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Derek Williams is a partner with the law firm Campbell, Williams, Ference and Hall.  His practice focuses on civil litigation with an emphasis in medical malpractice defense, adoption law, product liability, and personal injury defense. He represents doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care providers involving regulatory, insurance, and professional liability matters.

After adopting his two children, Derek started getting asked to represent other families in their adoptions. In nearly fifteen years, this has developed into a very fulfilling adoption practice. Derek is now a Fellow of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys. Derek represents adopting parents, agencies, and birth parents. Some of his most rewarding moments as an attorney are appearing before a judge and seeing a couple’s dream of adopting a child come true. Derek is featured in "Adopting in America: How to Adopt Within One Year (2018-2019)," one of the best resources on adoption. Derek is grateful and humbled to get to play a small role in helping his clients build their families.


Prior to law school, Derek worked for the Utah Attorney General's Office, where he was significantly involved in the complex litigation and subsequent settlement between the state and numerous tobacco companies. He also served a Judicial Clerkship for Judge Pamela T. Greenwood, Utah Court of Appeals.

Presentations & Publications

  • Speaker, Legal Consideration with EMRs, Davis Hospital and Medical Center, January 2020

  • Speaker, Liability with Nursing Documentation, Salt Lake Regional Medical Center, October 2017

  • Speaker, Adoption Law: Start to Finish, National Business Institute, February 2017

  • Author, Rethinking Utah’s Prohibition on School Impact Fees, 22 Journal of Land, Resources & Environmental Law 489

Professional & Civic Involvement

  • Utah Bar Association

  • Appointed by the Supreme Court as Chair of the Utah State Bar’s Ethics and Discipline Diversion Committee – 2016 - Present

  • Appointed by the Supreme Court to serve on the Utah State Bar’s Office of Professional Conduct Diversion Committee – 2013-2016

  • Appointed by the Supreme Court to serve on the Ethics and Discipline Screening Panel 2019-Present

  • Utah State Bar – Pro Bono Adoption Project

  • American Bar Association – 2005-2008

  • Salt Lake County Bar Association

  • Utah Defense Lawyers Association

  • Defense Research Institute - Medical Liability and Healthcare Law Committee

  • David K. Watkiss - Sutherland II, American Inns of Court

  • Utah Adoption Council - President 2017-2018

  • Utah Society for Healthcare Risk Management

Honors / Awards / Unique Recognition

  • American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, Fellow

  • Recognized as a Utah Super Lawyer by Super Lawyer Magazine

  • Recognized as a Utah Legal Elite by Utah Business Magazine


Representative Matters

Litigation Practice

  • Psychiatrists sued for medical negligence. Represented two psychiatrists who were sued for medical negligence involving the prescribing of anti-psychotic medications to a patient in a large hospital adult behavioral unit. The case lasted five years, involved over 40 witnesses including 15 experts. We defended the physicians at a trial that lasted over five weeks to a jury which returned a verdict finding that the physicians did not breach the standard of care.

  • Orthopedic surgeon sued for multiple foot surgeries. Obtained a defense verdict of no breach of the standard of care from a federal court jury following trial.

  • Assisted hospital clients and physicians avoid multiple medical malpractice lawsuits. By obtaining “non-meritorious” opinions from the State of Utah, Division of Professional Licensing (DOPL) prelitigation hearing panels, SCM clients, which included a group of hospital clients and physicians, avoided multiple malpractice lawsuits. Following these rulings, many plaintiffs have chosen not to file lawsuits against the hospital or physician.

  • Successfully defended an out-of-state adoption attorney. This lawsuit involved a birthfather who filed a federal lawsuit claiming constitutional violations, civil conspiracy, racketeering, and other causes of action related to a private adoption. The birthfather’s counsel voluntarily dismissed the case following our filing of an extensive Motion to Dismiss.

  • Assisted multiple large retailers in mediating and settling premises liability claims. These claims were filed following accidents and alleged injuries that occurred inside the stores. All claims were mediated and eventually settled.

Adoption Practice

  • Over 300 adoption matters. Represented adoptive parents or birthmothers in over 300 adoption matters of various types.

  • Successfully defended a couple in court after a birthmother changed her mind. The birth mother sued the couple to get the child returned to her months after she signed a relinquishment of her parental rights and placed the baby for adoption with the couple. Following a hearing with testimony from witnesses from the adoption agency, adoptive parents, and notary public, the judge ruled that the birthmother’s relinquishment was given freely and voluntarily and the couple’s adoption of the child was finalized.

  • Represented couples in private adoptions involving babies born in other states. Private interstate adoptions require focused and detailed attention to ensure the delivery, placement, and interstate compact regulations are all accomplished quickly and correctly so the couple can return to their homes with their new child as soon as possible.

  • Assisted many birthmothers in appearing before a judge to offer their relinquishment of parental rights. These cases involved Native American ancestry in one of the biological parents. Federal law requires birthparents with Native American ancestry to follow a specific statutory process for placing babies for adoption and relinquishing their parental rights.

Other Areas of Practice

  • Drug and Medical Device Defense

  • Family Law

  • Healthcare

  • Personal Injury Defense

  • Product Liability Defense

Bar & Court Admissions

  • Utah State Bar

  • U.S. District Court, District of Utah


  • J.D., University of Utah,

  • S.J. Quinney College of Law, 2003

  • B.A., University of Utah, Political Science – Middle East Studies, 1997




Outside of the office, Derek enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, and friends. He also enjoys reading, cycling, traveling, skiing and BYU football.

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