Daniel L. Schmidt was born in Peoria. He is a graduate of Chillicothe Township High School. He received his B.A. from the University of Illinois in 1974. In 1983, he received his J.D. from Washington University where he was elected to the Order of the Coif.
Judge Schmidt spent 9 years as a police officer before graduating from law school. He spent 1½ years as a patrol officer with the Peoria County Sheriff's Police, and 7½ years as a patrolman with the Peoria Police Department.
As a practicing trial attorney for 19 years, Judge Schmidt was involved mainly in the defense of civil lawsuits. He tried cases to verdict in Adams, Coles, Franklin, Fulton, LaSalle, Peoria, Tazewell, McDonough, McLean, Pike, St. Clair, and Sangamon Counties. He was admitted to practice in Illinois, Missouri, and Maine. He represented clients and appeared in Illinois courthouses from Cook to Union Counties. He argued cases on appeal before the Third, Fourth and Fifth District Appellate Courts. He has also handled cases in the U.S. District courts, including those in Illinois, Missouri, Indiana and Nebraska.
An avid sportsman and conservationist, Schmidt is a life member of Ducks Unlimited. He and his wife, Maureen, have one son, Matt.