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Deborah Ben-Canaan, Partner and the Senior Practice Leader for In-House Counsel Recruiting, is a seasoned legal recruiter and subject-matter expert on the legal market. Since 2001, she has placed more than 900 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. She brings this deep experience into her role as Senior Practice Leader, where she works with CEOs, boards, CHROs and general counsel at organizations of all sizes to help them shape, grow and develop their legal departments. She also serves as a mentor to more junior recruiters within the firm helping them learn the intricate details of recruiting and career advising.

Having lived on both coasts and completed searches for organizations across the country, Deb understands the ins and outs of the domestic legal market. She maintains a deeply rooted network of legal leaders and influencers who rely on her for her insight and expertise, and she provides counsel to them on important talent management areas including diversity and inclusion, efficiency, talent acquisition and retention, and succession planning.

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. While her sense of humor eases the pressures associated with the process and adds an element of fun, 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. She was recognized for her expertise in Lawdragon’s 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023 Global 100 Leaders in Legal Strategy & Consulting.

Outside the office, Deb spends her free time hanging out with her teenage daughter, cheering on the Penn State Nittany Lions football team and relaxing with her favorite red wine.

Prior to returning to the Washington, D.C., area in 2011 to head In-House Counsel Recruiting, Deb spent 11 years as a recruiter and leader of our Southern California In-House Counsel Recruiting team. 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.

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

General Counsel placement highlights include:

  • Host Hotels
  • JBG Smith
  • WRIT
  • FTI Consulting
  • BASF (chemicals)
  • Ligado Networks
  • The Humane Society of the United States
  • American Psychological Association
  • American University
  • McKinsey & Company
  • Motel 6
  • Five Below
  • NorthStar Anesthesia
  • Dyson

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

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March 2023 – Insights from a legal recruiting expert and thought leader - Speaker - Chief

February 2023 –  Should I Stay or Should I Go?: Continuing Professional Development When There is No Line of Sight for Elevation – Panelist - ACC Law Department Leadership Network Program

January 2023 – Working in & Navigating the Uncertainty of the 2023 Job Market -Panelist - ACC || Small Law Department, Career Development Committee

January 2023 – Paths to In-house Practice and What Organizations Need/Seek in a General Counsel - Guest Lecturer – Georgetown University School of Law - IN-HOUSE COUNSEL: LAW AND PRACTICE Course

May 2022 –Understanding the In-House Counsel Marketplace and Your Future Economic and Development Opportunities-  Speaker - ACC Litigation Network Legal Update

December 2021 – The Basics of Interviewing -  Panelist - the ACC Small Law Department Network

July 2021 – Recruiting for Nonprofit In-house Counsel Roles – Current Market Update  panelist  -ACC Legal Quick Hit

May 2021 –   Best Practices in Recruiting a Diverse Legal Team Moderator - ACC NCR Career Development


October 2018 – Guest speaker: “Mistakes that women make in interviews,” Women of DC

October 2018 – Panelist: “Career Paths for Dealmakers: A Ladder or a Jungle Gym?” Licensing Executives Society 2018 Annual Meeting

February 2018 – Guest Speaker: “Insider's Guide to Moving/Improving Your In-House Attorney Position” (webinar), ACC

September 2018 – Guest Speaker: “Skills for the 21st Century General Counsel,” Georgetown University Law School

May 2018 – Moderator: “A Diverse Perspective on Career Progression for GCs and Aspiring GCs,” ACC NCR Career Development Forum

February 2018 – Panelist: “(Wo)man the Battlestations! Success as a Woman in the Legal Field,” Vinson & Elkins

2017 – Panelist: “A Glimpse at the Stats: More Women GC in the Fortune 500,” Ascent Conference

July 2017 – Panelist: “Get Recognized: Network Your Way to New Levels (Partnership),” She-Suite Summit

September 2016 – Moderator: “Tales of Profit and Loss in Human Capital: How Legal Departments Are Prioritizing Building and Retaining Their Teams,” WIPL Conference

January 2016 – Panelist: “Laying the Foundation to Accelerate Your Career and Develop your Resume to Get the Interview,” ACC NCR

June 2016 – Interviewer: An Evening Reception with Suzanne Rich Folsom, General Counsel of U.S. Steel; WILEF DC

June 2016 – Panelist, “What Do GCs Look for in Newly-Hired In-House Lawyers,” Georgetown Law Corporate Counsel Training Academy

March 2016 – Panelist: “What's Up In the Legal Market Now?” Baltimore ACC

Children’s Law Center, Board of Directors

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