Our Attorneys

Nicole Derden

ATTORNEY

Nicole Derden is a partner attorney at Derden Law located in Meridian, Idaho. She opened the practice in January 2009 focusing specifically on Idaho’s immigrants. Nicole was born in Oregon City, Oregon, grew up in a rural agricultural community, and graduated from Molalla High School in Molalla, Oregon, in 1997. At a young age she found an interest the Spanish language and Mexican culture, and in 2001 she graduated from Carroll College in Helena, Montana, with majors in Spanish and History and a minor in [Catholic] Theology. In 2004 she graduated from the University of Idaho College of Law where she began her immigration work at the Immigration Legal Aid Clinic. She has lived and studied in Xalapa, Veracruz, and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. Since her admission to the Idaho State Bar in 2005, she has exclusively practiced immigration law in Idaho. Her primary focus and passion is assisting undocumented immigrants in obtaining their Lawful Permanent Resident Status – primarily through the US Consulate in Ciudad Juarez and the US Citizenship and Immigration Service Boise Field Office. Nicole is active in her profession – she assisted in the formation of the Idaho Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyer Association (AILA) and has served two terms on its executive committee. She is a founding board member of www.projectlaura.org – an entity which seeks to match immigration attorneys with insolvent immigrants on the Boise deportation docket. Since 2014 Nicole has been an adjunct faculty member of the Concordia University College of Law in Boise, Idaho, and enjoys teaching her students, her clients, and fellow attorneys about the nuances of the US immigration system. In her free time Nicole is active in her parish and her children’s school. She enjoys walking/running, yoga, historical dramas, travelling and spending time her husband and their four boys

Michael Derden

ATTORNEY

James Michael Derden is a partner attorney at Derden Law located in Meridian, Idaho. Michael was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, and moved to Boise, Idaho, with his family in 1994. He attended Sacred Heart Elementary School and graduated from Bishop Kelly High School. He earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications from Boise State University in 2010 and a Juris Doctorate from the University Of Idaho College Of Law in 2015. While in law school Michael worked in the University of Idaho College Of Law’s Free Immigration Legal Aid Clinic, and he began working as a legal assistant for the Law Office of Nicole R. Derden in June 2015. In 2016 he became a member of the Minnesota State Bar. He is also a member of the American Immigration Lawyer Association, a member of the Idaho Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyer Association and practices immigration law exclusively. He has done volunteer work for Idaho Catholic Charities, National Citizenship Day and the Idaho Trial Lawyers Street Clinic. Michael has helped many people to achieve their immigration goals, whatever they may be, and he looks forward to helping many more to do the same. In his free time, Michael enjoys hunting, fishing, and spending time with his wife, his son and his family.

Michelle Williams

ASSOCIATE ATTORNEY

Michelle Williams is an associate attorney for Derden Law focusing mainly on the removal defense and asylum docket.

Prior to joining Derden Law, Michelle gained invaluable experience in immigration law as a summer intern for Andrade Legal, participated in the immigration clinic at her school, and has worked on a variety of pro bono cases for Project Laura.

During her 3L year of law school, Michelle was chosen to be a member of Concordia Law’s inaugural moot court team where she gained experience in appellate advocacy and represented her school at the ABA National Moot Court Competition.

The Team

Our
Amazing
Staff

Joan: Legal Assistant

Joan De la Cruz has been employed at Derden Law since January 2012. She recently moved back to the States after spending 3 years working abroad in a campus ministry in Salamanca, Spain. During her time abroad she met her husband, Hernán, and together they experienced the U.S. immigration system first-hand as they applied for Hernán to become a legal permanent resident.

Joan graduated with honors from Linfield College in 2008 with a B.A. in Modern Languages, Spanish Concentration and a minor in History. Prior to transitioning to Spain, Joan worked as a legal assistant for Marandas Chi & Okamura in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Her case load there included immigration, family, business and tax law. Joan is fluent in Spanish and has a passion for working with people from diverse cultural backgrounds. In her free time outside of the office she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and being active.

Ana Ruiz: Legal Assistant

Ana has been working for Derden Law since February 2013. She was born in Aguascalientes Mexico, and moved to the United States when she was 9 years old. She grew up in Picabo, Idaho, and graduated from Carey High School in 2005. That same year she moved to Boise, Idaho, to attend Boise State University where she obtained a degree in Spanish. Ana enjoys working with people, especially being able to use her Spanish with clients. In her free time outside of the office, she likes to spend time with her family, reading but most of all she loves to travel and experience and discover new cultures.

Janely Duarte: Legal Assistant

Janely Duarte started working at Derden Law in April of 2015. She was born in Boise, Idaho and grew up in the small town of Glenns Ferry, also in Idaho. She graduated with honors and an Associate of Arts from the College of Southern Idaho in 2012 and from Boise State University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science, both degrees in Criminal Justice. In the near future, Janely plans to attend law school. Janely is fluent in both Spanish and English and in her free time she enjoys spending time with her friends and family, reading, photography, and dancing.

Marta Martinez: Legal Assistant

Martha has been working for Derden Law since September 2014. She was born in Michoacán, Mexico and moved to the United States when she was 10 years old. She graduated from the College of Southern Idaho with an Associate’s in General Business in May 2014. She then moved to Boise, Idaho in the summer of 2014 to continue her studies at Boise State University where she is planning to obtain her B.B.A. in Human Resource Management. Martha is fluent in Spanish and English. In her free time Martha enjoys spending time with her family and friends, baking, and enjoying the outdoors.

 

Bertha Calderon: Legal Assistant

Bertha Calderon has been with Derden Law since July 2018. She recently moved from Oregon where she was born and raised. Her passion in life has always been to help others. She has a diverse background in working with people, being involved in the community, and previously was employed with Malheur County Court. When not at Derden Law she loves spending time with her husband, three children, her mother and four sisters.

Sydney Benfer: Legal Assistant
Sydney Benfer was born in Boise, Idaho, and grew up in San Francisco, California, and Brooklyn, New York. The diversity that she was exposed to throughout her childhood sparked her interest in languages, culture and social advocacy. By the time she was a teenager she had become proficient in Spanish. In 2010, she graduated from Kingsborough Community College with an Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education. Shortly thereafter, she moved to Boise to be closer to family and to continue her
education. While completing her undergraduate studies, Sydney participated in a study abroad program in Madrid, Spain, where she took classes relating to Spanish Literature and Art History. During that time she was also able to visit her mother who went through her own immigration process to live and work in Berlin, Germany. In December of 2017, Sydney graduated at the top of her class with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Spanish Language and Literature from Boise State University. Two months later she began her
work as a legal assistant at Derden Law. Sydney has extensive customer service experience, and has also worked in the fields of education and translation. She is devoted to social and economic justice, and providing clients with access to resources in the community to enhance the quality of their lives. When she isn’t working, she can be found reading, cooking and traveling.

Janet Ruiz: Legal Assistant
Janet Ruiz joined Derden Law in October 2018. She was born in Zamora, Michoacán, Mexico and moved to California as an infant and as a second-generation immigrant to the United States. Janet decided early on that she wanted to explore the world and immerse herself into many different cultures and so she became a flight attendant. Janet has traveled the world and is familiar with international travel requirements. Janet moved from California to Idaho in 2018 and loved it almost immediately. Janet has always had a passion for helping others as she witnessed firsthand the struggles of her parents trying to succeed in America. Janet has experience helping people across multiple fields of work. When not at Derden Law you can find her volunteering at the animal humane society , hiking, cooking, or probably on a plane headed somewhere exciting.