Candace L. Byrd is a native of Atlanta, Georgia and was educated in the Fulton County Public School System. She received her B.A. from Georgia State University in 1991 and her Juris Doctor Degree from the Howard University School of Law in 1994, where she was a member of the National Moot Court Team. Upon being admitted to practice in the State of Georgia, she began her career in the areas of medical malpractice, criminal defense, workers’ compensation and probate law at the law firm of Forrest B. Johnson & Associates, where she practiced for seven (7) years. Subsequently, Ms. Byrd started her own practice focusing in the areas of criminal defense and general practice.
Ms. Byrd served as the Chief Public Defender for the City Court of Atlanta as well as the Director of the Office of the Public Defender for the Municipal Court of Atlanta. Following a distinguished tenure as the Director of the Office of the Public Defender, Mayor Kasim Reed appointed her as Chief of Staff of the City of Atlanta. She is responsible for providing advice and guidance to the Mayor on legislative and political issues and serves as liaison to the public and private sectors in fostering partnerships and the development of revenue generating initiatives. She also provides supervision and policy direction over External Affairs & International Relations, Constituent Services, Communications, Human Services, Special Events as well as Film and Entertainment.
Ms. Byrd is a member of the American Bar Association, National Bar Association, Georgia Bar Association and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She is also an alumna of Leadership Atlanta Class of 2012. In 2013, Ms. Byrd was recognized by Women Looking Ahead Magazine as one of Georgia’s Most Powerful and Influential Female Lawyers as well as a Women of Excellence by Atlanta Daily World. Additionally, Ms. Byrd was a member of the 2013 class of the Regional Leadership Institute Ms. Byrd has also been involved and served as the chair of the Georgia High School Mock Trial Program, a program that is designed to help high school students across the state become informed about the legal system through trial preparation since 1997. In 2004, Ms. Byrd was part of the Women and Minorities in the Profession Committee which held a 50th Commemorative Program celebrating Brown v. Board at the Georgia Bar Association’s Annual Bar Meeting. During that year, she was the keynote speaker at the pinning ceremony at Howard University’s School of Law for the incoming class of 2007. Ms. Byrd has been a mentor in the EverybodyWins! Atlanta, a program that partners professionals with elementary students to encourage reading.
She has been a featured guest on the Layman’s Lawyer and was featured in Who’s Who in Black Atlanta in 2005 and 2014. She has received numerous awards for her leadership and civic engagement. She has also devoted time to exposing young students to the political and civic arena by introducing them to state and local legislators and members of the judiciary as well as devotes her time to a number of philanthropic organizations.