Se habla EspaƱol
C. Steven Yerrid

Steve Yerrid, Top Trial Lawyer

In a city like Tampa, Florida, a coastal metropolis steeped in history, the list of well-known names and larger-than-life personalities is rich and lengthy, but few names resonate with the same renown as Steve Yerrid.

Yerrid, a trail-blazing trial lawyer for more than 45 years, has built a legacy that continues to evolve, fueled by a relentless desire to help as many people as possible, whether seeking and securing justice on their behalf in the courtroom or selflessly devoting his time and donating a substantial portion of his accumulated wealth to bettering the world around him.

In an age where importance and social impact are measured by likes and subscribers, instead of hard work and good deeds, Steve remains a practitioner of the old ways, always leading by example and putting the needs of others first.

Whether meeting each client of his firm personally or taking time to deliver much needed food to the area’s most vulnerable and less fortunate, he is and has always been one-of-a-kind, a determined legal and social warrior the likes of which are a rarity in today’s world.

The Trial Lawyer

Yerrid has experienced a career of noteworthy achievements, including over 300 verdicts and settlements of $1 million or more for individuals and the families of those injured or killed by the wrongdoing of others.

Among those was a jury verdict of $217 million, the largest medical malpractice award in Florida’s history, and the nation’s largest verdict in 2006. In 2009, he again obtained the country’s largest verdict rendered in a wrongful death case that year, with a jury award of $330 million.

When he was just 30 years old, Yerrid received international recognition in one of the world’s largest maritime tragedies. In utilizing a rare “Act of God” defense, he was able to secure the complete exoneration of Captain John Lerro, the accused pilot in command of a large 608-foot bulk freighter which, during an unpredicted storm packing hurricane force winds, was blown off course and struck the mammoth Sunshine Skyway Bridge, collapsing its center span and tragically claiming 35 innocent lives.

Not a decade has passed that Steve has not left an indelible mark.

In 2010, confronted by one of the largest environmental catastrophes in history, then-Governor Charlie Crist appointed him as Special Counsel regarding the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster and its aftermath. Yerrid gave his time, costs, and efforts for nearly a year to the people of Florida as a public service. As a result, The Florida Justice Association presented him with the Outstanding Pro Bono Award, a special recognition given only every several years.

Yerrid also was retained by the City of Tampa to hold BP responsible for the economic damages it sustained as a result of that disaster. He successfully obtained a $27.5 million settlement in July 2015. It was the largest recovery paid to any municipality by British Petroleum.

In the 1990’s, as the youngest lawyer appointed by the late Governor Lawton Chiles to an 11-member “Dream Team” of private lawyers, Steve undertook a leading role in Florida’s landmark lawsuit against the previously unbeaten cigarette industry. The case resulted in the biggest monetary settlement that had occurred in U.S. history, ultimately topping $17 billion. In addition, he and the Dream Team members succeeded in obtaining unprecedented advertising concessions that permanently prevented marketing aimed at children, eliminated cigarette billboards, vending machines, Joe Camel, the Marlboro Man, and established youth tobacco prevention programs across the United States.

As a result of his success, tenacity and integrity, Steve has long been sought out to take on important and precedent-setting cases.

He was honored to be appointed as Special Counsel to the Office of the Chief Judge (13th Judicial Circuit) and the Florida Conference of Circuit Judges. In representing Florida’s entire judiciary, he successfully argued before the Florida Supreme Court and protected state judges and staff from public disclosure of confidential records and internal communications within the court system.

Subject Matter Expert

Mr. Yerrid has also authored three books: When Justice Prevails, Winning Ways, and The Making of a Championship Heart. (Available in bookstores across the nation.)

As someone who strongly believes the legal profession should always seek to better itself through continuing education, a subject he frequently speaks about to groups around Florida and across the nation, Yerrid has taught as an adjunct professor at Stetson Law School and, for a number of years, as a visiting adjunct professor at his alma mater, Georgetown University Law Center.

