Derek Mergele-Rust Photo

Derek Mergele-Rust

Founding Partner
  • Profile
  • Credentials
  • Associations
  • Notable Work

Derek Mergele-Rust is a Founding Partner at DebnamRust. He practices estate planning and probate, child welfare/juvenile, and corporate formation law.

Derek’s corporate law practice is built around his experiences in his first career in high tech corporate America and two decades of serving on numerous non-profit boards. His knowledge provides a foundation that allows Derek to help his clients navigate the legal maze of bylaws, board meetings, and corporate formations.

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 every-day person and how estate planning can significantly increase or decrease the cost of probate.

Derek’s child welfare/juvenile law practice is built around his representation of children and parents in cases where he is appointed by Dallas County.

After living in Austin, Texas, for 24 years, Derek now happily resides in Dallas, Texas. He is passionate about advocating for the LGBTQ+ community, active in his church community, and is adjusting—as an extrovert—to the new social distancing norms of COVID-19.

The signature of Attorney Derek Mergele-Rust


Texas Tech School of Law, J.D. (2017)

  • Estate Planning and Community Property Journal, Executive Comment Editor
  • Board of Barristers – Director of Appellate Advocacy
  • Student Bar Association, Vice President of Finance
  • Outlaw, formerly Lavender Law – President (2015-2016)
  • National Energy Law Negotiations National Finalist (2016)

Texas State University

  •  B.S. in Geography, concentration in Urban Planning, and a Bachelors of Public Administration, Summa Cum Laude (2011)

Community Outreach/Admissions

  • 2020 to Present – Dallas LGBTQ+ Bar Association - Secretary
  • 2019 to 2020 – Dallas LGBTQ+ Bar Association - VP of Membership
  • 2017 to Present – Dallas Association of Young Lawyer's - Member
  • 2017 to Present – Dallas Bar Association – Member
  • 2017 to Present – State Bar of Texas Real Estate, Probate, and Trust Section – Member
  • 2017 to Present – State Bar of Texas LGBTQ+ Law Section – Member


  • Austin Bar Foundation / Austin LGBTQ+ Bar Association, Scholarship Recipient, 2017
  • Texas Tech University, Inclusive Excellence Graduate Recognition Award, 2017
  • PSJD Pro Bono Publico Award, National Merit Distinction Honoree, 2017
  • LubbockPride, Advocate of the Year, 2017


  • 2017 Estate Planning and Community Property Journal Symposium, Publication Presentation, Lubbock, Texas
  • 2018 Big XII LGBTQ+ Summit, Bathroom Bills in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas, Lubbock, Texas
  • 2018 GALA North Texas Quarterly Quorum, Bathroom Bills in Texas, Plano, Texas
  • 2018 PFLAG Austin Panel, K-12 Policy and Legal Issues for Trans Students, Austin, Texas
  • 2019 Texas Tech School of Law, Legal Hot Topics Facing the LGBTQ+ Community, Lubbock, Texas
  • 2020 Big XII LGBTQ+ Summit, Legal LGBTQ+ Hot Topics in 2020, Lubbock, Texas
  • 2020 Corporate Presentation, Estate Planning: More Than a Will, Plano, Texas

  • Avvo Derek 5-star
    Avvo Derek 5-star
  • Avvo Derek 8.4
    Avvo Derek 8.4
  • Rising Star 2021 Jul 9, 2021
    Rising Star 2021
  • Splitting the Baby: The Implications of Classifying Pre-Embryos as Community Property in Divorce Proceedings and Its Implications on Gestational Surrogacy Agreements 8 EST. PLAN. & CMTY. PROP. L.J. 505 (July 2016). 2016
  • Rising Star 2021
  • Avvo Derek 8.4
  • Avvo Derek 5-star

The Debnamrust, p.c. difference

High-Quality Legal Counsel
  • Client-Centered

    Our lawyers are here to support you by providing you with reliable legal advice and shouldering the burden of your case.

  • Open Communication

    Even legal processes that initially appear simple can quickly become complex. We ensure that all of our clients are educated and prepared along the way.

  • Stress-Free

    We'll help you fill out and file forms for your case - streamlining the process so that you don't have to worry about getting bogged down in legal minutiae.

  • Inclusive Law Firm

    We're a client-focused firm committed to helping all of our clients seek a positive resolution in their legal disputes, no matter their situation.


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