Kelly Tillotson Dempsey

Kelly Tillotson Dempsey

Sole Practitioner
Charlotte, North Carolina

Founder and principal attorney, Kelly Dempsey is recognized both domestically and internationally for her commitment to defending the interests of vulnerable children in the U.S. and around the world. Kelly has used her personal and professional experience to promote positive change in the laws that govern child welfare, and helped countless families come together. Her work was featured in the award-winning 2013 documentary Stuck, which follows the lives of four children from three different countries as they complete their individual journeys from orphanages in their home countries to their adoptive families in the United States. She has an impressive and varied background including working as an inhouse attorney for a large international corporation and a litigator at a large full-service law firm. Kelly has testified before Congress, tried cases to a verdict before juries, and helped hundreds of clients around the world with their immigration and adoption needs. She is the proud mother to four children, one of whom was adopted from Vietnam and another adopted domestically. She treats every case as if it were her own and is a committed and zealous advocate for her clients.

Areas of Practice

  • 80% Adoption (international and domestic)
  • 10% Immigration (family based)
  • 10% Assisted Reproductive Technology Law

Litigation Percentage

  • 10% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Bar Admissions

  • North Carolina, 2005


  • North Carolina Central University School of Law, Durham, North Carolina
    • J.D. summa cum laude - 2005
    • Honors: Salutatorian
    • Law Journal: NCCU Law Journal, Managing Editor, 2004 - 2005


  • Lawyering Process, Charlotte School of Law, 2015 - Present
  • International Adoption Law and Politics, Charlotte School of Law, 2015 - Present
  • Legal Reasoning and Analysis, NCCU School of Law, 2013 - 2014
  • Legal Aspects of Adoption, Children's House International
  • Immigration Issues in Adoption of Foreign Born Children, AAAA
  • ABA: Adopting a Child Primer, ABA
  • Adoption Law, NBI

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • North Carolina State Bar, 2005 - Present
  • American Immigration Lawyers Association, 2015 - Present
  • Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys, Fellow, 2014 - Present
  • Mecklenburg County Bar Association, 2013 - Present

Past Employment Positions

  • Smith Moore Leatherwood, LLP, Associate, 2007 - 2011
  • Lenovo, Attorney, 2006 - 2007
  • Honorable William A. Webb, Eastern District of North Carolina , Law Clerk, 2005 - 2006
  • Judicial District 15-B, North Carolina , Magistrate, 2001 - 2002


  • English