Derek Hollingsworth is a gifted trial lawyer who has handled a number of high-stakes, high-profile cases. He helped famed pitcher Roger Clemens win an acquittal of federal perjury charges and represented the Arthur Andersen accounting firm amid the Enron scandal. He helped conduct a court of inquiry that led to jail time and disbarment of a former prosecutor for his role in the conviction of Michael Morton, a man exonerated by DNA evidence. And he represented a cancer doctor accused of poisoning her lover in a case that dominated Houston news coverage for weeks.
Derek says that what’s most satisfying in his work is representing someone who has truly been treated the wrong way and then winning that case. “Winning can come in several ways. It might be a great settlement. It might be winning a jury trial. Or it might be convincing the government to dismiss charges against a client. I’ve had all those things happen,” he says. “And it is the most rewarding moment when your client looks at you with tears in their eyes, gives you a hug and says, “Thank you, you truly helped me.'”
Derek graduated first in his class from Baylor Law School, then clerked for Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen. A year later, he joined the Dallas law firm of Hughes & Luce in the commercial civil litigation section, but he yearned for more courtroom trial work. He got a job with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, where he was immersed in criminal trial work.
Rusty Hardin lured him away in 2003. “Derek is uniquely qualified to live in both the civil and criminal trial worlds as a result of his clerkship at the Supreme Court, his civil litigation exposure at Hughes & Luce, and his criminal trial court experience at the District Attorney’s office,” Rusty says. “Derek is a very, very good trial lawyer with a future that holds nothing but outstanding promise.”
Represented Dr. Ana Maria Gonzales-Angulo, a cancer doctor at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, in her high-profile jury trial on charges that she poisoned her lover’s coffee. Client was sentenced to 10 years for aggravated assault for a case in which she faced a potential life sentence.
Represented major league baseball pitcher Roger Clemens in winning an acquittal at the end of a two-month federal trial in Washington, D.C., in which Clemens was charged with perjury, obstruction of Congress and making false statements. The charges stemmed from accusations of steroid use by Clemens’ former trainer.
Successfully represented former Houston Rocket and NBA Hall of Famer Calvin Murphy, who was charged with aggravated sexual assault and indecency with a child. After a five-week jury trial, the jury acquitted Mr. Murphy on all counts in a little more than two hours.
Achieved favorable outcome for Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, accused of reckless injury to his 4-year-old son. Peterson avoided jail time in a plea agreement on a misdemeanor charge.
Represented suspended NASCAR driver Kurt Busch amid domestic abuse allegations by his former girlfriend. No criminal charges were ever filed.
Represented accounting firm Arthur Andersen in complex securities class actions and dozens of other civil suits arising from the financial collapse of Enron Corp.
Represented Nan Ya Plastics Corp., a major Taiwanese corporation, in a theft of trade secrets case filed in Houston, Texas. After aggressively challenging the plaintiff’s claims for more than $400 million in damages, negotiated a settlement that was significantly less than Nan Ya’s remaining defense costs. The terms were so favorable that the remaining defendant, Formosa Plastics Corp., retained our firm as co-counsel to represent them at trial.
Represented Osprey Petroleum Co. in its breach of contract and fraud claims against Unocal, which arose out of a joint venture involving drilling and completion work for several oil and gas wells.
Represented a major land development company, Camcorp Inc., and its residential homebuilding company, Legend Homes Corp., in over 20 commercial litigation matters over the past 10 years. Among many favorable results was a complete win for the client after a one-month jury trial. In another matter that proceeded through arbitration, the plaintiff eventually dismissed all claims and paid Legend’s defense costs.
Represented Flite Banking Centers, a start-up company in Houston, winning an evidentiary temporary injunction hearing in a commercial litigation matter. After winning the hearing, the opposing side dismissed all claims.
Represented Bank of Houston in a commercial litigation matter that resulted in a week-long jury trial.
Represented a young woman who was kidnapped and sexually assaulted in the parking garage of the Houston Galleria. The case settled for a confidential amount.
Represented the family of a young boy who tragically drowned in a swimming pool. Negotiated a confidential settlement before suit was even filed.
