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Speaker-to-be Chris Sprowls leaves state prosecutor’s office for private practice

Chris Sprowls is hanging up his hat as a prosecutor.

The 32-year-old Palm Harbor Republican expected to serve as Speaker of the Florida House said he had joined the firm of Buchanan Ingersoll and Rooney. The decision marks the end of a seven-year career with the State Attorney’s Office for the Sixth Judicial Circuit.

“We’re going to miss him,” said State Attorney Bernie McCabe.

Sprowls, whose last day was July 8, said he decided to make the leap because he wanted to try his hand at civil law. He said he would work predominantly in the real estate and litigation practice groups at BIR.

Sprowls joined the State Attorney’s Office, which serves Pasco and Pinellas counties, shortly after graduating law school.

During his time as a prosecutor, he tried dozens of jury trials, many involving violent crimes. One of the most notable cases of his career was the conviction of William Hurst for the 1982 murder of his wife, Amy.

“I spent the better part of a decade as a prosecutor. It was an absolutely amazing job,” said Sprowls. “I’m super blessed I got to work for Bernie McCabe, (who is) the smartest state attorney in Florida.”

McCabe said Sprowls became an accomplished trial attorney over the years and was “almost a natural” for the job. He also helped start the area’s veteran’s court, getting the court up and running.

“That guy could’ve been a great prosecutor if he wanted to (be one) for the rest of his life,” said McCabe. “He’ll be missed.”

Sprowls said was looking for the “same kind of mentorship” he received from McCabe over the years, which was one of the reasons why he decided to join Buchanan Ingersoll and Rooney. There he’ll work for Rhea Law, who he called one of the most “well-respected attorneys in Florida.”

The decision may also give Sprowls a bit more time to focus on his legislative career. First elected to the Florida House in 2014, Sprowls recently won a hard-fought intraparty scrump to serve as Speaker beginning after the 2020 elections. With a leadership role comes more responsibilities, including fundraising and helping to make sure Republicans keep their majority in the House.

A lifelong Tampa Bay resident, Sprowls graduated from Stetson University School of Law in 2009. He is married with one son, and a second on the way.

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