Deborah Kemi Martin


Deborah Kemi Martin


New York | Three Bryant Park, 1095 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY, United States of America 10036-6797
+1 212 698 3806 | +1 212 698 3599

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Deborah Kemi Martin represents individuals and corporations primarily in white collar matters, including internal and government investigations, enforcement actions, anti-corruption compliance, and related complex litigation domestically and internationally. Ms. Martin has represented clients in state and federal courts across the nation, as well as in proceedings in Europe, South America, and Asia. In the process, she has tried and won cases as lead counsel, having tried her first case as a junior associate, has successfully argued motions, and has taken or defended dozens of depositions.

Ms. Martin is committed to giving back and maintains an active pro bono practice. Among other things, she has served as lead counsel in several pro bono asylum cases, all of which resulted in petitioners being granted asylum. For her work in securing asylum for a petitioner in a particularly complicated and almost decade-long case, Ms. Martin received Sanctuary for Families’ Above and Beyond Award for Excellence in Pro Bono Advocacy. Other pro bono work includes representing individuals who cannot afford lawyers in federal criminal cases from the Criminal Justice Act Panel for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Ms. Martin has also drafted briefs for amici curiae in cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and Courts of Appeals.   

For her advocacy and contributions, Ms. Martin has received a number of awards. In May 2018, The Network Journal recognized her as one of its 40 Under 40 Achievement Award winners and featured her on the cover of the magazine. She was the only associate selected for Law360’s White Collar Editorial Advisory Board for the 2016-17 term. In 2016, the National Bar Association named her one of its 40 Under 40 Nation’s Best Advocates. Based on a vote of its 25,000+ members and award selection committee, the National Bar Association also recognized her as the winner of its Excellence in Service award. The Nigerian Lawyers Association has designated Ms. Martin one of its Rising Star Award winners.

Ms. Martin serves as the Associate Rep of the Black Lawyers Alliance, Dechert’s affinity group for black lawyers. In this capacity, she helps develop and implement the firm’s diversity and inclusion programs particularly by mentoring and recruiting associates. Prior to joining Dechert, Ms. Martin served as a litigation associate at the New York office of another large international law firm. 


White collar litigation, investigations, and corporate compliance

  • Won grand jury subpoena quashal and reversal of hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines in defense of Asian multi-industry company’s subsidiary in bribery- and conspiracy-related criminal and civil proceedings.
  • Conducted FCPA internal investigation and drafted best practices report for global insurance broker’s United States and Latin American business units.
  • Conducted internal investigation of international investment bank’s lending practices in multiple jurisdictions including France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and redesigned corporate compliance program.
  • Designed corporate compliance program for American restaurant franchise company.

Securities and complex commercial litigation 

  • Represented a multinational financial services company in connection with breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation claims brought by a state pension fund, culminating in settlement for less than a fifth of the US$300 million damages sought.
  • Represented French investment bank in years-long internal investigation of its multibillion dollar subprime mortgage business and defense against investigations by state Attorneys General.
  • Represented multinational investment bank in a series of disputes in domestic and international courts arising out of its collateralized debt obligation business and several billion dollars of structured finance products.
  • Represented oil and gas company’s CEO in connection with insider trading and Section 16(b) claims, resulting in settlement on the eve of trial on terms favorable to the client.
  • Represented a global financial services company regarding state and federal fraud and securities claims brought by the Federal Housing Finance Agency as a result of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s mortgage-backed securities investments.

Employment litigation

  • Defended multinational mass media corporation in a series of sexual harassment and retaliation cases, resulting in settlement on terms favorable to client.

Government contracts litigation

  • Won rare post-suspension federal contract extension, among other victories, for Asian conglomerate in civil and administrative proceedings arising out of its procurement and performance of Department of Defense contract.

Pro Bono

  • Secured asylum for several petitioners on the basis of female genital mutilation, LGBT status, and HIV status.
  • Worked with the Innocence Project on eliminating the admission of improper forensic science in courts nationwide, including drafting an appellate brief for amici curiae in a Fifth Circuit death penalty case addressing a novel basis for a successive federal habeas petition.
  • Drafted appellate brief for amicus curiae in Sheriff v. Gillie, a U.S. Supreme Court Federal Debt Collection Practices Act case.
  • University of Southern California, B.S., 2005, National Merit Scholar, Trustee Scholar
  • New York University School of Law, J.D., 2009, Articles Editor of the New York University Law Review
  • New York
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  • English
  • Yoruba
  • United States District Court for the District of Delaware, Honorable Gregory M. Sleet
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Honorable Theodore A. McKee
  • 2018 Associate Leadership Institute Fellow, New York City Bar
  • Inn of Court, Federal Bar Council
  • 2016-17 White Collar Editorial Advisory Board, Law360
  • African Affairs Committee, New York City Bar
Speaking Engagements
  • Patent Litigation from the Law Clerks' Perspective – Strategies for Success and Pitfalls to Avoid —The New York Intellectual Property Law Association, New York, NY (January 13, 2016)