I like my law practice because I get to know my clients so well, to help them through difficult times and get them the highest compensation for their losses. Many have become good friends.
Debra connects with people. Whether they’re clients hospitalized after an accident, a jury considering liability, or a family whose child has been killed by the negligence of others, Debra gets to the heart of their concerns. She obtains exceptional results for clients bringing suit -- plaintiffs in injury, accident and wrongful death cases. As a former managing partner of a legal defense firm, she understands defense attorneys’ game plan, and can often achieve generous settlements before trial even begins. She is especially attuned to bicycle and motorcycle plaintiffs, as she has been a two-wheeler herself for many years.
Debra loves her trial work. With 30 years of successful trial experience, she has devoted tens of thousands of hours to the craft of taking expert depositions, picking juries, conducting trials, and telling her clients’ stories in compelling detail. Intensely focused and meticulous in preparing each case for mediation or trial, she prides herself on establishing good working relationships with opposing counsel, experts and judges. Debra credits her extraordinarily successful record to tenacity, determination and an unstoppable desire to win. She is an advocate in the best sense of the word, with the excellent reputation and results to prove it.
Clients like Debra for many reasons: She clearly explains their case and describes what they can expect from the legal process, she quickly responds to phone calls and emails, she advocates aggressively and, quite simply, she cares passionately about them. Debra is so trusted that she often is referred cases by other attorneys and judges, and is asked to serve as personal counsel to people who are going through complex, multi-party litigation.
Debra is so devoted to the art of settlement, mediation and trial that she teaches her peers how to become better trial lawyers. She also is deeply involved in her legal and home communities. Of the many achievements, awards, offices and memberships noted below, she is most proud of her induction into the Litigation Counsel of America in 2007, a national trial lawyer honorary society composed of less than half of one percent of American lawyers; her long service to Legal Aid of Marin, where she advocates for those without access to legal representation; and her successful representation of one of the families who lost a young daughter in the horrendous San Bruno PG&E pipeline explosion.
The law is not Debra’s only interest. After earning an advanced legal certification in Austria, Debra worked in Europe, and married her attorney husband, Pieter Bogaards, in DeRijp, the Netherlands, a 17th century town near Amsterdam. The family includes two adult daughters, and resides in Marin County, where Debra can be found cycling on the roads to Point Reyes, the Seven Sisters, Stinson Beach or the Marin Headlands. She is training for her fourth Pacific Coast Century and Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle (a century – 100 miles) from Carmel to Big Sur to San Simeon. She is also a theater buff from her time in London, honing her dramatic skills by watching the Bay Area’s many acclaimed productions.
"I fell in love with cycling when I was getting an international law degree in Europe. My husband and I spent our honeymoon cycling on a tandem throughout The Netherlands. Today, I train several times a week for the annual Pacific Coast Century Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle (from Carmel to Big Sur to San Simeon) to raise money for disabled athletes; and the Jack McGlynn Pacific Coast Century. I usually ride 100 miles on weekends, to Point Reyes, the Seven Sisters, Stinson Beach or the Marin Headlands, trying to constantly improve my time and my cardiovascular system! I am a long-time member of the Marin Bicycle Coalition, a member and sponsor of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and the Advisor to the UC Hastings Law School Cycling Team."
- All California Courts
- U.S. Federal Courts
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
- U.S. Supreme Court
- University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, Salzburg, Austria Certificate in Advanced International Legal Studies, 1983
- University of California, Hastings College of the Law J.D., 1981
- University of California, Berkeley B.S., 1978 Major: Accounting and Finance
Honors and Awards
- Northern California Super Lawyers, 2005 - present
- Litigation Counsel of America, Fellow, 2007 - present
- Top 50 Women Lawyers, 2007
- Martindale-Hubbell Rated "AV" (highest rating)
Professional Associations, Offices, Directorships
- University of California, Hastings College of the Law Foundation
- Board of Trustees, 2009 - present
- Chair, Nominating Committee, 2013-present
- Executive Committee, 2013-present
- Executive Committee, 2013-present
- Legal Aid of Marin, Board of Directors, 2000 - present
- Marin County Bar Association, Board of Directors, 1996 - 1999
- Lawyers Friends of Wine, Board of Directors, 1995 - 1997
- San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, Member, 1995 - 2012
- Consumer Attorneys of California, Member, 2009 - present
- Jewish Community Foundation, Business Leaders Council, Member, 2011 - present
- Marin Bicycle Coalition, Member, 2011 - present
- San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, Member and Sponsor
- Marin Women Lawyers, Past President
- CA Continuing Education of the Bar, California Liability Insurance Practice: Claims and Litigation
and Uninsured Motorist Coverage, update author, 2009 - present
- Using Deposition Experts at Mediation, Western Trial Lawyers Association
- The Basics: Personal Injury - Trial (with Miles Cooper of Rouda Feder) CA Continuing Education of the Bar
- Basic Civil Procedure for Medical Experts, Private Client Seminars
- Expert Depositions, Continuing Education of the Bar, San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, Sterling Education
- Voir Dire, Continuing Education of the Bar, San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, Sterling Education
- Lecturer, UC Hastings College of the Law College of Trial Advocacy
- Lecturer, National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA)