Deborah E. Barnard concentrates in complex civil litigation and has experience with both individual and class action lawsuits. Her practice encompasses a broad spectrum of substantive areas with specific focus on environmental (government and private party), toxic tort, product liability, and commercial actions. Among others, she has represented clients in the oil and gas industry in environmental, product liability, toxic tort, and commercial litigation as well as for pre-litigation claims and environmental regulatory counseling; the pharmaceutical and medical device industry in product liability and related tort litigation; and the financial services industry in commercial litigation, including defense of various life insurance and annuity products.

In her practice, Ms. Barnard has been a member of a team serving as national coordinating counsel for a pharmaceutical manufacturer, the lead for the firm in a group of firms who serve as a an oil and gas company's core counsel for a specific type of products liability and environmental matter, and as local counsel in variety of pharmaceutical products liability matters handled on a national basis.  In those roles, Ms. Barnard has extensive experience developing all aspects of a client's defense including fact development through documents and witnesses from the client, the plaintiff and third-parties, and expert development. She also has experience developing themes and testing them through the use of mock jury exercises and she has trial experience.

Ms. Barnard also has significant experience with various forms of alternative dispute resolution and has successfully mediated several complex multi-party actions. Additionally, she has completed a 40-hour training course to serve as a mediator.

Ms. Barnard has served as a faculty member for various continuing legal education courses sponsored by the Massachusetts and Boston Bar Associations. She also served as an instructor for the First Year Research and Writing Program at Boston University School of Law.

At Holland & Knight, Ms. Barnard is the professional growth and development partner. She is also a co-coordinator and the co-founder of the firm's Rising Star program, an intensive economic development and leadership training program for senior female attorneys. In addition, Ms. Barnard has served as chair of Holland & Knight's Women's Initiative, litigation deputy section leader, a member of the board of directors and as the deputy executive partner for the Boston office.


  • Boston University School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude
  • Smith College, A.B., cum laude
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • Illinois
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Boston Center for Community and Justice, LeadBoston, Class of 2001
  • The City School, former Board of Director
  • Milton Academy Class of 1980, former Class Agent
  • Boston Chamber of Commerce, Women's Network Advisory Committee
  • Perkins School for the Blind, Incorporator; Perkins Solutions Committee
Honors & Awards
  • Massachusetts Super Lawyers magazine, 2013, 2014, 2016-2018 
  • Inaugural Honoree, Boston University, Women's Law Association, Women-in-Law Conference, A Tribute to BU Law Alumnae and Their Achievements
  • Honoree, The Academy of Women Achievers, YWCA Boston
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated


Speaking Engagements