Summary

Derrick is a trial lawyer and a member of Taft's Litigation practice group. He focuses on complex business disputes and related negotiations. Derrick has significant experience as lead trial counsel in a variety of litigation matters including partnership, real estate, employment, intellectual property, financial services, trust & fiduciary, and sports & entertainment related disputes. In addition to his litigation practice, Derrick provides strategic counsel to companies facing legal issues or who find themselves involved in complex negotiations.   

In 2021, Derrick was selected as an Illinois Super Lawyer and in 2020 was named to Crain’s Chicago Business’s list of Notable Minorities in Accounting, Consulting, & Law.

Derrick was recognized as a Leading Lawyer in 2020 and an “Emerging Lawyer” in 2016-2019 by Law Bulletin Publishing Company, a distinction reserved for top lawyers who have proven themselves to be professional, ethical and experienced at an early point in their legal careers.

Prior to embarking on 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 (2021)

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

Notable Matters

Recent Representations:

  • Representing London and Australia based companies in multi-district and venue litigation involving breach of commercial contracts and contract covenants ($14MM Claim).
  • Member of Taft team representing and defending City of Chicago in Class Action against the city alleging due process violations and property deprivation.
  • Member of Taft team representing and defending City of Chicago in Section 1983 based Class Action.
  • Represented beneficiaries in action against trustee for trustee/agent’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 a not-for-profit childcare facility in declaratory judgment action against national insurance company - obtaining full coverage for facility and arbitration award in favor of childcare facility.
  • Represented over 100 direct lenders and bankruptcy receiver at trial in a case involving mortgages 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).
  • Represented beneficiaries in action against trustee for trustee/agent’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 not-for-profit childcare facility in declaratory judgment action against national insurance company - obtaining full coverage for facility and arbitration award in favor of childcare facility.
  • Represented religious organization in declaratory action against national insurance company - obtaining million dollar coverage determination in favor of organization.
  • Represented entertainment company in breach of contract and warranty suit against municipality and various vendors - obtaining favorable settlement for company.  
  • Defended a prominent Chicago family against breach of contract and failure to disclose allegations in a large real estate transaction - resulting in not guilty at trial.
  • Represented family in action against trustee for accounting, breach of fiduciary duty and negligence - resulting in removal of trustee and damage award in favor of family.

Speeches and Publications

  • 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)

Community Involvement

  • Northwestern University Varsity Football Team

    Mentor

  • Northwestern University N-Club (Letterman Club)

    Lifetime Member