Deborah Israel's clients buy confidence. Because of her more than 25 years of litigation experience representing industry leaders in future-defining matters, Debbie has earned the trust of corporate leadership across the country, making her a sought-after adviser to decision-makers at the highest levels. She has extensive experience as lead trial counsel in the real estate, financial services, and manufacturing sectors.

She served as the firm's Chief Operating Partner and on the Firm Executive Committee and has dealt with many of the same budgeting, contracting, and regulatory issues as her corporate clients, all of which allow her to quickly grasp client problems and to form effective and efficient strategies for resolving them. 

Deborah is regularly recognized as a leader in her profession, earning her numerous accolades, including being named a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America – Trial Lawyer Honor Society, a designation given to less than one percent of all attorneys. Rated by her peers at the highest level of practice, she has received the Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rating. Deborah is also recognized in Best Lawyers of America as one of the top lawyers in the fields of Commercial Litigation, Real Estate Litigation, Land Use, and Zoning. Her unflinching drive keeps her clients a step ahead, allowing them to stay focused on what matters.

Professional Activities

  • Voting Delegate, District of Columbia Judicial Conference
  • District of Columbia Bar Lawyers Assistance Committee, 2012-2018
  • President, Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia, 2001-2002
  • President, Women’s Bar Association Foundation, 1996-1998
  • Vice President, Women’s Bar Association Foundation, 1995-1996
  • Board of Directors, Women’s Bar Association Foundation, 1992-1998 
  • Co-Chair, Host Committee, National Association of Women Judges Mid-Year Meeting and Conference, 2010
  • Co-Chair Host Committee, National Association of Women Judges 25th Anniversary Gala Annual Conference – 2003
  • Chair, WBA Community Projects Committee

Honors and Awards

  • American Bar Foundation Fellow
  • America’s Top 100 Bet-the-Company Litigator for Washington, DC, 2019
  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© in the fields of Commercial Litigation, Litigation - Land Use and Zoning, Litigation - Real Estate, 2016 - Present
  • Super Lawyers Honoree, 2009 - 2018
  • New Jersey State Historic Preservation Award, May 2002
  • AV Preeminent Rated
Experience

Any result the lawyer or law firm may have achieved on behalf of clients in other matters does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.

  • Lead counsel for national loan servicer in class actions filed in federal courts. Successfully defeated nationwide discovery demands, class certification, and obtained a favorable settlement of suits after dismissal of putative class claims.
  • Lead counsel for financial institution in multimillion dollar ($900M) indemnification dispute with bank, arising from states enforcement actions.
  • Regional trial counsel for Brookfield Real Estate Opportunity Fund, a wholly-owned subsidiary of a publically traded international real estate asset management company that invests in underperforming real estate in North America including office, retail, industrial, and multi-family.
  • Lead counsel representing publicly traded national REIT specializing in acquisition, development, and management of commercial office buildings.
  • Lead trial counsel representing Centex, a national homebuilder and developer, in litigation arising from three separate agreements for the sale of real property on claims for damages in excess of $98 million. Obtained summary judgment in favor of Centex and return of Centex’s earnest money deposit.
  • South Glebe Holdings, LLC v. Centex Homes, JAMS Case No. 14100044667. Lead trial counsel representing national homebuilder, Centex Homes, in arbitration proceedings and evidentiary hearing before The Honorable Rosemarie P. Annunziata (Ret.) in dispute between two national developers. Defended national residential real estate developer Centex Homes; award in client’s favor on all counts and awarding return of Centex’s deposit.
  • Sheet Metal Workers’ National Pension Fund v. Chase Family Limited Partnership No. 9, et al., (AAA Case No. 12 Y 180006398); Sheet Metal Workers’ National Pension Fund v. David T. Chase, U.S. District Court (CT), CV No. 3:98CV471 (PCD); Sheet Metal Workers’ National Pension Fund v. David T. Chase, et al., Superior Court of Connecticut (Judicial District of New Haven) No. CV994318185; Lead trial counsel in successful representation of union pension fund in litigation to recover its $25 million equity investment in Connecticut Financial Center, a 26-story mixed use office building in New Haven, Connecticut, and enforce a Put (repurchase option) based upon failure of the project to meet certain financial performance criteria. Litigation included arbitration administered by AAA and simultaneous TRO litigation in state court on the partnership agreement and side letter guaranty of the Put; obtained state court injunction in favor of pension fund prohibiting imposition of liens, refinancing, or foreclosure by partners including findings that the managing partners had violated their fiduciary duties to the pension fund and breached the partnership agreement. The Fund then obtained a permanent injunction from AAA in which the panel agreed that Chase and the Chase-related entities had engaged in self-dealing and breached fiduciary duties. In the wake of the injunctive relief, the litigation was settled with an all cash settlement to the Fund.
  • Margaret A. Darrin v. Robert W. Emmett, III and First American Development Group/Carib. Inc. (EDVA – Newport News Division) (Consolidated Civil Action No.4:05cv117); Margaret A. Darrin v. Robert W. Emmett, III and First American Group/Carib, Inc. (DNJ Civil Action No. 05-2851 (KSH) and simultaneous JAMS arbitration (JAMS Reference No. 1410004071); lead trial counsel for defendants in dispute over financial performance of luxury fractional share resort in U.S. Virgin Islands called The Pond Bay Club.
  • Serdarevic, et al. v. Centex Homes, U.S. District Court (SDNY), lead counsel representing national homebuilder and developer in litigation arising from three separate agreements for the sale of real property on claims for damages in excess of $98 million. Obtained summary judgment in favor of Centex and return of Centex’s earnest money deposit.
  • Lead courtroom counsel on trial team representing Andersen Corp., an international manufacturer of construction materials, in a hotly contested, fast-paced $400 million dispute including TRO and injunction action in federal court (Newark, New Jersey). Successfully blocked distributor’s attempt to obtain a restraining order prohibiting manufacturer from terminating distributorship under New Jersey Franchise Practices Act.
  • Lead trial counsel for Brinks, a publicly traded global provider of armored cars and security-related services in facilities and property dispute.
  • Lead counsel representing publicly traded national REIT specializing in acquisition, development, and management of commercial office buildings.
  • Lead counsel representing Ruiz Food Products, Inc. in a federal court suit in connection with a failed acquisition. Obtained dismissal of lawsuit.
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Bar admissions

1990, New Jersey

1990, Maryland

1991, District of Columbia

1991, Virginia

Admitted to practice before:

  • US Supreme Court
  • US Court of Federal Claims
  • US Courts of Appeals for the Third, Fourth and District of Columbia Circuits
  • US District Courts for the District of Columbia, Eastern District of Virginia, District of Maryland, District of Connecticut and District of New Jersey and Southern District of New York
  • US Bankruptcy Courts for the Eastern District of Virginia and District of Columbia
  • District of Columbia Court of Appeals
  • Supreme Court of Virginia
  • Maryland Court of Appeals
  • New Jersey Supreme Court

Education

  • J.D., 1990, Rutgers University
  • B.A., 1986, Rutgers University
    • with honors in Political Science
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