Derek Sells

Phone Number: (212) 553-9215
Fax: (212) 227-8763
Offices: Philadelphia, New York City

Managing Partner

Attorney Derek Sells

Derek Sells is the Managing Partner for The Cochran Firm’s New York office. He is an exceptional trial attorney, having achieved many successful results, including a damages trial verdict against The City of New York for $33.52 Million Dollar, a result featured in the Nation Law Journal’s Top 100 Verdicts of 2002.

A 1985 graduate of Dartmouth College and a 1988 Yale Law School graduate, Derek began his legal career at the prestigious Washington, D.C. firm of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering. He then joined the Washington, D.C. Public Defender Service, rising to a senior trial attorney.

In 1995, Derek joined New York’s Schneider Kleinick Weitz Damashek & Shoot, later known as The Cochran Firm, Schneider Kleinick Weitz Damashek & Shoot, as a trial attorney. In May 2002, Derek became Managing Partner of The Cochran Firm. He has since amassed an extraordinary number of Million Dollar verdicts and settlements, exceeding a total of $100 Million Dollars.

Derek has taught trial advocacy at various seminars, including those sponsored by the New York State Trial lawyers Association, the New York State Bar Association and Harvard Law School. He is a member of the New York and Washington, D.C. bars.

Derek was selected to 2010 New York Super Lawyers for personal injury plaintiff – general. Only 5% of lawyers in the state of New York are chosen for this honor each year. The multi-phase, selection process for this recognition includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent evaluation of candidates by the attorney-led, research staff at Super Lawyers, a peer review of candidates by practice area, and a good-standing and disciplinary check.
 
 

 
 
 

Cases of Note

Derek has successfully represented, as co-lead counsel with firm founder Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr., a diverse list of clients on various matters, including:

N.F.L. player Orlando Brown (confidential settlement)

Patrick Dorismond, a young Haitian man shot and killed by police ($2.25M)l Alberta Spruill, an African-American woman killed in her Harlem home during an illegal police raid ($1.6M)

A shark bite victim who lost a leg while swimming in the Bahamas (confidential settlement)

A regional Vice President of a major computer company who suffered a brain injury after being struck by a falling building faade in midtown Manhattan ($3.5M)

The widow and mother of three children who lost their husband and father in a car accident ($3.9M)

Michelle Evans, a junior at Cornell University who was killed by a “drunk driving” campus bus driver (settlement includes a perpetual scholarship in Michelle’s name and a confidential monetary award)

Eric Berry and Yolanda Washington, two black employees who were victims of race discrimination at a major corporation (confidential settlement)

Joyce Reynolds, a plane crash victim who miraculously survived orthopedic injuries (confidential settlement).