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Overview

Derek represents colleges and universities in complicated, prominent litigation involving federal and state regulatory statutes, governmental immunities, constitutional rights and class actions.

Derek represents clients at all stages of litigation, including pre-settlement negotiations, dispositive motion practice, trials, arbitrations and appeals.

A majority of Derek’s clients are institutions that face lawsuits from students, faculty and contractors, as well as regulatory enforcement actions from the U.S. Department of Education and equivalent state agencies. Related to his litigation practice, Derek assists colleges and universities in minimizing litigation risk by ensuring compliance with varied requirements of federal and state regulations, with a special emphasis on Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments of 1972 (sexual harassment/sexual assault) and Clery Act (campus crime reporting).

Derek’s compliance practice includes policy and practice audits, policy drafting, and providing training and guidance to key personnel and students. Derek represents a number of higher education institutions with nursing, medical or other allied health schools.

As a former federal appellate law clerk and appellate practitioner, Derek also has extensive appellate experience and maintains a substantial appellate practice. He has briefed and argued cases before both federal and state courts of appeal. He frequently consults on state and federal appellate cases, where clients seek his knowledge.


Industry

Services

Recognition

  • Benchmark Litigation, 40 & Under Hot List, 2019; Future Star, 2019-2020
  • Ingram's, 40 Under Forty, 2017
  • Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers, Rising Star, 2009; Business Litigation, 2013-2017

Education

  • J.D., University of Kansas School of Law
      • Order of the Coif
      • Rice Scholar
      • Kansas Law Review, articles editor, 2005-2006
  • B.A., University of Kansas
    • with highest distinction
    • Phi Beta Kappa

Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court, District of Kansas
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri
  • Missouri
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • Kansas
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Federal Bar Association
  • Kansas Bar Association 
  • Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
  • The Missouri Bar
  • National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA)

Clerkship

The Hon. Paul J. Kelly Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, 2006-2007

Experience
  • Obtained summary judgment for major research university in Title IX lawsuit challenging propriety of institution's response to report of student-on-student sexual assault. Successfully argued and defended judgment on appeal before U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.
  • Represented flagship state university and faculty member in breach of contract, tort and constitutional rights lawsuit brought by student dismissed for academic misconduct. Obtained summary judgment in favor of university and faculty member.
  • Defended former superintendent and principal of school district in case involving $1 million negligence claims brought by injured student. Obtained summary judgment in favor of clients in groundbreaking application of Paul D. Coverdell Teacher Liability Protection Act and successfully defended case on appeal.
  • Represented private college in internal proceedings to terminate tenured faculty member for conduct inconsistent with college's mission statement and religious principles. Successfully defended termination in subsequent arbitration before American Arbitration Association.
  • Conducted comprehensive historic audit of reports of sexual misconduct by faculty and employees of private, religiously affiliated institution. Advised institution by implementing updated trainings, policies and other measures to address audit findings.
  • Frequently conducts audits and climate assessments of athletic departments and particular sports teams when concerns of sexual misconduct are raised.
  • Routinely drafts comprehensive anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies for private and public institutions.
  • Regularly trains administrators, faculty, staff and students on Title IX compliance.
Thought Leadership
Outside the Office

Derek stays busy with outdoor activities and sports involving his three boys and enjoys long-distance running.

Derek and his three boys spend time in the woods behind their home exploring and playing with their dog. During sports season, he takes the boys to practice and cheers them on at their soccer games and races. The family enjoys spending time in the mountains of Colorado and New Mexico. Derek is also a long-distance runner.

Community Leadership

Derek is passionate about education.

Derek is Board Chair of the Catholic Education Foundation of Northeast Kansas, an organization that helps children in need, of all faiths, attend regional Catholic schools. He also serves on the board of directors for the St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center, which provides ministry and other support to students at the University of Kansas.

  • Catholic Education Foundation of Northeast Kansas, Board of Directors, 2010-present; Chair, 2019-present
  • St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center at the University of Kansas, Board of Directors, 2017-present