Deborah Ben-Canaan Partner

Deborah Ben-Canaan, Law Firm Recruiter Washington D.C.


A Letter to the C-Suite: What to Do When You Need to Fill a Gap on Your Legal Team July 12, 2018 What are your options when your GC leaves? How can... Read More
Elevating Your Digital Brand with LinkedIn April 9, 2018 Deborah Ben-Canaan and Edina Beasley of the MLA In... Read More
Scripps GC Cynthia Gibson on Giving Clients What They Need March 14, 2018 In a QA, the company's executive vice president an... Read More
DLA Piper's Stasia Kelly on the Quest for Gender Equity March 6, 2018 DLA Piper's co-managing partner opens up about the... Read More
TD's Ellen Koplow on Setting Standards and Preparing for Change March 2, 2018 The TD Ameritrade general counsel reflects on wome... Read More
7 Steps to Closing the Deal April 17, 2017 You want the very best for your legal team. Enhanc... Read More
Social Media Defines You March 20, 2017 Deb Ben-Canaan explains why employers look at your... Read More
Pre-IPO Companies Face Talent Imperatives April 25, 2016 ... Read More
Doing Good Is Good for the Soul and Business March 3, 2016 Pro bono work reaps more benefits than you may rea... Read More
The Profiles of Interviews Gone Wrong February 10, 2016 Deb Ben-Canaan details eight classic profiles of i... Read More

In the News

Major, Lindsey & Africa Places Ama Romaine as General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer at G6 Hospitality LLC August 16, 2018 MLA announces the placement of Ama Romaine as Gene... Read More
For Managing Partners, a Move In-House Isn't Always Easy August 1, 2018 Law firm managing partners who have become general... Read More
Major, Lindsey & Africa Places Ricardo Anzaldua as Senior Legal Advisor at Freddie Mac May 17, 2018 After a transition period, Mr. Anzaldua is expecte... Read More
Major, Lindsey & Africa Launches Search for American Red Cross General Counsel May 15, 2018 MLA announced that it has been engaged by the Amer... Read More
Major, Lindsey & Africa Places Traevena Byrd as Vice President and General Counsel at American University in Washington, D.C. February 21, 2018 Major, Lindsey Africa (MLA), today announced the ... Read More
Major, Lindsey & Africa Places Robert Falk as General Counsel at Truth Initiative in Washington, D.C. December 5, 2017 Major, Lindsey Africa, today announced the placem... Read More
What It Means to Advance Your In-house Career July 31, 2017 Iiona Korzha of ACC spoke with Deborah Ben-Canaan ... Read More
Major, Lindsey & Africa Places Robert J. Spagnoletti as CEO of the D.C. Bar June 7, 2017 Robert J. Spagnoletti has been named as the new ch... Read More
Major, Lindsey & Africa Places Taryn D. Fielder as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at Washington REIT April 13, 2017 Taryn D. Fielder have been placed as senior vice p... Read More
Major, Lindsey & Africa Places Steven Museles as Executive Vice President and General Counsel at The JBG Companies in Chevy Chase, Maryland March 13, 2017 Steven Museles has been placed as executive vice p... Read More

My job is to do the worrying on searches, so my clients can focus on business. While I take my role incredibly seriously, I approach each search with optimism and energy—and even throw in some humor to lighten what otherwise can be a stressful process.

Deborah Ben-Canaan is a Partner in the firm and the leader of our Washington, D.C., In-House Practice Group. In her more than 17 years as an executive search consultant, Deb has placed more than 700 senior-level legal leaders in corporate legal departments across the U.S. and assisted her U.S. clients in making strategic placements overseas with the support of our EMEA and APAC teams.

Deb brings a passion to her searches that invokes confidence in her clients and continually leads to long-term, trusted relationships. She takes the time to truly understand her clients' needs, cultures and dynamics and acts as a guide through the hiring process, taking the guesswork and stress out of hiring. Her no nonsense approach to identifying talent results in matches that transcend the basic position description needs and dig deeper into the EQ and cultural fit of each candidate. Deb understands the ins and outs of national legal market having lived on both coasts and completed searches for organizations across the country. She maintains a deeply rooted network of legal leaders and influencers who rely on her for her insight and expertise and she nurtures many valued partnerships with CEOs and C-suite leaders who lean on her for help with legal team structuring issues and talent development solutions.

Outside the office, Deb spends her free time hanging out with her pre-teen daughter, cheering on the Penn State Nittany Lions football team as well as the Detroit Lions and relaxing with her favorite red wine.

I'm a global navigator! Learn more.


Prior to returning to the Washington, D.C., area in 2011 to head the In-House Practice Group, Deb spent 11 years as a recruiter and leader of our Southern California In-House Practice Group. She was instrumental in opening our San Diego office in 2001.

A subject-matter expert on the legal market, Deb regularly serves on industry panels speaking on a variety of topics, including leadership, compensation, the state of the legal market and what it takes to become a general counsel. She also regularly writes articles on these topics and has received numerous accolades for mentoring women and junior recruiters.

Deb is a former business litigator who practiced in the San Diego office of Gordon & Rees and with the well-established San Diego-based law firm, Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch before entering legal recruiting.


General Counsel placement highlights include:

  • JBG Smith
  • WRIT
  • FTI Consulting
  • BASF (chemicals)
  • Ligado Networks
  • The Humane Society of the United States
  • American Psychological Association
  • American University

She has also helped to build legal teams with companies like Scripps Networks, Northrop Grumman, U.S. Steel, Danaher Corporation and HMSHost. 


The American University Washington College of Law: J.D., magna cum laude

Voted Best Oral Advocate on the East Coast, Saul Lefkowitz Moot Court Competition

The Pennsylvania State University: B.S., with high distinction


Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF), Advisory Board Member