It is plain that in such a situation, the client code could *not* be considered a derived work: it might not have changed while the GPL serverside code was written. (Also, GPL NFS servers and non-GPL clients talk to each other every day without legal issue.)
Since the server and client code are not even necessarily running on the same machine, you probably couldn't use the reasoning that the combinaton of both linked together is a derived work of the GPLed part, because there *is* no such version.
(but IANAL and even if I were an L I'd be a UK L in any case. So my blatherings are doubly irrelevant.)