Mr. VanDerZee attended DePauw University in Greencastle , Indiana , earning a B.A. in 1993. Following DePauw, he graduated with honors from Stetson University College of Law in St. Petersburg , Florida in 1996. While at Stetson, Mr. VanDerZee was a National Finalist with Stetson’s #1 nationally ranked Trial Team, earning the International Trial Lawyers Advocacy Award, Excellence in Advocacy Award, and Stetson’s Coaches Choice Advocacy Award.
After graduating from Stetson, Mr. VanDerZee joined the State Attorney’s Office for the Ninth Judicial Circuit, covering Orange and Osceola Counties . For the next five years, he was the lead prosecutor in over 100 jury trials, including three years as a lead felony prosecutor. During his time as a prosecutor, he was awarded the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Prosecutor of the Year Award in 1997 for his work in prosecuting DUI offenses and providing alcohol education to college groups.
Following the attacks of 9/11, Mr. VanDerZee, along with his wife Teresa, joined the United States Air Force JAG Corps, earning his commission in December 2001. Following officer training, he was assigned to Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage , Alaska . During his tour, he was the Officer in Charge of Legal Assistance and Operations Law, Military Justice, Administrative Law, and the Base Tax Office, as well as a Special Assistant United States Attorney. For his contributions, he was awarded the Wing Staff Company Grade Officer Award in 2003.
His next assignment relocated his family to Randolph AFB in San Antonio , Texas ; where he was appointed as a Circuit Trial Counsel. He was the lead prosecutor representing the Air Force in over 100 high-profile courts-martial throughout the United States . Capt VanDerZee was a sought-after instructor and speaker throughout the circuit on issues of trial advocacy and evidence techniques. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Medal.
With a desire to return home, Mr. VanDerZee left active duty and joined the Reserves, and came back to Central Florida with his wife and two boys. He established the VanDerZee Law Group and is the Managing Partner. He is licensed to practice in all Florida State Courts, the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Florida, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, and the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals. He is a member of the Florida Bar Association, Judge Advocates Association, American Bar Association, and former member of the National District Attorney’s Association, Orange County and Osceola County Bar Associations, and Orange County Republican Executive Committee.
Mr. VanDerZee is also an Ordained Minister, as he wanted to do something more to help his fellow soldiers and Military families in dealing with prolonged seperation and death of friends and loved ones who fight for our country. Seeing such devastation and cruelty can understandably make someone question their faith and Michael wanted to be able to step into a spiritual role to assist others as well.
|FL||Member in Good Standing||1996||06/11/2021|
|Award name||Grantor||Date granted|
|Meritorious Service Medal||United States Air Force||2006|
|National Defense Service Medal||United States Air Force||2003|
|Procecutor of the year 9th Judicial circuit||MADD||1997|
|American College of Trial Advocacy Award||National Trial Lawyers||1996|
|Managing Partner||The VanDerZee Law Group||2008 - Present|
|Ordained Minister||UCL||2005 - 2010|
|Air Force Judge Advocate (JAG)||Air Force||2001 - 2009|
|Felony Prosecutor||Assistant State Attorney||1996 - 2000|
|Association name||Position name||Duration|
|Florida Army National Guard||JAG||2009 - Present|
|Judge Advocates Association||member||2002 - Present|
|United States Federal Court Norther District||Attorney||2001 - Present|
|The Commander||Breathalyzer accuracy||N/A|
|Stetson University College of Law||JD - Juris Doctor||1996|
|DePauw University||BA - Bachelor of Arts||1993|
|Circuit Trial Counsel||Field sobriety testing||2004|
|3rd Party adoptions can be the answer|
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