He also served as Special Counsel to the President of The United Way in Washington, D.C. and participated pro bono in a $3 billion worldwide fundraising effort, as well as assisting in the launching of several national and international programs that remain in use today.

In 2003, Steve authored When Justice Prevails, a book that shared his thoughts and knowledge on law and the justice system through stories that only he could tell, which has become a go-to-source for young, aspiring attorneys. And he has gone on to create two other books, 2005’s Winning Ways (about the Tampa Bay Lightning’s drive to its first Stanley Cup Championship) and 2011’s The Making of a Championship Heart, which paired 18 different character traits that define and separate greatness from mediocrity with key images from the New York Yankees’ 2009 World Championship season, as well as selected photos from the private Yankee library and quotes from the past. As a long-time friend of the late George Steinbrenner, he was given access to and interviewed most of the active players, as well as legends from the past such as Yogi Berra, Don Larsen, and Reggie Jackson.

Yerrid has since expanded his reach into other visual mediums, most recently partnering with local filmmaker Frankie VanDeBoe to produce a feature-length documentary, “The Skyway Bridge Disaster,” graphically detailing one of the world’s largest maritime disasters. The film premiered in September 2019 at the Tampa Theater and played to a sold-out audience with all of the proceeds going to charity.

Notable Associations and Honors

Yerrid is a lifetime member of the prestigious Inner Circle of Advocates, an “invitation only” organization whose membership consists of the top 100 trial lawyers in the United States. He is a past recipient of the Perry Nichols Award, bestowed by the Florida Justice Association (FJA) as its highest honor in recognition of a lifelong pursuit of justice, and in 2013, he received the Excalibur Award for exemplifying leadership and commitment at the highest level of Florida’s civil justice system, an honor bestowed on only four Florida trial lawyers.

In 2016, he was voted into the National Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame. Steve also is the recipient of several FJA Eagle Awards (Gold, Silver and Crystal), including recognition as the first donor to achieve the $1 million-dollar-level of giving to the FJA’s educational efforts designed to protect and improve the American system of justice; currently serves as a Distinguished Fellow in the FJA; has been named Top Lawyer in the Nation by Lawyers USA; was selected by the National Law Journal as a top ten litigator; honored by the American Board of Trial Advocates a Diplomate as well as Trial Lawyer of the Year (Tampa Bay); and the recipient of numerous other honors and recognitions through his career too numerous to specifically reference. He has been continuously listed in Best Lawyer in America over the last five decades.

Awards & Accolades

The Philanthropist

Despite being deeply absorbed in his legal career and the clients and causes he champions, Yerrid rarely rests.

He continues to devote significant time and personal resources to philanthropic efforts, serving as Chairman of The Yerrid Foundation, a non-profit organization that is self-funded by him.

Since its inception in the 1990’s, Yerrid and his family’s foundation have supported and donated millions of dollars to a wide array of charitable and child-related causes. While his and the foundation’s contributions and efforts have been repeatedly recognized and lauded, both locally, nationally, and internationally, the truth is that such acclaim means little compared to the visible and significant impact such charitable efforts have achieved. As Steve has often commented, his true hope is that such ripples of good may turn into tsunamis of good deeds by the people he and his foundation are able to help.

Even in those times of significant uncertainty, such as the global COVID pandemic of 2020 and its resultant surge of social unrest, Yerrid and his foundation have made a mark in the lives of thousands of local residents through the We Care initiative, which Steve envisioned as a model and blueprint for other cities across the U.S. to follow. Fueled by significant donations from The Yerrid Foundation, Steve was instrumental in joining the Tampa Police Department, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and Metropolitan Ministries in creating a food and distribution network for struggling families and homeless individuals that brought together law enforcement and the people it serves during one of the darkest periods in American history. Through this type of benevolent and personal connection, there is an undeniable and positive improvement between the police and communities they serve.

Request a Free Consultation Today

  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.