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 and trade secret; trust actions; 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 protection. Derrick’s clients include Fortune 500 companies, middle market companies, and national banks.
Derrick has been selected as an Illinois Super Lawyer for Business Litigation since 2021. He has been consistently recognized as a top lawyer in creative arts earning distinction from Leading Lawyers in the category of Intellectual Property, Arts, Entertainment, and Sports as recommended by his peers. Leading Lawyers has also recognized him as a Top Commercial Litigator since 2020, which consists of the top 5% of Illinois lawyers. 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.” In 2022, he was again recognized by Crain’s Chicago Business on its list of “Notable Black Leaders and Executives.” In 2023, Derrick was honored as a recipient of the Chicago Bar Association’s prestigious Earl B. Dickerson Award.
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.
Recipient, Earl B. Dickerson Award, Chicago Bar Association (2023)
Honoree, “Notable Black Leaders and Executives” by Crain’s Chicago Business (2022)
Honoree, Illinois Super Lawyers, Business Litigation (2021 – present)
Honoree, “Notable Minorities in Accounting, Consulting & Law” by Crain’s Chicago Business (2020)
Honoree, Leading Lawyers (2016 – present)
All Service Areas
- DePaul University College of Law (2005)
- Northwestern University, B.S. (2000)
- 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
- Lead counsel for Fortune 50 company in disputes involving compliance with various municipal codes and regulations.
- Regularly represent national bank in contentious negotiation and related disputes involving credit facilities and agreements.
- Lead counsel for middle market company pursuing trademark, trade secret and cybersquatting claims against competitor.
- Represented major record label in Federal suit involving breach of contract related to music composition and license in artistic work.
- Regularly represent national music and comedy promoter in licensing and contract disputes and advise regarding trademark and brand management.
- Member of Taft team representing numerous companies including Fortune 500 companies in intellectual property matters involving trademark infringement and unfair competition.
- Served as lead trial counsel and successfully defended major media outlet in Class Action suit involving various contractual breaches and discrimination claims.
- Represented national pharmaceutical company in dispute involving distribution agreement and license issues.
- 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.
- 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.
- Member of Taft team that 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.
Speeches and Publications
- Panelist, “Keeping Pace: A Discussion on Minority Underrepresentation in the Legal Profession, the Challenges These Attorneys Face and the Work to be Done,” Race and the Law Symposium, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Feb. 2, 2023.
- 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
- Chicago Bar Association
- Illinois State Bar Association
- Cook County Bar Association
- Big Ten Conference Advisory Commission
- Chicago Bar Foundation
Advocacy Committee, Member
- Big Ten Conference Equality Coalition
- Northwestern University Department of Athletics and Recreation
Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Task Force, Member
- Leadership Council on Legal Diversity
- Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession
- Northwestern University Varsity Football Team
- Northwestern University N-Club (Letterman Club)