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Derek M. Gillis


Healthcare. Real Estate. Insurance coverage. Complex industries require detailed analyses and efficient strategies. Derek litigates in these industries and advises clients engaged in wide-ranging business disputes. From Fortune 500 companies to small businesses to individuals, Derek achieves favorable results in the state and federal courts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island and negotiates cost-saving resolutions for clients.

Derek also maintains an appellate practice in all subject matters. Drawing on his appellate court experience, Derek tailors his appellate advocacy for the fresh perspective and exacting standards of appellate courts. In addition to representing parties on appeal, Derek’s appellate practice includes the drafting of amicus briefs on behalf of industry and professional groups that may be affected by high stakes decisions in the highest courts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.


  • Suffolk University Law School (J.D., magna cum laude) Lead Articles Editor, Journal of Health & Biomedical Law
  • Providence College (B.S. in Management, cum laude) Tau Pi Phi – National Honor Society in Business Administration
  • Boston Latin School

Bar Admissions

  • Massachusetts
  • Rhode Island
  • Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court, Massachusetts
  • U.S. District Court, Rhode Island
  • U.S. District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
  • Lead appellate counsel to domain name reseller in appeal from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (case pending).
  • Persuaded Rhode Island Supreme Court to vacate a Superior Court order granting a motion for new trial and to reinstate the jury verdict in favor of client physician in wrongful death case.
  • Successfully opposed summary judgment motion on behalf of clinical laboratory, obtaining a ruling that a technology company may be liable as successor-in-interest under an asset purchase agreement and the de facto merger doctrine.
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of real estate appraiser and ruling of first impression in Rhode Island that a mortgage lender’s appraiser owes no duty to residential purchasers.
  • Successfully briefed appeal before the Massachusetts Appeals Court, obtaining affirmance of dismissal of fraud claims based upon the litigation privilege in favor of client finance professional.
  • Obtained preliminary injunction in Massachusetts Superior Court and permanent injunction in arbitration on behalf of condominium unit owner, prohibiting another unit owner from trespassing over an exclusive-use deck.
  • Filed amicus brief in Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on behalf of the Massachusetts Defense Lawyers Association, advocating for the enforceability of consent-to-settle provisions in insurance contracts. The case established precedent that consent-to-settle provisions do not violate Mass. Gen. Laws chapter 176D.
  • Represented accounting firm during two-week jury trial. Arguments made and preserved during trial established Rhode Island Supreme Court precedent that accounting malpractice requires expert witness testimony on causation.
  • Part of team that obtained preliminary ruling that client did not breach a non-solicitation agreement associated with the sale of his interest in a small business. The Court granted a $2.5 million pre-judgment real estate attachment to the client and denied the preliminary injunction sought by the opposing parties.
  • Assisted in obtaining ruling in favor of enforceability of nursing home’s arbitration agreement against decedent’s heirs in wrongful death action.
  • Obtained dismissal of malpractice claims against doctor in case presenting open question of statutory interpretation.
  • Pro bono participation in the Volunteer Lawyers Project’s Civil Appeals Clinic and the Lawyers Clearinghouse CORI Clinic.
  • “Rawan v. Continental Casualty Company and the Future of Consent to Settle Litigation,” Massachusetts Defense Lawyers Association Newsletter (May 2020)
  • “Pharmaceutical Manufacturer Liability – Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Cannot Use Pass-on Defense in Antitrust Suits Brought by Pharmacies,” Journal of Health & Biomedical Law 373 (2011)
  • Law clerk to the Honorable Maureen McKenna Goldberg of the Rhode Island Supreme Court (2013-14 term)
  • Law Clerk to the Honorable Michael A. Silverstein of the Rhode Island Superior Court Business Calendar (2012-13 term)
  • Judicial Intern to the Honorable Mitchell J. Sikora, Jr. of the Massachusetts Appeals Court (Spring 2011)
  • Alumni Committee Member, Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund
  • Chair, Appellate & Amicus Committee, Defense Counsel of Rhode Island
  • Member, Supreme Court Bench/Bar Committee, Rhode Island Bar Association
  • Member, Massachusetts Defense Lawyers Association
  • Member, American Bar Association