Derek Mergele-Rust is a Founding Partner at DebnamRust, P.C. and is an Adjunct Professor of Law at the Texas Tech School of Law. He practices child welfare, juvenile defense, estate planning, and probate law.
Derek’s child welfare practice is built around protecting the constitutional rights of parents and children in Child Protective Services (CPS) cases. He is appointed to represent parents or children in Dallas County, and he has cases across North Texas. Derek has taken up the role of educating CPS, District Attorneys Offices, other lawyers, and judges on issues facing LGBTQ+ parents or children in CPS cases. Derek is also appointed by Dallas County to represent minors in juvenile proceedings, helping parents and minors navigate the quasi-criminal world that is juvenile law.
Derek’s estate planning and probate practice grew out of his law school years, where he served on, and is published in, the Estate Planning and Community Property Law Journal. He currently gives presentations and lectures on how estate planning affects the everyday person and how estate planning can significantly increase or decrease the cost of probate.
Derek has lived in Dallas, Texas for about four years. He is passionate about advocating for the LGBTQ+ community, active in leadership of the Dallas Bar Association, and is happy, as an extrovert, to have survived the era of COVID-19. Derek is excited to be teaching at the Texas Tech School of Law educating students concerning legal topics related to gender and sexual orientation.