Derek Byrd was born and raised in Sarasota, Florida. During his time at Sarasota High School, Derek was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” by his peers and classmates. After graduation from Sarasota High School, Mr. Byrd attended Florida State University and graduated with a Bachelors degree in Criminology, while also attaining a minor in Finance. After graduating from FSU, Derek made the choice to attend law school at Quinnipiac College of Law, which is located in Hamden, Connecticut. Mr. Byrd graduated from Quinnipiac College of Law in the top 5% of his class as well as Cum Laude.
Upon completion of law school, Mr. Byrd decided to return to his hometown of Sarasota, where he worked for the Public Defender’s Office, primarily in the Felony Division. Derek Byrd has had his own private practice since 1997, where he practices almost exclusively criminal law. His partner in the law firm and in life is his wife, Heather, who practices in family law. Derek and his wife have two boys who are extremely active in sports as well as their love for all things in Florida State athletics, especially Florida State football.
Mr. Byrd is a Board Certified Criminal Trial Attorney and has been so for the past 9 years. His firm is an AV rated law firm, which signifies that a lawyer has reached the heights of professional excellence, by Martindale Hubbell. Derek Byrd has also been selected to Super Lawyers for the past 7 years as well as being listed as one of the Best Attorneys in America. He has had appearances on the Bill O’Reilly Show, Nancy Grace, CourtTV, and has also had some of his jury trials broadcasted on TruTV. Mr. Byrd has also served as a legal commentator for CourtTV, TruTV, Savannah Guthrie, and all local television affiliates.
Derek Byrd is the past President of the Sarasota County Bar Association, and the past President of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Mr. Byrd is licensed in all State Courts as well as the Federal Middle District of Florida.
Mr. Byrd’s primary hobby is coaching youth baseball, including his son’s travel baseball team. Derek has volunteered as a youth baseball coach for over 10 years. he has coached several All- Star Teams including the 2014 Cal Ripken All Star Team, which he lead all the way to the World Series. Derek has coached travel baseball for nearly a decade, and has brought his teams to major events in several states. Mr. Byrd has a true passion for mentoring young people.
Derek Byrd has also worked with the Innocence Project of Florida in helping exonerate wrongfully accused citizens. Recently, Mr. Byrd served as local counsel in helping free Derrick Williams, who was imprisoned for nearly two decades for a crime he did not commit. Along with other attorneys, Derek was present when Mr. Williams was set free.
Besides his work with the Innocence Project of Florida, Derek is also very active in the community by serving on the Criminal Justice Commission. Recently Derek was approached by the Board of Sarasota County Commissioner to serve on commission. Derek was also appointed on the local Bar Grievance Committee by the Florida Bar Association. Mr. Byrd is a member of the John M. Scheb American Inn of Court.