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DEBORAH OSERAN

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Birth Date: 1949
Birth Place: Phoenix, Arizona

Honored By

Donor names:   Bobby Present
Date submitted: April 4, 2008
Gift: Arch with Seating
Location on plaza map: A1
Areas of Achievement: Activism, Law, Volunteer
 
Women Lawyers ~ Women Leaders Arch

Her imagination fired by her father’s dream of becoming an attorney and nurtured by his strong sense of justice, Deborah Oseran decided early in life to become a lawyer. While the Great Depression thwarted her father's dream, Deborah’s goal, combined with the climate of social change in the 60’s and 70’s, has shaped her career and dedication to public service. As a native Arizonan, and daughter of a native Arizonan—Deborah’s mother having been born in Douglas, Arizona, the image of Sandra Day O’Connor was firmly in her mind as Deborah applied to Stanford University. After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Stanford, she entered the University of Arizona College of Law. Following graduation, she became a deputy public defender in the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office. Deborah continued her career as an attorney dedicated to public service when she joined the Attorney General’s Office as a staff attorney in the then newly-created consumer fraud division. In the Attorney General’s Office, she became interested in public and trust lands, and pursued this interest as a staff attorney in the Phoenix Field Solicitor’s Office in the Department of the Interior.

Deborah joined with a group of public attorneys, who as a “fresh air” slate, were elected to the State Bar Board of Governors – Deborah being the first woman and youngest attorney ever elected as a member of that board. She continued her involvement with the State Bar in the service of the legal profession, participating on various committees, and was the first woman to serve as a trustee and chair of the Client Security Fund, established by the State Bar for the protection of the public.

Deborah moved from Phoenix to Tucson, entered private practice in 1983 and soon specialized in commercial real estate law. She became active in the State Bar’s Real Property Section. Once the State Bar adopted a legal specialization program, she served on the Real Estate Law Advisory Commission and helped to establish the specialization criteria.

Highly conscious of the minority status of women in the legal and commercial real estate fields, Deborah has striven to promote women in these professions. Although the first woman partner in her current firm, she was soon joined by other women attorneys as associates and partners. In 2002, she served on the initial steering committee, and then the first board of directors, of the Tucson branch of Commercial Real Estate Women, a national organization that undertakes to educate and promote women, still underrepresented, in the commercial real estate field.

In addition to her work in the State Bar, Deborah has utilized her legal education in her community service efforts. Early in her professional career, Deborah joined the board of the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest, the first pro consumer rights group in Arizona and served as its president in 1981. Deborah served two terms, widely separated in time, on the University of Arizona College of Law Board of Visitors and was its president in 1980, allowing her to witness the progress made by the College of Law, including the dramatic increase of women in its student body, up from a mere fraction (11 students in Deborah’s class) to the present-day parity. Deborah was legal counsel for Planned Parenthood of Southern Arizona for many years and in that capacity had the opportunity to address a number of social issues. She served as volunteer general counsel of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona from 1994 through 2008 (for which her efforts were recognized by the establishment of an endowment fund for the purpose of serving the needs of low-income Jewish elderly and disabled), chaired the Cardozo Society, formerly an attorneys’ section of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, and later participated in the more-recently organized Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s Real Estate and Allied Professionals. Deborah was recommended by the State Bar of Arizona, and appointed, as an attorney member of the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments from 2000-2007.

Deborah is most gratified that during her lifetime the status and percentage of women in both law schools and the profession have increased dramatically--her own daughter is currently a law student at Penn. Deborah is married to Bobby Present and in addition to her daughter Claire, who recently married Cameron Radon, Deborah has two stepchildren, Joshua Present, who recently married Melissa Green, and Naomi Present.

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Prepared by: Deborah Oseran