Deborah Marcuse

Deborah  Marcuse Photo
Deborah Marcuse Of Counsel

Deborah K. Marcuse specializes in employment, civil rights, and complex legal cases, trials, and appeals. She graduated cum laude from Yale College in 1997, received her Ph.D. in Religion from Duke University in 2005, and obtained her law degree from Yale Law School in 2008, where she was awarded the Francis Wayland Prize for outstanding case preparation & presentation as a member of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization. Deborah practiced for 10 years with a leading plaintiff-side employment law and civil rights firm in New York and Baltimore, serving as both office and firm-wide Managing Partner. Since 2017, Deborah has been Co-Chair of the National Employment Lawyers Association Class & Collective Action Practice Group.

Deborah’s primary goal as a lawyer is to collaborate (where possible) to help employers make their workplaces as hospitable to human life as they should be. When powerful institutions and individuals fail to live up to this standard or reject it outright, Deborah works with her clients to hold them accountable. She particularly enjoys representing attorneys.

Clients have appreciated Deborah’s combination of relentlessness and compassion in advocacy. A maritime attorney in San Francisco commented, “Deborah’s confidence that my firm’s actions were not only wrong, but discriminatory, helped me recover my lost sense of self. She was a fierce advocate and allowed me to see that so much of what I endured was wrong. Her support, her immediate understanding of the facts, and her masterful handling of the case left me in awe. I cannot imagine better representation.” A former partner at an Am-Law 100 firm recounted, “After suffering years of gender discrimination, enduring a hostile work environment and arguing for equal pay, my law firm attempted to turn the tables on me, even filing suit against me to silence me, when they realized that I was pursuing legal action against them. I was devastated after decades of excellent performance and loyalty to the firm, and oh so very vulnerable and feeling all alone. Words will never fully capture how grateful I am to Deborah Marcuse, who saw the injustice and unfairness and recognized the extreme impact it was having on me and my young family, for taking on my complicated case at a time when I know that she was beyond busy and for turning the tables back on the bad actors.”

Deborah has obtained more than $50 million for her clients through negotiation and litigation. Though she loves to go to trial, she recognizes that highly public litigation and trial present significant challenges and distractions to ordinary workers, as well as the companies and organizations that employ them. Wherever possible, Deborah encourages her clients to resolve their legal claims through confidential negotiations, mediation, and settlement. Deborah has also successfully led individual and class cases to excellent results in those instances where parties have been unable to resolve their legal disputes without litigation. Deborah is admitted to the bars of District of Columbia, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania (inactive status), and Connecticut (retired status).

Notable litigation outcomes include:

Rapuano v. Trustees of Dartmouth Coll., No. 1:18-CV-01070 (D.N.H.)

As lead class counsel, negotiated class settlement of Title IX claims on behalf of graduate and undergraduate students that included $14 million in monetary relief for the class, programmatic relief valued at an additional $1.5 million, and a commitment by Dartmouth to work in an historic partnership with the nine plaintiffs in its ongoing initiatives toward a diverse, equitable and inclusive campus culture.

Urquhart-Bradley v. Cushman & Wakefield, Inc., No. 18-CV-2213 (D.D.C.)

Defeated defendant’s motion for summary judgment on high-level executive plaintiff’s claims of race and gender discrimination; case settled for undisclosed amount.

Smith et al v. Merck & Co., Inc. et al, No. 2-2021-cv-05308 (D.N.J.)

$6.2 million settlement in class gender discrimination case on behalf of pharmaceutical sales representatives.

Barrett et al v. Forest Laboratories, Inc. et al, No. 1:2012-cv-05224 (S.D.N.Y.)

$4 million settlement in class gender discrimination case on behalf of pharmaceutical sales representatives.


  • 1997 Yale College, cum laude
  • 2005 Duke University (Ph.D., Religion)
  • 2008 Yale Law School


  • 2019-2023 Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Employment & Civil Rights Lawyers
  • 2022 Maryland Daily Record and Maryland State Bar Association Leader in Law Honoree – Leadership in Law
  • 2018-2021 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
  • 2019 Law360 Employment MVP
  • American Bar Foundation Fellow
  • 2020 Lawyer of Distinction
  • Maryland Rising Star Super Lawyer, 2018

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