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Donna Ray Berkelhammer, Esq.

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The very thought of talking to a lawyer makes you nervous, right? What if I did it all wrong?  What is it going to cost?


You’ve got a small business – you’re not running some big corporation. You have finite resources and you’re uncertain of what your next legal steps are. The last thing you need is a law practice that doesn’t get where you’re coming from. 


I’m Donna Ray Berkelhammer. I’m a lawyer and I’m also a small business owner. Like you, I get what that means - all the hats we have to wear and the pressures that come along with running a small business. I understand how complex the legal world can seem and yet how often you need to face it as an entrepreneur.


To help, I’ve built my practice on a simple and important mission: to support, direct, and protect you. Whether it’s entity formation, contracts, trademarking or our other services, I’ll do just that. I’m here to support you, to provide a clear understanding of your legal situation, to collaborate with you on which direction to take, and to be a reliable, professional member of your team.  I am ready to protect you and your business.


I’ve spent my entire career learning how to make the law easier to understand and more accessible. I attended Northwestern University’s journalism school and later worked as a reporter covering stories of businesses and court cases. I brought the law to everyday people. At law school at George Washington University, I continued this mission as a member of the law review and a news editor for the student-run paper, The Advocate.


I spent the next two decades working for traditional legal practices. I saw firsthand why these firms can be so intimidating and unhelpful to small business owners. There, you often find large fees with little sense of the total cost to you, focus on big players, lack of communication, inability to listen to your needs and reluctance to work with you personally on a game plan.


That’s why I founded Legal Direction® in 2015 here in the North Carolina Triangle -- because you deserve a lawyer who cares about your needs and is invested in walking that path with you. We take the head-spinning world of law and help you understand what’s most relevant for you. We make time for you when need arises.  We work on a project basis wherever possible instead of by the hour, which gives us flexibility with pricing and payment.  In short, we do everything we can to take care of the legal side of your business. Because when you can trust that it’s handled, you can get back to all the other hats you have to wear.

And as one business owner to another -  I’ve got to tell you - I’m grateful to be doing what I always set out to do, but especially now that I can be a helpful part of your team.

If you’re looking for support, direction, and protection of everything you’re working so hard to build, let’s sit down. We’ll come up with your next steps together.




Phone: 919.980.5520

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B.S., Northwestern University
J.D., with honors, The George Washington University School of Law



North Carolina
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
U. S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina



Durham County Bar Association
North Carolina Bar Association
NC LEAP Steering Committee
Veterans Entering Transition Advisory Council
Legal Mentor at Durham Technical Community College Small Business Center

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