Derek Early

Paralegal: Daniella M. Fiorentini (

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Derek Early’s practice is focused on business planning, succession planning, corporate governance, contracts, commercial real estate, and mergers and acquisitions.  He frequently collaborates with the firm’s tax and estate planning attorneys and clients’ advisors to execute complex transactions and engage in strategic planning that result in significant benefits for clients. 

Derek performs general counsel work for numerous privately held companies.  These companies range in size from single owner/operator businesses to sophisticated enterprises with thousands of employees, and Derek regularly assists these clients with entity selection, designing and refining corporate governance structures, contract review and preparation, buy-sell agreements, succession planning, risk management, and compliance.  He also represents buyers and sellers in mergers and acquisitions, where the firm places particular emphasis on tax planning and structuring.    

Derek’s extensive commercial real estate experience primarily relates to retail shopping centers.  He has represented both landlords and tenants in numerous lease negotiations, and frequently assists clients with sales transactions and financings. 

Before joining Brown & Streza LLP, Derek handled both litigation and transactional matters in the areas of corporate law, commercial law, real estate law, and employment law.  Although his practice is now devoted solely to transactional matters, he previously litigated a number of business disputes and employment issues, including wage and hour class actions, providing him with an understanding of clients’ risks and concerns relating to the litigation process.

During law school, Derek was a Managing Editor for the Indiana Law Journal and President of the Sports & Entertainment Law Society.  He also assisted non-profit organizations through the school’s Non-Profit Legal Clinic and researched and wrote extensively on NCAA compliance issues for the Indiana University Athletics Department.

In 2000, Derek won an Ivy League Championship as a member of the University of Pennsylvania’s football team. 

  • Business Planning
  • Business Succession Planning
  • Real Estate
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Brown & Streza LLP, 2013-Present
  • Varner & Brandt LLP, 2010-2013
  • Fernandez & Lauby LLP, 2008-2010
  • Juris Doctor, cum laude, Indiana University Maurer School of Law, 2005-2008
  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Pennsylvania – 1999-2003
  •  2018 "Southern California SuperLawyers - Rising Star"
    • Published by Los Angeles magazine and The Journal for Law & Politics. Only 2.5% of lawyers under the age of 40 and/or in their first 10 years of practice in Los Angeles and Orange Counties receive this honor.
  • Forbes, October 16, 2018
    • Using An Intentional Defective Irrevocable Trust (IDIT) To Gift Your Family Business
    • Primary source for technical information related to IDIT and briefly quoted
  • Prudential Irvine Office, Irvine, California, June 19, 2018
    • Avoiding Business Planning Mistakes Using Life and Disability Insurance and Other Techniques
  • 2018 Agents Helping Agents (AHA) Conference, Hotel Irvine, Irvine, California, March 30, 2018
    • Using Life and Disability Insurance for Business Planning
  • Exit Planning Institute SoCal Chapter Meeting, The Center Club Costa Mesa, June 1, 2017
    • Family Business Divorce
  • CalCPA Study Group Breakfast, Marie Calender's, Anaheim, California, September 22, 2016
    • Buy-Sell Agreements
  • Morgan Stanley Seminar, The Canaletto Ristorante, Newport Beach, California, June 28, 2016
    • Avoid the 6 Mistakes that Business Owners Make
  • State Bar of California - Member
  • American Bar Association - Member