The Law Office of Derrick J. Hensley

The Law Office of Derrick J. Hensley

Client-focused firm concentrating in Family Law, Child Welfare, and Immigration law. The firm is dedicated to giving back to the community.

Firm Overview

Durham, NC based firm dedicated to helping children and families, and focused on being accessible while maintaining the highest standards of practice.

Derrick J. Hensley is a Child Welfare Law Specialist, certified by the National Association of Counsel for Children.

Please explore the firm's website to learn more, or contact us using the information below.
Main Office
Durham Office
323 E. Chapel Hill St., Room 203
P.O. Box 380
Durham  NC  27702-0380
  • (919) 480-1999
  • (919) 636-6018


Free Initial Consultation?
I offer consultations at the reduced rate of $150, for up to an hour.
Services Offered For Fixed Fees?
I offer a variety of services at a flat fee, depending on the case. Some set options are posted on my website at
Hourly Rates
$200 for most cases; sliding scale adjustment available upon request for low-income clients.

Office Information

Office Hours
N/A — meetings by appointment only.
Office Manager
Yes, call Karen at (919) 998-6664 for administrative questions.
Emergency After Hours
Languages Spoken
Fluent Spanish Interpreter

Other Offices

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 380
Durham,  NC  27702-0380

Is your firm willing to help a client with one discrete part of a case, without taking on the whole case?


What are your policies about dividing work within the firm to make the process most cost-effective for the client?

When possible, discrete legal tasks and secretarial work are given to a law clerk, paralegal, or secretary to minimize the time expended by the attorney. Time spent by non-attorney staff is compensated at lower rates than attorney time.

How frequently does your firm use mediation, arbitration, or collaborative law to resolve cases?

I recommend at least one Alternative Dispute Resolution option to almost every client in a civil lawsuit. I am always willing to serve as a negotiator as well as a litigator. However, each case is unique, and not every case has two parties who are willing to settle.

Does your firm provide pro bono legal services or otherwise participate in your community?

Yes, giving back to the community is a major goal of the firm.

What distinguishes your law firm from others?

I am dedicated to providing the highest quality customer service and tailoring my representation to my clients' needs.

What is your firm's point of view regarding clients educating themselves on legal issues?

I consider it one of my primary callings to educate members of the public about the law, and I think it's great when my clients start out with some level of understanding of the law. I am happy to help in this process.

Is your firm willing to review documents prepared by clients?

Yes. This is a good option for computer-savvy clients with good writing skills, who just need help with legal concepts. However, it is usually wise to consult with an attorney first to get a game plan together - especially to understand deadlines, jurisdictional issues, and to ensure you're qualified for the relief you're seeking - before starting to do your own legal drafting or filling out of complex forms.

Is your firm willing to coach clients who want to represent themselves?

Yes. This has been successful and cost-effective for many clients, and constitutes a significant portion of the practice.

Derrick Hensley

Derrick practices law primarily in Durham, NC, where he has resided since 2002. He attended Duke University as an undergrad, majoring in Philosophy and History. Derrick taught ESL and worked as a window washer before deciding to attend law school. While at law school, he was on a law journal and participated in internships with local governments, performing a wide variety of legal work. In 2011 Derrick graduated as valedictorian of the Evening Program, a four-year course of study at the North Carolina Central University School of Law. Upon being licensed to practice law in North Carolina, he immediately opened his solo law practice to serve the Triangle area.

Derrick is licensed to practice in the State Courts of North Carolina, as well as the Federal Courts for the Eastern, Middle, and Western Districts of North Carolina, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and the Supreme Court of the United States.

Derrick is a Child Welfare Law Specialist, certified by the National Association of Counsel for Children.

Derrick is dedicated to fostering an open, communicative attorney-client relationship based on trust and honesty. Derrick practices in several interrelated fields, including general family law (divorce, child custody, support, adoption, etc.), child welfare proceedings ("DSS Court"), and family-based immigration. Derrick is experienced in various kinds of appeals, and is able to pursue appeals of decisions in state court as well as federal immigration matters. Derrick has represented the best interests of hundreds of children in juvenile abuse/neglect/dependency proceedings as a staff Attorney Advocate, and has handled hundreds of child support cases while representing a county child support (IV-D) agency. Derrick also has substantial experience in seeking Special Immigrant Juvenile Status for abused, neglected, and abandoned immigrant youth. Many of Derrick's immigration cases are handled as a collaboration with of counsel immigration attorney Joanna Gaughan.

Because Derrick believes that giving back to the community is his most important calling, he has volunteered his time and energy in a wide variety of ways. He spends time supporting a wide variety of Pro Bono, community service, and legal education projects. He frequently serves as a volunteer judge for Mock Trial competitions. He gives time regularly to the Lawyer on the Line project of Legal Aid of NC and the NC Bar Association, providing free advice to low income earners. He has served for years as a volunteer Guardian ad Litem for children in Juvenile Abuse/Neglect/Dependency court, and has taken on several Pro Bono appeals on behalf of children. His other significant Pro Bono activities have included taking on cases from the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, the NC Immigrant Rights Project, Justice Matters, and the Charlotte School of Law Immigration Clinic.

Because addressing your legal issues will probably not be pleasant, and indeed may be one of the most expensive and emotionally exhausting experiences of your life, Derrick is committed to running a law practice that focuses on the client's needs and making the experience the best it can be. Although the legal system may be slow, complex, and full of uncertainty, your attorney should not compound the problem by failing to explain their role or failing to keep you involved and updated on your case. Derrick believes that you have a right to know your case's status at every turn, and to speak about your case's status at least every other week, a right to make prompt appointments to discuss any issues that are important to you, the right to be informed about less costly alternatives to full legal representation, the right to work out a reasonable payment plan over time, and the right to know about your options if you are not satisfied with your attorney's services.

Family/Domestic Law
Juvenile Abuse, Neglect, and Dependency (A/N/D)
Termination of Parental Rights (TPR)

Family & Child Welfare Law Topics:
Child Custody
Child Support
Juvenile Abuse/Neglect/Dependency Law
Termination of Parental Rights (TPR)
Separation Agreements
Divorce from Bed and Board, Absolute Divorce & Annulment
Alimony & Post-Separation Support
Equitable Distribution
Name Changes

Immigration Topics:
Family-Based Visas & Adjustment of Status (Green Card)
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS)
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
Cancellation of Removal (COR - 42A or 42B)
Naturalization & Citizenship
  • Bar Number: 42898
    North Carolina , 2011
  • North Carolina Central University School of Law
    Juris Doctor , 2011
    Honors: Graduated Summa Cum Laude and Valedictorian of the Evening Program (Daniel G. Sampson Award); NCBA Law Student Pro Bono Award
    Activities: Volunteer, VITA Program (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance); Staff Member, Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Law Review
  • Duke University, Trinity College of Arts and Sciences
    B.A. , 2006
    Majored in History and Philosophy; Minored in Classical Civilizations

* Nolo has confirmed that every member attorney has a valid license and is in good standing with the state agency that licenses lawyers. Any past disbarments and suspensions (with possible exceptions for minor violations or nonpayment of dues, in our discretion) will be indicated accordingly in the badge. Member attorneys are required to notify Nolo immediately if they become the subject of any disciplinary action by any state licensing agency.