FIRM MANAGING PARTNER AND BALTIMORE MANAGING PARTNER
Deborah K. Marcuse is Firm Managing Partner and Baltimore Office Managing Partner at Sanford Heisler Sharp.
In 2022 Deborah received the Leadership in Law Award from the Maryland Daily Record and the Maryland State Bar Association. Deborah has also been recognized in the legal community by Benchmark Litigation with inclusion on its Inaugural Top 20 Labor and Employment Litigators List (2021), by the National Law Journal as one of the Elite Women of the Plaintiff’s Bar (2021) and a Plaintiffs’ Lawyer Trailblazer (2021), and by Law360 as an Employment MVP (2019). Deborah also received a Women Worth Watching in Leadership Award from Profiles in Diversity Journal (2021) and has been recognized as a Benchmark Litigation Labor & Employment Star since 2018. Deborah leads the Sanford Heisler Sharp team recognized by the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition with its 2020 Impacting Justice Award.
At Sanford Heisler Sharp, Deborah’s practice has focused on the Discrimination and Harassment, Criminal/Sexual Violence and Public Interest practice areas, representing both individuals and classes. Her representations have included:
Litigating as lead counsel a landmark Title IX class action lawsuit against Dartmouth College brought on behalf of current and former female graduate students and undergraduates in Dartmouth’s Department of Psychology and Brain Sciences, culminating in a $14 million Court-approved monetary settlement that also included programmatic relief valued at an additional $1.5 million.
Litigating as lead counsel a case on behalf of the former head of Valuation & Advisory for global commercial real estate behemoth Cushman & Wakefield, defeating Defendants’ motion for summary judgment on the plaintiff’s race and gender discrimination claims and resolving the matter through confidential settlement.
Litigating as co-lead counsel high profile class and individual cases against global law firms, including Morrison & Foerster.
Serving as lead counsel for Sanford Heisler Sharp and litigating in partnership with attorneys at the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, the ACLU of Maryland, and the Capitol Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition to secure a preliminary injunction for a proposed class challenging unconstitutional bond hearing policies and practices of the Baltimore Immigration Court.
Litigating as co-lead class counsel nationwide gender discrimination class action lawsuits against Merck & Co., Inc. and Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc. on behalf of female pharmaceutical sales representatives, culminating in over $10 million in Court-approved settlements.
Litigating as lead counsel an age discrimination, gender discrimination, and retaliation case on behalf of the former Head of Americas Research at Cushman & Wakefield.
Negotiating tens of millions of dollars in pre-suit settlements for individuals with gender, race, and retaliation claims against their former employers within various industries, including finance, legal, medical, pharmaceutical and tech.
Deborah received her law degree from Yale Law School, her doctorate in Religion from Duke University, and her Bachelor of Arts cum laude from Yale College. During law school, Deborah was awarded the Frances Wayland Prize for her work with the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School, where she represented incarcerated individuals and persons in immigration detention.
A member of the Connecticut (retired status), District of Columbia, Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania (inactive status) bars, Deborah has co-authored Supreme Court amicus briefs on behalf of women’s rights organizations and individuals in Mach Mining v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and on behalf of LGBT student organizations at undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools in Obergefell v. Hodges and presented at conferences on topics that include intersectionality, equal pay litigation, Title IX, deposition skills, and recognizing and eliminating bias in the workplace. Deborah is actively involved in the National Employment Lawyers’ Association, where she serves as Co-Chair of the Class and Collective Action Practice Group and Trial Boot Camp Faculty.
Prior to joining Sanford Heisler Sharp, Deborah was the founding head of the City of New Haven’s Reentry Initiative as an Arthur Liman Public Interest Fellow.
When Deborah is not lawyering, she enjoys running, sleeping, and causing good trouble, often accompanied by her children, in her beloved Baltimore City.
J.D., Yale Law School
Ph.D., Duke University (Religion)
B.A., Yale College, cum laude with Distinction in History
Student Director, Prison Legal Services Clinic – Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization, Yale Law School
Complex Federal Litigation Clinic – Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization, Yale Law School
Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic – Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization, Yale Law School
District of Columbia, 2010
New York, 2010
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut
Memberships & Activities
American Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Section
National Employment Lawyers’ Association (Co-Chair, Class Action Practice Group)
Fellow of the American Bar Association
2022 Maryland Daily Record and Maryland State Bar Association Leader in Law Honoree – Leadership in Law
2021 Benchmark Litigation Labor & Employment Star – Northeast in the practice area of Labor & Employment
2021 Benchmark Inaugural Top 20 Labor and Employment Litigators List
2021 National Law Journal Plaintiffs’ Lawyer Trailblazers
National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Civil Plaintiff Trial Lawyers in Maryland
Profiles in Diversity Journal 2021 Women Worth Watching in Leadership Award
2021 Elite Trial Lawyers’ Elite Women of the Plaintiffs Bar
2020 Benchmark Litigation Labor & Employment Star – Northeast in the practice area of Labor & Employment
2019 Law360 Employment MVP
2019-22 Lawdragon 500 Plaintiff Employment Lawyer
2019 Benchmark Litigation Labor & Employment Star – Northeast in the practice area of Labor & Employment
2018 Benchmark Litigation Labor & Employment Star – Northeast in the practice area of Labor & Employment
American Bar Foundation Fellow
2020 Lawyer of Distinction
Maryland Rising Star Super Lawyer, 2018