Derek Ruzicka

Derek P. Ruzicka graduated with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Business Administration from Valparaiso University in 2004, where he was a member of the Dean’s List. He received his J.D. from Southern Illinois University School of Law in 2008, and was again a member of the Dean’s List. He was an editor for the Southern Illinois University Law Journal and was a teaching assistant for the law school’s legal research and writing program. Derek is a trial lawyer licensed to practice in Missouri and Illinois. He is also admitted to practice before the United States District Courts for the Eastern District of Missouri and the Southern District of Illinois. He has handled cases through trial and on appeal and actively represents national and international companies in many locations throughout Illinois, Missouri, and, from time to time, throughout the United States. Derek is an active member of the Defense Research Institute and a contributor to the Missouri Bar CLE Deskbook Series, Construction Law edition. He is also an author on product liability and tort reform topics. Derek has been deemed a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers magazine every year since 2015.

Publications and Seminars

  • Contributor, Missouri Bar CLE Deskbook Series, Construction Law, 2009 Supplement, Chapter 1, “Construction Contracts: Risk Shifting Devices” (2009 & 2015)
  • It’s Political, You Can’t Be Offended! A Discussion of the Student Speech Analysis in Guiles ex. Rel. Guiles V. Marineu, 461 F.3D 320 (2d Cir. 2006)
  • “Show Me How to Pick a Lab and Present Convincing Evidence at Trial,” Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers, 24th Annual Meeting by Gary E. Snodgrass and Derek P. Ruzicka


Derek devotes his practice to trial work, representing international and national companies and small businesses in general liability, product liability, and business litigation in predominantly litigated matters.  Derek also assists corporate entities in environmental law matters and has additional focus in construction law, retail and hospitality, and cyber risk. He handles complex product liability and commercial litigation matters for companies in a broad range of industries as issues may arise. Derek additionally represents clients in various industry sectors concerning contract formation, business transactions, and other matters. His clients include:
  • Insurance Companies
  • Product Manufacturers and Distributors
  • Transportation Companies and Brokers
  • Retail and Hospitality Companies
  • Construction Companies
  • Pharmaceutical Companies


  • Defense Research Institute
  • The Lawyers Association of St. Louis


  • Southern Ilinois University School of Law
    • J.D., 2008
  • Valparaiso University
    • B.S., Psychology, 2004
  • International Association of Defense Counsel Trial Academy, 2012
  • Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers Trial Academy, 2011


  • Missouri
  • Illinois
  • Eastern District of Missouri
  • Southern District of Illinois


  • Missouri and Kansas Super Lawyers List: Rising Star, Top Rated Products Liability Attorney, St. Louis, MO - 2015, 2016, 2017
  • KC Magazine Top Attorneys, Outstanding Young Lawyers in Missouri and Kansas - 2015
KC Magazine Top Attorneys, Outstanding Young Lawyers in Missouri and Kansas, Derek Ruzicka


  • Founding Principal, Gausnell, O’Keefe & Thomas, LLC (2018 - Present)
  • Principal, Pitzer Snodgrass, P.C. (2016 - 2018)
  • Associate, Pitzer Snodgrass, P.C. (2011 - 2015)
  • Associate, Rabbitt, Pitzer & Snodgrass, P.C. (2009 - 2010)
  • Law Clerk, Rabbitt, Pitzer & Snodgrass, P.C. 2007
  • Externship with Judge Herndon, the US District Court for the Southern District of Illinois in East St. Louis, 2006