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 lawsuits and regulatory counseling), toxic tort, product liability, and commercial actions. Among others, she has extensive experience representing clients in the oil and gas, pharmaceutical and medical device, and financial services industries. 

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 an oil and gas company's coordinating counsel for products liability and environmental matters brought around the country, and as local counsel in variety of pharmaceutical products liability matters handled on a national basis.  She has handled matters placed into multi-district litigation and coordinated in state courts. 

In those roles, Ms. Barnard has extensive experience developing all aspects of a client's defense from pre-litigation claims through jury or bench trial.  She has also worked on matters with significant media coverage and has experience managing communications with the press and the public. 

Ms. Barnard also has significant experience with various forms of alternative dispute resolution and has successfully mediated several complex multi-party actions and arbitrated environmental and commercial matters. 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-founder and co-coordinator of the firm's award winning 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 Bar Association, Co-Chair, Women's Advisory Forum, 2020-present
  • Perkins School for the Blind, Incorporator
  • Boston University School of Law, Member, Executive Committee of Alumni Association 2022 -present
  • 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
Honors & Awards
  • High Commendation for Outstanding Contribution, Chambers Diversity & Inclusion Awards: North America, 2022
  • 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