Represented the family of a man who was killed when a reckless truck driver rear-ended his vehicle. Won court ruling that insurance company was liable and achieved settlement that fairly compensated the family.
Represented a young boy who fell from a dangerous, three-story spiral staircase attached to a public building. Obtained a confidential settlement against the property owner.
Represented a young man in sexual abuse suit against a local church and private school for negligence after failing to investigate known complaints of sexual abuse against a teacher. Obtained a confidential settlement.
Assisted in Court of Inquiry into the actions of a former District Attorney accused of hiding evidence that led to the wrongful murder conviction and nearly 25-year prison sentence for Michael Morton, who was later exonerated by DNA evidence. The inquiry led to jail time for the former prosecutor, Ken Anderson, who was later disbarred.
Baylor University School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, and first in class, 1997 Baylor Law Review, lead articles editor
Fulbright & Jaworski Most Outstanding First Year Student Award
Baylor University, BBA, 1993
The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100
Fellow of the American Bar Foundation
Selected to Texas Super Lawyers list, 2014, Thomson Reuters
U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Texas
State Bar of Texas
Federal Bar Association, Houston Chapter
Head of the pro bono committee
Texas Young Lawyers Association
Houston Young Lawyer’s Association, Houston Bar Association
Council Member, Criminal Law & Procedure Section
Texas District and County Attorney’s Association
Publications and Seminars
UT Law Trial Skills Training Camp, CLE panel presentation on “Voir Dire: Finding Your Enemies,” Oct. 23, 2015.
Texas Lawyer, “A View from the Dugout at the Roger Clemens Trial,” Aug. 20, 2012, article bylined with Andy Drumheller and Jeremy Monthy.
Supreme Court Update, Texas State Bar Appellate Litigation Course, 1998
Section 1446: Remedying the Fifth Circuit’s Removal Trap, Baylor Law Review, Winter 1997, Vol. 49, No.1
Rusty Hardin's Comments About Derek
Derek grew up and spent his entire educational career in Waco, Texas. After graduating from high school in Waco, he attended Baylor undergraduate and then Baylor law school, where he graduated first in his class. His wife, Lara, who currently serves as of counsel here at the firm, graduated from Baylor law school a year earlier and was second in her class, which has, of course, led to interesting conversations at home. After graduating from Baylor, Derek clerked for one year at the Supreme Court of Texas for the Honorable Priscilla Owen. By this time, he and Lara were married, and they moved to Dallas, where he joined the law firm of Hughes & Luce, while Lara worked at Carrington, Coleman, Sloman & Blumenthal. During the time he was at Hughes & Luce, Derek participated in an intern program at the Dallas County District Attorney’s office and decided he would like to avail himself of the opportunity to more regularly try cases. He knew that the District Attorney’s office would be the best means of doing so. He and Lara then moved to Houston, where Derek went to work as a trial court prosecutor in the Harris County District Attorney’s office. He was extremely well thought of in the District Attorney’s office as a young prosecutor with a real future when I was fortunate enough to talk him into joining us in February 2003.
Derek is uniquely qualified to live in both the civil and criminal trial worlds as a result of his clerkship at the Supreme Court, his civil litigation exposure at Hughes & Luce, and his criminal trial court experience at the District Attorney’s office. In 2005 and 2006, Derek managed for our firm a complex trade secrets case. He first worked on the case on behalf of Nan Ya Plastics Corporation of Taipei, Taiwan and, after Nan Ya settled, he helped us co-counsel with Baker & McKenzie the claims against Formosa Plastics Corporation of Taipei, Taiwan, a co-defendant to Nan Ya in the same lawsuit. Derek received rave reviews for his management of the case from both sides of the litigation. At the same time, he continued to juggle with Andy Drumheller the various criminal matters in which the firm was engaged. He is very bright, is an excellent writer, and also happens to be a very, very good trial lawyer with a future that holds nothing but outstanding promise. Derek has a very open and reassuring personality with clients that he combines with a very strong work ethic. As does Andy Drumheller, Derek works on both civil and criminal matters. They work incredibly well together and often jointly represent clients in criminal cases. Derek and Lara have a daughter named Carter and two sons, Beck and Rafe.