Team Bios

Kelly Tillotson Dempsey

Kelly Tillotson Dempsey

Founder, Managing Partner
(919) 444-9034


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.

Kelly Dempsey also serves as the Deputy Director of Adoption and Chair of the International Adoption Committee for the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys (AAAA).


North Carolina Central University School of Law, Durham, North Carolina

  • Juris Doctorate - 2005
  • Honors: summa cum laude
  • Honors: Salutatorian
Professional Associations
  • North Carolina State Bar, 2005 to Present
  • American Bar Association, 2005 to Present
  • Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys, Deputy Director of Adoption and Fellow
  • Harvard Law Child Advocacy Program, Member
  • National Council for Adoption, Attorney Member
  • Save Adoptions National Advocacy Group, Advisor/Member
  • American Immigration Lawyers Association, Attorney Member, 2015 to Present
Classes, Presentations, and Publications
  • Adjunct Professor, Legal Writing Course, Charlotte School of Law, 2015
  • Adjunct Professor, International Adoption Law and Policy, Charlotte School of Law, 2015
  • Adjunct Professor, Legal Writing Course, North Carolina University School of Law, 2013
  • Speaker, "Secondary Trauma in Family Formation Legal Practice", American Academy of Adoption Attorneys Mid-Year Conference, September 2023
  • Speaker, "Navigating Legal Issues for the Foreign-Born Child", National Council for Adoption Annual Conference, April 2022
  • Speaker, "Hot Topics in International Adoption and Immigration", American Academy of Adoption Attorneys Annual Conference, April 2022
  • Panelist, "Intercountry Adoption Dialogue Session", Domestic Policy Council, May 2019
  • Speaker, "Immigration Issues in Adoption of Foreign-Born Children", American Academy of Adoption Attorneys Annual Conference, May 2018
  • Panelist, "Building Your Adoption Disruption Toolbox", American Academy of Adoption Attorneys Annual Conference, May 2018
  • Speaker, "Everything You Need to Know About Adoptions", American Bar Association, December 2016
  • Speaker, "Adoptions", National Business Institute CLE, December 2015
  • Witness, "The Growing Crisis of Africa's Orphans", House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa and Human Rights, July 2014
  • Speaker, "Stuck" - An International Adoption Documentary Film, April to May 2013
  • Author, "Fixing the International Adoption Mess", Global Post, May 2012
  • Speaker, "State of Adoptions", Center for Adoption Policy 10th Annual Conference, March 2011
  • Speaker, "Liens & Lawsuits", Women In Law for Women in Business (WIL/WIB), October 2009
  • Speaker, "The State of International Adoption in Vietnam", June 2008
  • Speaker, "Winning at Arbitration", North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers, February 2008
  • Co-Author, "Search Warrant Response", Notes Bearing Interest (NCBA Justice Newsletter), February 2008
  • The True Bill (NCBA Criminal Justice Newsletter), September 2007
Past Positions
  • Smith Moore Leatherwood, LLP, Associate Attorney, 2007 to 2011
  • Lenovo, Staff Attorney, 2006 to 2007
  • Magistrate Judge William A. Webb, Eastern District of North Carolina, Law Clerk, 2005 to 2006
  • Judicial District 15-B, North Carolina, Magistrate, 2001 to 2002

Here’s What We Do

Our services are tailored to provide guidance and individualized attention to our prospective, intended, or hopeful parents. From international to domestic adoption, we’re experienced and knowledgeable about this process, and most importantly, we ground our practice in supporting you from beginning to end.

Let’s Get Started

Are you ready to grow your family?
We’re ready to help.