Summary

Derrick is a trial lawyer and a member of Taft's Litigation and Intellectual Property practice groups. He is a member of the Federal Trial Bar and focuses on complex commercial disputes and related negotiations. Derrick has significant experience as lead trial counsel in a broad range of litigation including contract and licensing disputes; intellectual property disputes with a focus on trademark infringement; trust and fiduciary matters; and sports and entertainment related disputes. Derrick also serves as Special Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Chicago in civil cases. In addition to his litigation practice, Derrick provides strategic counsel to businesses and financial institutions facing complex legal issues and advises businesses on brand management and protection.

Derrick was selected as an Illinois Super Lawyer for Business Litigation in 2021 and 2022. He has been recognized as a top lawyer in creative arts earning distinction from Leading Lawyers in the category of Arts, Entertainment, and Sports. Leading Lawyers has also recognized him as a Top Commercial Litigator since 2020, which consists of the top 5% of Illinois lawyers, as selected by his peers. In 2021, he was one of 43 attorneys selected by his peers as a top lawyer demonstrating diversity in the Illinois bar. Derrick was also named to Crain’s Chicago Business’s list of 2020 "Notable Minorities in Accounting, Consulting, & Law". 

Prior to beginning his legal career, Derrick played college football for the Northwestern University Wildcats. He was a starting wide receiver on the Wildcats’ Big Ten Championship team in 2000, as well as a member of the Wildcats’ Big Ten Championship team in 1996. After college, Derrick worked as a National Football League contract advisor for a number of years.

Awards

  • Honoree, Leading Lawyers (2016 - present)

  • Honoree, "Notable Minorities in Accounting, Consulting & Law" by Crain’s Chicago Business (2020)

  • Honoree, Illinois Super Lawyers, Business Litigation (2021 - 2022)

All Service Areas

Education

  • DePaul University College of Law (2005)
  • Northwestern University, B.S. (2000)

Admissions

  • State - Illinois
  • Federal - Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar)
  • Federal - Northern District of Illinois
  • Federal - Central District of Illinois
  • Federal - 7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Notable Matters

Recent Representations:

  • Lead counsel for London and Australia based companies in multi-forum litigation involving breach of commercial contracts and financial service agreements related to a $20MM claim.
  • Representing major record label in Federal suit involving breach of contract as related to music composition and license in artistic work.
  • Member of Taft team representing numerous companies including Fortune 500 companies in intellectual property matters involving trademark infringement and unfair competition.
  • Lead counsel defending major media outlet in Class Action suit involving various contractual breaches and discrimination claims.
  • Representing multinational pharmaceutical company in dispute involving distribution agreement and license issues.
  • Represented over 100 direct lenders and bankruptcy receiver at trial in a case involving mortgages, security instruments, and various mechanics liens, the major issue being the release (or non-release) of $25 million lien. Resulted in trial court constructing mortgages and related contracts in favor of the direct lenders and judgment in favor of direct lenders at trial. Successfully defended appeal.
  • Defending large school district in multiple lawsuits involving alleged negligence and other tortious conduct.
  • Serving as Special Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Chicago in multiple civil cases.
  • Represented nationwide manufacturer in Federal suit involving breach of contract.
  • Member of Taft team which defended the City of Chicago in a Class Action suit alleging due process violations and property deprivation.
  • Represented beneficiaries in action against trustee for trustee’s failure to timely file tax returns resulting in over $2.5 million in penalties, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of duty of care, and professional negligence. Matter resolved with trustee and its insurer consenting to million dollar settlement, trustee removal, and IRS rulings in favor of the beneficiaries.
  • Represented national organization in declaratory action against national insurance company, obtaining million dollar coverage determination in favor of organization. 

Speeches and Publications

  • Co-panelist, "A Candid Conversation," Black Law Student Association, DePaul University, Feb. 16, 2022
  • Guest Speaker, "Tulane Sports Law Society Speaker Event," Tulane University, Jan. 26, 2022
  • Guest Speaker, Diversity and Inclusion: A Social and Professional Responsibility Course at Loyola University of Chicago School of Law, Sept. 2021

Professional Affiliations

  • Chicago Bar Association

    Member

  • Illinois State Bar Association

    Member

  • Cook County Bar Association

    Member

  • Big Ten Conference Advisory Commission

    Representative

  • Chicago Bar Foundation

    Advocacy Committee, Member

  • Big Ten Conference Anti-Hate Anti-Racism Coalition

    Member

  • Northwestern University Department of Athletics and Recreation

    Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Task Force, Member

  • Leadership Council on Legal Diversity

    Fellow (2021)

  • Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession

Community Involvement

  • Northwestern University Varsity Football Team

    Mentor

  • Northwestern University N-Club (Letterman Club)

    Lifetime Member