Celebrating 10 Years of Doing What We Love, with Clients We Care About
Our mission has always been to give our clients what they want: high-caliber, reasonably priced, and diverse legal representation. Caring about our clients, understanding their values, embracing opportunities, and demonstrating loyalty are key attributes of our mission.
Lincoln Derr is a women-owned and managed law ﬁrm based in Charlotte, North Carolina.
We provide counsel and litigation services to some of the largest health care companies, municipalities and Fortune 500 corporations throughout the Southeast. We have accumulated 10 years of outstanding results for our clients by working harder, preparing better, and being smarter than the other side.
“What Brought Us Together Is What Sets Us Apart”—Tricia Derr
The Story of Lincoln Derr:
How one bold move transformed Charlotte’s legal landscape
Originally published in the Charlotte Business Journal, January 2019
What made you decide to launch your ﬁrm 10 years ago?
Female trial lawyers are scarce. Female- and minority-owned litigation ﬁrms are even harder to ﬁnd. In that scarcity, Sara Lincoln and Tricia Derr visualized a movement, along with an entrepreneurial opportunity. So they left good jobs, good people and a secure future in the midst of a severe economic downturn to launch Lincoln Derr. Colleagues questioned their decision, and their sanity. But our founders were steadfast. Focusing on efﬁciency, employee satisfaction and client satisfaction, they believed they could build a better law ﬁrm. And they did. Over the past decade, our ﬁrm has grown from two attorneys to 10. We provide outstanding service. We don’t waste our clients’ money. And we love what we do.
What’s the state of diversity in law now, 10 years later?
There is so much work to be done. Women make up less than 35 percent of attorneys at law ﬁrms, yet women now outnumber men in law schools across the country. The percentage of women with equity partnerships is even lower, at about 20 percent. Why does that matter? Diversity of talent brings diversity of thought and creates the best possible solutions, no matter what your discipline. Clients are seeing great results coming from our diverse teams and coming to realize diversity is good for business. Period.
What challenges have you faced over the years?
Leadership inside the courtroom is quite different from leadership in a business enterprise. We had to learn a lot about managing our business and the people in it. The process hasn’t always been easy, but the rewards have been profound. We’re building a legacy — a ﬁrm that will continue to thrive long after we’re gone and a team of lawyers who will infuse the Charlotte legal community with quality and diversity for years to come.
What has Lincoln Derr learned over the past decade?
Results matter. Our successes are directly tied to staying client-centric, developing our team and staying close to our community. We have learned that these things yield results we can be proud of. And they matter.
What is unique about the Lincoln Derr culture?
It has taken some time and a lot of investment, but the culture at the ﬁrm today is stronger than it has ever been. The ﬁrm added a yoga room, yoga classes, individualized technology budgets and full health insurance coverage for all team members because we came to realize one vital point: When your team knows the ﬁrm cares about them, values their growth, and supports their pursuit of individual passions, that team gets even stronger.
Any secrets to success?
Guts, grit and stamina. You have to be 100 percent committed to success to achieve it. We are constantly reminding ourselves and our team to never get greedy, to treat our clients the way we want to be treated and to love what we do, every single day.
What’s next for Lincoln Derr?
We will continue to grow in very strategic ways. We never want growth to blur our mission, but we do want to meet the demand that has kept us going since day one. We plan to grow our Labor and Employment practice area while intentionally preserving our level of service and internal culture. And we will continue to encourage team members to develop their own personal brands. Clients hire lawyers, not law ﬁrms, and we are committed to making our people the very best they can be.
Meet the Lincoln Derr team that has grown over the last decade to meet the needs of our clients.
Heather Fuller, a seasoned litigator with extensive federal experience, has handled cases in courts across the United States. Her innovative approach to each case, coupled with her sound judgment and ability to solve complex problems, makes her a strong advocate for her client.