Deborah K. Marcuse

Deborah Marcuse Sanford Heisler Sharp
Deborah K. Marcuse
Baltimore Managing Partner

(410) 834-7415

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Deborah K. Marcuse is the Managing Partner of Sanford Heisler Sharp’s Baltimore, Maryland office. She received her law degree from Yale Law School in 2008.

Meet Deborah Marcuse

Meet Deborah Marcuse

Sanford Heisler Sharp, and, particularly, Deborah Marcuse, can be compared to a first rate physician: the client is treated not just for the ailment, but the attention and service encompasses the entire body. No issue is too mundane for Deborah and she is available 24/7 no matter the issue. Suzy Reingold, Commercial Real Estate

Sanford Heisler Sharp unites a passion for justice for employees with uncommon legal skill. It produces a superb work product even under extremely challenging time constraints. We found Sanford Heisler Sharp to be very responsive, able, and swift. We recommend them to anyone. Deborah Marcuse is a subtle negotiator with excellent judgment and a wide knowledge of the courts, the experts, and the law. Legal Momentum, The Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund

Deborah K. Marcuse is the Managing Partner of Sanford Heisler Sharp’s Baltimore, Maryland office. She received her law degree from Yale Law School in 2008.

Ms. Marcuse is Co-Chair with Alexandra Harwin and Kate Mueting of Sanford Heisler Sharp’s Title VII Practice. She represents employees in individual and class actions in a wide range of employment disputes, including suits alleging unlawful terminations, unlawful denials of promotions, unequal pay, wage and hour violations, and hostile work environments related to race, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, pregnancy, and disability. Ms. Marcuse has negotiated and secured significant monetary awards for clients with discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims in the legal, pharmaceutical, financial, manufacturing and commercial real estate sectors, including corporate executives.

Ms. Marcuse is currently Lead Counsel in Smith et al. v. Merck & Co, Inc. (DNJ) and Barrett et al. v. Forest Laboratories et al. (SDNY), two gender discrimination class actions filed on behalf of thousands of female pharmaceutical sales representatives nationwide. In 2014, courts rejected defendants’ attempts to dismiss both cases. Among her individual cases, Ms. Marcuse represents former Cushman & Wakefield executive Maria Sicola in her lawsuit in New York state court alleging age and gender discrimination and retaliation by the commercial real estate giant. She also represents a former high-level Wal-Mart executive alleging that gender discrimination culminated in her constructive discharge from the company after 22 years of service.

Ms. Marcuse 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.

Ms. Marcuse is a regular speaker on employment discrimination and class action practice and has been quoted by media outlets throughout America on these and related issues.

Before joining Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP for the first time in 2009, Ms. Marcuse worked to establish the City of New Haven’s Prison Reentry Initiative as a 2008-2009 Arthur Liman Public Interest Fellow.  As the Initiative’s founding Coordinator, Ms. Marcuse helped to pass a municipal ordinance banning unfair discrimination against job applicants with conviction histories by the City of New Haven and the vendors with which it contracts.

During her time at Yale, Ms. Marcuse served as the Student Director for a clinic representing individuals incarcerated in state and federal prisons in civil rights and post-conviction actions.  Ms. Marcuse was also a member of the clinic team that represented more than thirty individuals detained in federal immigration raids on the community of Fair Haven in 2007, arguing that the raids were illegally carried out as retaliation against the city of New Haven for its creation of an innovative program offering municipal identification to all residents regardless of their citizenship status.  Upon graduating from law school, Ms. Marcuse was awarded the Frances Wayland Prize for the student showing greatest proficiency in preparing and presenting a case in negotiation, arbitration and litigation.

Before becoming a lawyer, Ms. Marcuse studied the intersection of religion and moral regulation at Duke University, where she received her Ph.D. in Religion in 2005.


  • J.D., Yale Law School, 2008
  • Ph.D. Duke University, 2005
  • B.A., Yale University, 1997, cum laude


  • 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

Bar Admissions

  • Connecticut, 2008
  • New York, 2010
  • District of Columbia, 2010
  • Pennsylvania, 2016

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • 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 Employee Rights and Responsibilities Committee
  • National Employment Lawyers’ Association (Co-Chair, Class Action Practice Group)

Publications/Speaking Engagements

  • Presenter, “Managing the Haystack: How to Get the Most Out of Electronic Discovery,” Sixteenth Annual Impact Fund Class Action Conference, San Francisco, CA, February 2018.
  • Presenter, “Intersection Between Religious and Moral Liberty and Benefits,” American Bar Association Employee Benefits Committee, Midwinter Meeting, Clearwater, FL, February 2018.
  • Moderator/Presenter, “Title VII & The Equal Pay Act: Dynamic Duo When Challenging Sex Discrimination in Compensation,” National Employment Lawyers’ Association 2017 Convention, San Antonio, TX, June 2017.
  • Presenter, “Big Data and Wearable Technology in the Workplace: If the Fit Bit Fits, Wear It,” American Bar Association Employee Rights and Responsibilities Committee, Midwinter Meeting, New Orleans, LA, March 2016.
  • Brief of Amici Curiae LGBT Student Organizations at Undergraduate, Graduate, and Professional Schools in Support of Petitioners, Obergefell v. Hodges, March 6, 2015.
  • Brief of Amici Curiae Women’s Rights Organizations and Individuals in Support of Respondent, Mach Mining, LLC v. EEOC, November 3, 2014.

Jones Day Gender Discrimination/Retaliation Action

Case Description Case Type: Gender Discrimination/Retaliation Company: Jones Day

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Morrison & Foerster Gender, Pregnancy, and Maternity Discrimination Class and Collective Action

The Complaint, which is filed on behalf of three female associates currently employed at MoFo, alleges the international law firm practices systemic gender discrimination against female lawyers, particularly those who are pregnant or have children.

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Merck Gender Pay, Promotion and Pregnancy Discrimination Class Action

This gender discrimination class action against pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co., Inc. was originally filed by Plaintiff Kelli Smith in May 2013 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. In January 2014, four additional class representatives from around the country joined the suit as plaintiffs alleging pay, promotion and pregnancy discrimination against the company.

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Forest Laboratories Gender Discrimination Class Action

In July 2012, Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP filed a $100 million class action lawsuit against Forest Laboratories, Inc., and Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (“Forest”) in federal court in New York, alleging, among other claims, that Forest discriminates against its female Sales Representatives by paying them less than their male counterparts. The Plaintiffs also allege claims of failure to promote, discrimination based on pregnancy and maternity leave, sexual harassment, and retaliation. In 2014, the Court denied Forest’s attempt to dismiss the Plaintiffs’ claims, and in 2015 the Court conditionally certified a class under the Equal Pay Act (EPA).

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Maria Sicola v. Cushman & Wakefield, Inc.

The complaint alleges that the shocking decision to terminate Ms. Sicola and promote Mr. Thorpe in her place was the culmination of years of unlawful discrimination based on gender and age to which C&W’s all male global leadership team subjects women over 40.

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  • Maryland Rising Star Super Lawyer, 2018
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