Meet the OGCs: Deborah Sorell Stehr

Meet the OGCs: Deborah Sorell Stehr

A cornerstone of OGC’s “business-first” approach to lawyering is helping clients “see around corners” to anticipate issues that may develop down the road. For Deborah Sorell Stehr, this ability comes not only from years of transactional experience, but also from a willingness to learn something valuable from each one. Over the course of her career, and in particular her roles as a GC and provider of outside general counsel services, Deborah has seen countless legal and business issues develop; and by working to resolve them alongside her clients, she has built an incredible knowledge base – contractual language, negotiation tactics, and relationship strategy – from which she now draws as an OGC in support of her clients’ objectives.

Another key to success, notes Deborah, is “keeping your antenna tuned to new risks and being able to find innovative solutions as the business landscape changes.” This tactic has served Deborah well in her practice, which focuses on the consumer goods and services sector – the same sector where she cut her teeth as an in-house lawyer. Following stints in several BigLaw firms, Deborah moved in-house, first as Associate GC at Nine West, Inc. (one of the country’s then-largest footwear manufacturers and retailers); and then as General Counsel for footwear and apparel retailer, Candie’s Inc. until its acquisition by Iconix Brand Group (along with 40 other brands) in 2003.

As GC of Iconix, Deborah helped develop the company into a global brand management and licensing powerhouse, including drafting, negotiating and enforcing over 200 licenses around the world and inking product licensing and marketing arrangements with celebrities like Beyonce, Fergie, Kelly Clarkson, JLo, and Justin Timberlake, among others. One of her favorite memories was the public service awareness campaign she spearheaded for The Candie’s Foundation, which included drafting a contract for a 16-year old Taylor Swift to perform at the fundraiser one year.

Drawing on these incredible experiences, Deborah strives to provide clients with high-value legal services defined by practical, on-the-spot, business-focused advice. Understanding that in-house lawyers must have a strong and independent voice, while also possessing a team-first mentality, Deborah aims to help her clients find the right balance. Whether negotiating a SaaS contract, drafting a license to optimize and protect IP across the supply chain, or advising the Board on best practices, Deborah is always focused on approaching issues strategically and building strong relationships in order to achieve the best possible outcomes for her clients. 

“My superpower is finding ways to reduce friction and help drive business forward,” says Deborah. She takes great pride in hearing from clients that she is their favorite lawyer because of how productive and enjoyable their time spent together is. “I can take my work very seriously without taking myself so seriously,” adding that even the most tedious zoom meeting can be brightened by a smile.

More about Deborah Stehr
When not serving clients, Deborah is deeply committed to several nonprofit organizations in her community, including serving on three local boards in support of (1) animal rights (she does eat or wear her animal friends), (2) protecting the rights of at-risk, low-income women and children, and (3) providing disabled elderly people with access to technology and social services. For the past 10 years, Deborah has also served on the Executive Committee of Princeton’s NJ regional association.

This publication should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances not an offer to represent you. It is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your attorney concerning any particular situation and any specific legal questions you may have. Pursuant to applicable rules of professional conduct, portions of this publication may constitute Attorney Advertising.

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