary high-profile female attorneys and legal analysts today, and still at the top of her game. Opri’s current client, actor/comedian, Kevin Hart, will agree. Opri resolved Hart’s divorce after a contentious in-court battle, with the parties finally settling their divorce amicably. Seems like Opri’s legal efforts both in and out of the courtroom helped.  This divorce, one of the more contentious in Hollywood in recent days, exemplified Opri’s fierceness in the courtroom on Kevin Hart’s behalf, along with her ability to keep the media at a distance, which is something most celebrities want.  And that is what Opri delivers.

While Opri won’t discuss her clients or their cases, public court records show that, thanks to Opri’s trial strategies in the courtroom, Kevin Hart glided through the divorce, winning almost every fight against his ex-wife, Torrei Hart. Kevin Hart, the actor/comedian – whose album for Laugh At My Pain, a 2011 stand-up comedy documentary film about his career, recently went five times platinum, and now enjoys television success with his new BET “Hollywood Husbands.” 

And Kevin Hart is only one of the celebrity cases Opri has handled over her 20+ years as an attorney. Opri’s roster of celebrity cases remains legendary. They include the Anna Nicole Smith paternity case where Opri battled Smith from the United States to the Bahamas until Smith’s untimely death turned the paternity proceedings into a battle for DNA, custody, and burial issues; representing Michael Jackson’s parents, Katherine and Joe Jackson, during the late singer’s 2004-2005 molestation trial and handling media attacks against their son; Jermaine Jackson’s divorce; the David & Pamela Hasselhoff custody battle; the David Caruso paternity action, and, of course, James Brown’s sexual harassment trial, Opri’s first celebrity trial, which ended in a win for Debra Opri and her legendary client, the Godfather of Soul, thanks to Opri’s stellar trial tactics and fierce courtroom personality.

Beyond the courtroom, and in the media world, Opri remains the go-to legal analyst on all the top stories of the day. Opri’s media commentary on some of the most high profile celebrity cases of modern times is equal to none. Opri, who founded her family-based law practice in the late ‘80s, was the family lawyer the media sought for big breaking Hollywood family related cases last summer. She appeared on local CNN affiliates including CNN International, commenting on the sudden split between Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.   She continues to weigh in and lend her commentary to the Kim Kardashian divorce ‘fiasco,’ as well as Bethenny Frankel’s (the ‘Skinny Martini tycoon’)  marital breakup and divorce filing. Opri likes Bethenny Frankel, too. Having met Frankel during one of her stints at CNN in New York, Opri was quick to assess Frankel. “Frankel has an aura of success. She’s a winner. And she keeps moving forward,” Opri has observed.  “Bethenny Frankel, in my opinion, needs a partner to keep up. Evidently, Hoppy couldn’t.”

Opri’s resume is endless: she has provided in-depth commentary on Michael Jackson over the years, culminating with news of his death, the Conrad Murray trial, the career travails of Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen, Casey Anthony’s trial and aftermath, the recent filing of Bethenny Frankel’s divorce from businessman Jason Hoppy, Dan Marino’s secret paternity story, and of course, the ongoing Kim Kardashian divorce/annulment battle royale.

As Opri sees it, there will forever be a messy breakup and a legal proceeding….enough to keep her on her game for years.

Opri has been a regular on air analyst on such networks, as CNN, ABC, NBC, Fox News Channel, MSNBC and HLN to name a few, and continues to be a go-to legal source for the current high profile divorces, and high profile cases in the news both nationally and internationally. And after years in the media spotlight, Opri remains the same candid commentator on each and every story— never afraid to tell it how she sees it. Which is, of course, why she is always asked back.

And as a litigator in the world of divorce? Opri has not changed here either. She is still legendary in how she handles each high profile case, from dealing with the media attention on her client to the inside workings of the courtroom. Opri is still one of the only regular media analysts who continues to litigate her own cases. “While I always seek first to avoid confrontation via a settlement that’s fair to both sides, I always make sure I give my clients everything they deserve,” she says. “I don’t quit. When there’s a battle, I’m going to be up for it. I’m going to fight. And I’m going to be fierce, until the battle is won, or the other side surrenders. Clients know this, and they know I do it at an affordable cost.  And guess what— even celebrities want their money’s worth. I’ve dealt with enough of them to know this.”

“Celebrities and those who work as I do with high profile media personalities can very easily be accused of things that are not true and which may stay out there thanks to the internet,” says Opri. “But it’s part of the game of what happens in the celebrity world – whether you’re the celebrity or the celebrity’s lawyer.”

Opri continues, “Everyone understands that there are downsides to the ‘media’ and you may be a potential target, whether it’s you or your client. And that’s okay. I can take it. “But always remember, eventually the truth comes out.” And to those celebrities of try to remain out of the media when it comes to their own divorces, or legal matters, Opri is equally ‘zealous.’  Most of my celebrity clients don’t want the media sitting in the courtroom or in the court hallway with their matters. They don’t want their personal problems in their marriage out there. Period. And there are always ways to deal with this problem. The client’s wishes are always first and foremost. And if the client says no press. That’s the rule we go by. As for those notable clients in Opri’s past, who wanted media coverage at every turn?  Opri has this to say: “Beware of what you wish for.”