Contact Derek Chen

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Derek Chen


Derek is an associate attorney at Keating, Bucklin & McCormack, Inc. who joined the firm after working as a law clerk during his final year of law school at the University of Washington.  His practice includes municipal and insurance defense litigation, including employment and labor law, civil rights, road design, and personal injury matters.  Representative clients include the City of Edmonds, the University of Washington, the Seattle School District and SCORE.

Before joining KBM, Derek interned with Starbucks Corporate Counsel, the United States Navy JAG Corps, and the Washington State Attorney General’s Office (Torts Division).  While in law school, Derek earned a CALI award in Pre-Trial Practice and served on the executive board of the Washington International Law Journal as Director of Development.  In his free time, Derek enjoys playing soccer, crabbing, and fishing.

Representative Cases

Trial Verdicts

Derek Chen and Stew Estes obtained a defense verdict on behalf of the South Correctional Entity (SCORE).  The plaintiff claimed corrections officers assaulted her during a pat-down search, causing her various physical and emotional injuries.  The jury returned a defense verdict in less than an hour.

Summary Judgment Dismissals

Derek Chen and Stew Estes obtained a full summary judgment dismissal on behalf of the Seattle School District and two individual employees who were named defendants.  The defendants were accused of violating the plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights, as well as multiple torts related to their removal from District property.

Derek Chen and Jayne Freeman obtained a full summary judgment dismissal on behalf of the Town of Steilacoom.  The plaintiff was a former employee who claimed he was discriminated and retaliated against based on his union activities and an alleged disability.

Inquest Practice

Successful representation of City of Kent and three individual officers in Coroners Inquest Jury Trial following fatal shooting of a suspect who pulled a gun on officers during service of a search warrant.

Contract Work

Derek Chen also prepares and provides advice regarding liability releases for various organizations. 



"Employment Law Update," presented at the Pacific Northwest Ski Areas Association's Spring Conference, Wenatchee, Washington 2019

Amicus Briefs

Derek co-authored an amicus curiae brief for the Washington State Supreme Court on behalf of the Washington State Association of Municipal Attorneys. (Wuthrich v. King County, No. 44019-9-II.)

Education, Recognition, and Honors

  • University of California, Irvine – B.A. Political Science, Minor in Spanish language, 2011 
  • University of Washington – J.D. Degree, 2015
  • Washington International Law Journal (Executive Board)
  • CALI Award in Pre-Trial Practice at the University of Washington School of Law
  • King County Bar Association Bar Scholarship Recipient


Derek was selected from a group of several nominees by the Honorable Richard Jones, Karen Murray, and the planning committee to serve as the King County Bar Foundation’s Bar Scholar Speaker at the 2017 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Luncheon sponsored by the King County Bar Association.  Derek delivered a speech on diversity ahead of Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post to an audience of over 900 people.

Professional and Community Activities

  • Washington State Bar Association, 2015
  • Washington Defense Trial Lawyers, 2014
  • Asian Bar Association of Washington, 2013 (Board of Directors, 2016)

“Steve Thorsrud of Keating, Bucklin and McCormack was my lawyer. He put me at ease, and he did a great job of representing me through trial.”

Clarence Tolliver, Seattle, WA