Derek Watkins joined Sachs Waldman as an attorney in 2004 after working for the firm as a law clerk. He became a shareholder in 2010 and currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors and the Secretary of the firm.
Mr. Watkins' practice is devoted to the representation of jointly trusteed (Taft-Hartley) multiemployer benefit funds in the Michigan construction industry. While a significant amount of his time is spent counseling defined benefit funds, he also works with defined contribution profit sharing funds, apprenticeship funds, supplemental unemployment benefits funds, and vacation and holiday funds in all respects from plan design and compliance, to benefit claims and other individual participant matters, to negotiating service provider contracts and reviewing governmental filings. He has successfully assisted Boards of Trustees and their service providers with preparations for DOL and IRS examinations, which have closed with favorable results, and with Voluntary Correction Procedures.
The expertise of Mr. Watkins and the other employee benefits attorneys at Sachs Waldman is recognized by other service providers to multiemployer funds. He has been consulted by other firms for his experience in governmental audits and investigations, VCP filings, the Pension Protection Act, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and related matters.
Before completing his formal education, Mr. Watkins served four years in the United States Marine Corps, where he earned the Navy Achievement Medal while deployed to Africa. Mr. Watkins then graduated from Oakland University in 2000, receiving a bachelor of science, with Departmental Honors. In 2004 he received his Juris Doctor (cum laude) from Wayne State University Law School, where he served as symposium director for the Journal of Law in Society, an officer of the Wayne State Labor Law Association and won the Ralph M. Freeman Foundation Scholarship, the Ernest and Freda Goodman Scholarship, a Haywood Burns Fellowship and two successive Equal Justice America Legal Services Fellowships.