Press Releases

Deborah Martin Owens to Lead Diversity Efforts at City Bar

Deborah Martin OwensDeborah Martin Owens has joined the New York City Bar Association as Executive Director of Diversity and Inclusion.

Deborah comes to the City Bar from the New York Office of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, where she focused on a broad range of complex commercial litigation. She is the Vice Chair of the Board for the Women’s City Club of New York and has held leadership positions in various organizations, including the Friends of Island Academy, the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association and the National Bar Association. Among her several awards, she is an inaugural recipient of the Shirley Stewart Farmer Women of Excellence Award given by the NAACP Mid-Manhattan Branch, the Metropolitan Black Bar Association and the National Association of Women Judges. 

Deborah previously served as an associate law clerk with the New York State Unified Court System. A graduate of the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University, she was a Judicial Intern for Hon. Sonia Sotomayor when she sat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

“We are very pleased to welcome Deborah to the City Bar, and we look forward to her leadership on our diversity and inclusion activities,” said City Bar Executive Director Bret Parker. “While there’s much work to do, it’s a time of great excitement and momentum for us and the legal community in this area, with more and more law firms, in-house legal departments and other organizations recognizing how important this is. We think Deborah’s background is a great fit for us moving forward.”

The City Bar’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion recently received the ABA Partnership Award for its Associate Leadership Institute, which was established in 2017 to provide law firm associates the skills required for their promotion through the ranks. Over 100 law firm associates from 47 law firms have completed the Institute in its first two years. Among other results, two participants became law firm partners within six months of completing the Institute and several were promoted to Counsel.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion regularly tracks the progress of more than 140 signatory law firms and law departments on key diversity representation metrics, and reports its findings to the public regularly in a Diversity Benchmarking Report. The Office also runs a comprehensive pipeline initiative that supports high school, college and law students in developing necessary professional skills and gaining exposure to the legal profession through programs that provide academic support and preparation for law school, career exploration opportunities and exposure to the profession, professional and substantive skill development, and networking/mentoring opportunities.

About the Association
The mission of the New York City Bar Association, which was founded in 1870 and has 24,000 members, is to equip and mobilize the legal profession to practice with excellence, promote reform of the law, and uphold the rule of law and access to justice in support of a fair society and the public interest in our community, our nation, and throughout the world.