Advocating for clients in employment discrimination and civil rights cases

Derek joined Zeff Law Firm in 2021 after clerking for the Honorable Arnold L. Natali, judge on the New Jersey Appellate Division. As attorney at Zeff Law Firm, he has extensive experience navigating New Jersey and Pennsylvania courts to advocate on his client’s behalf, particularly on issues related to employment discrimination and civil rights. They have authored numerous appellate briefs on novel areas of the law that have gone before the Third Circuit and the New Jersey Supreme Court.

Additionally, in the evenings, Derek teaches the rising generation of lawyers at Rutgers Law School where he created the first educational program on one of the strongest anti-discrimination laws in the country, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. As a union member, they joined the Executive Board of the Part-Time Lecturers-American Association of University Professors-American Federation ofTeachers local bargaining unit at Rutgers University. He was proud to have exercised his labor rights when he joined Rutgers professors on strike in April 2023.

Experienced Employment Lawyers

Graduating Order of the Coif from Rutgers Law School (Camden) in 2020, Derek was an active member of the student body. During their years as a law student, Derek served as the Managing Editor of Rutgers Law Review, competitor in the moot court appellate advocacy competition, President of OUTLaws, recognized as a Social Justice Scholar and Minority Student Program graduate, among many other activities. He was also a Fellow with the Eagleton Institute of Politics working closely with New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo on priority enforcement policies. Other legal experiences led them through the Rutgers Law School Domestic Violence Clinic, the Office of the Los Angeles County Public Defender, Chambers for the Honorable Michael A. Shipp (District of New Jersey), and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)’s national LGBT& HIV Project.

Since his early formative years, Derek has worked tirelessly as a community organizer and human rights advocate. While a student at Hawthorne High School, they formed the Gay-Straight Alliance (despite the public school administration’s best efforts to prevent its formation) and was a staff writer with Sex, Etc., the nation’s premier sexual health magazine for teenagers. As an undergraduate student, he was a Sexual & Gender Minorities Project Leader and Associate with the Center for the Study of Genocide & Human Rights, the UNESCO Chair in Genocide Prevention. In 2013, they co-founded the New Jersey Red Umbrella Alliance—New Jersey’s only sex worker rights organization. Through this work Derek traveled to Geneva, Switzerland where he testified before the United Nations Human Rights Council about the human rights violations that sex workers in the United States endure. They also joined the Board of Directors for the Sex Workers Outreach Project, USA, eventually becoming the organization’s Chapter Coordinator, and was a policy consultant with Best Practices Policy Project. Derek later joined the international labor union UNITE HERE! as a boycott organizer where they supported workers during the 2016 Trump Taj Mahal Casino strike in Atlantic City and coordinated “get out the vote” efforts in the Reno, Nevada region during the 2016 federal election.

Derek is a proud native resident of New Jersey, having lived in Passaic, Middlesex, Atlantic, Camden, and Monmouth counties at various points in his life, and firmly believes in a Central Jersey. When they’re not fighting for justice, you can find Derek exploring the many landscapes and cultures around this planet.


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