Derek joined Zeff Law Firm in 2021 after working as a Law Clerk for the Honorable Arnold L. Natali, judge on the New Jersey Appellate Division. He graduated Order of the Coif from Rutgers Law School (Camden) in 2020 as 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, Vice President of Alianza, Treasurer of the Family Law Society, a Social Justice Scholar. a member of the Minority Student Program, a student representative of the Dean’s Diversity & Inclusion Working Group, a Legal Writing Fellow, and a Legal Skills Study Group Teaching Fellow. He was also the Northeast Representative of the National Advisory Committee for Equal Justice Works, a Fellow with the Eagleton Institute of Politics and Commissioner to the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development, supervised practitioner with the Rutgers Law School Domestic Violence Clinic, law clerk to the Office of the Los Angeles County Public Defender, law clerk to the Honorable Michael A. Shipp (District of New Jersey), and law clerk to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)’s national LGBT & HIV Project. By the time they graduated, Derek performed 100 hours of pro bono legal services for members of the wider community.
Prior to law school, Derek 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 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.