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Labor and employment Star

Top 20 Labor & Employment Litigator

Practice area:

Labor and employment

Deborah K. Marcuse is Managing Partner of Sanford Heisler Sharp’s Baltimore office and Co-Chair of the firm’s Title VII Practice. She represents employees in individual and class actions addressing a range of employment disputes, including suits alleging discrimination, unlawful termination, unlawful denial of promotions, unequal pay, wage and hour violations, and hostile work environments related to race, gender, age, national origin, sexual orientation, pregnancy, religion, and disability. 

Deborah’s extensive and high-profile litigation on behalf of BigLaw partners, associate attorneys, and staff, commercial real estate executives, and other professionals facing unlawful discrimination and retaliation only tells part of the story. Behind the headlines, she has worked with dozens of clients, many of them lawyers, to amicably resolve their claims against their employers through confidential settlement. A ferocious trial lawyer at every stage of her cases, including pre-suit, Deborah also recognizes that long running and highly public litigation can be a blunt instrument, a force for good that nevertheless may have significant (and well more than financial) costs for individuals and institutions alike. 

In the academic sector, as lead class counsel in Rapuano et al v. Dartmouth, in 2020, Deborah secured an historic class settlement on behalf of current and former graduate students and other student employees alleging a gender-based hostile environment at the Ivy League College. A $14 million monetary settlement was accompanied by programmatic relief valued at more than $1million, along with 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. 

A former academic herself, with a doctorate in the study of religion, Deborah remains a dedicated teacher. In 2021 she was a panelist and co-chair of the planning committee for the annual convention of the National Employment Lawyers’ Association (NELA), where she is also a Co-Chair of the Class and Collective Actions Practice Group and a member of the Trial Boot Camp faculty (2021). She is regularly asked to speak on matters relevant to her practice areas, ranging from how to recognize and address bias in the workplace (2021) to litigating equal pay cases (2018). 

Updated Sep 2021