Deborah is Thompson Hine's firmwide managing partner. In this capacity, she serves as the firm's chief executive officer. She is also the chair of the firm's Executive Committee, the principal governing body responsible for its strategic direction, financial affairs and the oversight of its eight-office operations. Deborah previously served in various management roles at the firm, including hiring partner, chair of the 65-lawyer Tax, Benefits and Planning Department, and chair of the Lawyer Personnel Committee.

Deborah also spends some of her time as a practicing lawyer in the tax exempt, nonprofit corporate, and health care areas. She functions as outside general counsel to two large exempt organizations. She focuses her tax exempt practice on tax and corporate planning for nonprofit organizations and foundations and health care organizations. Deborah assists clients in the formation of nonprofit entities; qualification of nonprofit entities for tax exempt status; conversions to and from exempt status; corporate reorganizations and liquidations, including reorganizations of exempt organizations, hospitals, and other health care providers; arrangements between for-profit and tax exempt entities; Internal Revenue Service Ruling requests; Attorney General inquiries and filings; unrelated business income, lobbying, and political contribution tax compliance; structuring of for-profit corporate sponsorship arrangements; tax reviews; and tax controversy work, including Internal Revenue Service audits, appeals, and tax litigation. She spends a considerable portion of her practice advising organizations on governance and nonprofit corporate law issues, including counseling nonprofit Boards on fiduciary duty issues and best practices for corporate governance. She advises private corporate foundations about permissible charitable programs they may operate to advance charitable objectives for the employees of their corporate sponsors, including programs involving an international workforce.



Press Releases

  • "A Match Made in Innovation," Business of Law Forum, New York
  • "From Hiring to Billing: Digging Into Core Firm Management Issues,” Business of Law Forum, New York
  • Women in Hedge Funds,” Thompson Hine 10th Annual Hedge Fund Seminar
  • "How Women Lead," Spotlight on Leadership Series
  • "Women in Leadership," Cleveland Leadership Center, Lunch with Leaders Series
  • "Options for Donors Seeking Influence Over Charitable Gifts: A Comparison of Private Foundations, Supporting Organizations, and Donor Advised Funds," Regional Exempt Organizations and Financial Advisors Forum
  • "Current Nonprofit Regulatory Trends: Are Your Practices in Need of Reform?", Lorman Education Services
  • "Emerging Standards for Nonprofit Board Governance (Including H.R. 4 Governance Provisions)," Business Volunteers Unlimited
  • "Intermediate Sanctions: What Every Advisor Needs to Know," The Ohio Society of CPAs
  • "Research and Technology Transfer," American Health Lawyers Association
  • "Health Care Law Update," Health Care Financial Management Association of Ohio
  • "Developments in Nonprofit Governance: The Evolution of New Standards," Cleveland Tax Institute
  • "The Art and Science of Trusteeship," Grantmakers in Aging National Meeting
  • "Board Liability Under Intermediate Sanctions," Education Finance Council National Meeting
  • "Limited Liability Companies and Potential Uses by Health Care Providers," National Health Lawyers Association
  • "Taxable Subsidiaries and Limited Liability Companies," National Health Lawyers Association
  • Chairperson, Exempt Organizations Session, Cleveland Tax Institute
  • "Use of Compliance Plans by Health Care Providers," Cleveland Society of Anesthesiologists
  • Invited speaker on numerous topics for client presentation and the Cleveland Tax Institute
  • Named one of the “Power 150,” Crain's Cleveland Business, 2020
  • Named one of the "Power 100: Top Leaders of Northeast Ohio," Cleveland Magazine, 2017, 2018 and 2019
  • Named one of the Top 30 Leaders of Northeast Ohio, Cleveland Magazine 
  • Named a "Legal Rebel," ABA Journal, 2016, for bringing innovation to the practice of law
  • Honored as Woman of the Year at the Women Looking Ahead Law & Justice Awards, May 2016
  • Selected as one of the Top 10 Legal Innovators in North America, The Financial Times, 2015
  • Named to The National Law Journal's inaugural list of Outstanding Women Lawyers, 2015
  • Listed in "Northeast Ohio's Most Connected," Crain's Cleveland Business, 2015
  • Named one of the "Power 100: The 100 Individuals Who Most Influence Northeast Ohio's Economy," Inside Business, 2013-2015
  • Selected as a Woman of Note, Crain's Cleveland Business, 2012
  • Named a "Woman Worth Watching," Diversity Journal, 2012
  • Honored as part of "Women Who Give Back," Kaleidoscope Magazine, 2001 and 2012
  • Received the ATHENA Award presented by Inside Business, 2010
  • Named a Woman of Achievement by YWCA Greater Cleveland, 2006
  • Honored as a Rainmaker by Northern Ohio Live, 2006
  • Selected to the Ohio Super Lawyers list (Tax), 2004
  • Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© since 2003 for Health Care Law, Nonprofit/Charities Law, and Tax Law
  • Honored as Volunteer of the Year, United Way of Greater Cleveland, 1998
  • AV Preeminent® Rated (Tax, Health Care) by Martindale-Hubbell®
Professional and Civic

Professional Associations

  • US Law Firm Group (USLFG), president
  • The 50 Club
  • In Counsel with Women
  • Leadership Cleveland, Class of 1999
  • District of Columbia Bar Association
  • Cleveland Tax Institute, panel chair

Community Activities

  • Say Yes to Cleveland Foundation, director; Finance Committee, member
  • Greater Cleveland Partnership, director; Nominating Committee, member
  • Commission on Economic Inclusion, co-chair
  • Business Volunteers Unlimited, director; Governance Committee,
  • Playhouse Square Foundation, Board of Trustees, member; Finance Committee, member