Deborah has been practicing law for over 20 years. She has developed a reputation for being a smart and aggressive litigator, but she also has the ability to resolve many of her cases short of having to take a case to trial, due to her creative, down-to-earth and pragmatic approach.
Deborah was born in DeLand, Florida, while her father, Ralph Greene, one of the of-counsel lawyers of the firm, was attending Stetson University. Deborah has also lived in Jacksonville, Atlanta, Virginia, Alabama, North Carolina, and Tallahassee. Deborah’s family has lived in the Northeast Florida area since before the civil war, but she also has roots in Indiana and South Carolina, going back over a century, as well. Deborah is married to her law partner, Steve Combs, and they have two children, one in college and one in high school. Deborah’s sister-in-law, Andrea Jevic is one of the associate lawyers at the firm, Deborah’s mother, Lynne Bain works at the firm part-time as a legal assistant, and Deborah’s dad is one of the of-counsel lawyers at the firm. Deborah really likes to keep things “All in the Family!”
Deborah graduated from Wolfson High School in Jacksonville in 1981, after which she attended her first year of college at Lynchburg College in Virginia, where she was a Montgomery Scholar and was inducted into the Phi Eta Sigma Academic Honor Society. After graduating with a degree in Studio Art from Florida State University in 1985, Deborah worked in advertising and as a graphic artist/graphic designer, until she began attending law school in 1988. Maybe that’s why her trial notebooks and demonstrative aids for trials always look so darn good!
In 1988, Deborah wanted to go back to school for a masters degree, and a PhD, as well. She was thinking about studying humanities or art history, and eventually teaching at the college level . . . but her dad convinced her to go to law school instead, and she received her Juris Doctor, with high honors, from the Florida State University College of Law (graduating in the top 10% of her class) (just like her father before her, who also graduated from FSU law school, with honors, 20 years earlier)!
But not to worry . . . even though Deborah would have made an excellent teacher, her abilities in that area still shine through in her law practice, as she is able to explain legal concepts, and the law and rules that will be applied to her clients’ cases, in such a way that her clients are able to understand the issues they are facing with clarity and confidence. And not only is Deborah a great teacher . . . she has a great memory, as well. In fact, she is often able to remember some nuance, fact or circumstance relevant to a client’s case even better than the client during hearings, mediations and trials.
Deborah is also a very hard worker. While obtaining her education (from high school all the way through law school), Deborah always worked, including waiting tables at the famous Beach Road Chicken Dinners in Jacksonville, teaching piano lessons, working as a secretary, and playing the piano in the piano bar at the Tallahassee Hilton Hotel.
Deborah grew up as a member of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) when it was still downtown and she participated (as a youth board member) in the historic debate and vote which ultimately led to its relocation to Mandarin, where it is still located. Deborah was a member of the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where she lived between attending college and law school. Deborah was also a member of Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), where she served on the Board and Diaconate and as an adult Sunday School teacher. Deborah and Steve were on the Board of Central Christian Church when it merged with Eastside Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) (a predominantly African American congregation), and when its name was changed to Springfield Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Deborah has also been a youth sponsor, youth Sunday School teacher, church camp counselor, and the pianist for Sunday services. Deborah and her husband, Steve, are currently members at Riverside Avenue Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), in Jacksonville, Florida, where they also previously served as Deacons.
Deborah still enjoys playing the piano and composing music, both melodies and lyrics, and she has written over a dozen songs over the years and Deborah’s daughter is an excellent pianist and vocalist . . . and Deborah has really enjoyed sharing with her a passion for music. Deborah also enjoys interior decorating. She has not only decorated her own home, and the Combs Greene law offices, but she has also helped her friends decorate their homes, as well.
Deborah also loves art, and attending museum exhibits. Deborah has framed posters hanging in her office from the Picasso Matisse Exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2003, which she and Steve attended. This is, so far, Deborah’s favorite museum exhibit . . . which isn’t surprising since her favorite artists are Pablo Picasso and Henry Matisse! Deborah loves art so much that she even served as the “art lady” at her son’s elementary school for a couple of years, visiting the classroom once each month and introducing the children to various artists, styles of art, and ways of looking at and analyzing art. And Deborah’s son has evidently also developed her love of art, as he is working on getting a minor in Art History!
Deborah and Steve, also enjoy reading books, attending movies together, and traveling (both at home and abroad). Deborah’s favorite movies are The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind, and her favorite book is The Little Prince (but she also loves To Kill a Mockingbird, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Little Women and The Secret Garden). Deborah has also developed a penchant for purses and shoes, which she favors in bright, fun colors! In fact, Deborah loves bright colors so much that she even has a pink dictionary! And since Deborah has an innate love for language and words, she doesn’t hesitate to pull out the pink dictionary to look up the nuances of word meanings with the lawyers and staff at Combs Greene! In fact, there’s a running joke that you’re not really a part of the family at Combs Greene until you’ve looked something up with Deborah in her pink dictionary!
Deborah often says that there are no guarantees in law or in life . . . and that she will make no guarantees about what will ultimately happen in any given case . . . but she also says that she will commit to do her very best for her clients, including being a “straight shooter” as to the probabilities of obtaining a desired outcome, to using her creativity, attention to detail, litigation skills, legal knowledge and many years of experience litigating family law issues, to zealously advocate for her clients.
Top Attorney Superb 10.0 | Avvo | Family
Top Attorney Superb 10.0 | Avvo | Appeals
Top Attorney Superb 10.0 | Avvo | Commercial
Top Attorney Superb 10.0 | Avvo | Personal Injury
Avvo Client’s Choice Award | Family | 2012 and 2013
Avvo Client’s Choice Award | Appeals | 2012 and 2013
Avvo Client’s Choice Award | Commercial | 2012 and 2013
Avvo Client’s Choice Award | Personal Injury | 2012 and 2013
Bar Register of Pre-Eminent Lawyers
The Florida Bar Association | Member
Jacksonville Bar Association | Member
United States District Court | Middle District of Florida | Member
United States District Court | Bankruptcy Court | Member
United States District Court | District of Arizona & Central District, California | Previous Member | 1993
Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeal | Previous Member | 1994
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal | Previous Member | 1994
Florida Family Law Inn of Courts | Master of the Inn
Jacksonville Women’s Lawyer’s Association | President 2005 to 2006
The Florida Bar Local Grievance Committee “C” | Chair 2008 | Vice Chair 2007
The Florida Bar Rules of Judicial Administration Committee | Former Member | 2009 to 2011
The Florida Bar Family Law Rules Committee | Current Member
Jacksonville Bar Association | Current Member | Previously Served on Professionalism Committee
Book Award Law & Groups | 1989
Book Award Civil Rights Survey | 1990
Phi Alpha Delta | Florida State University | Vice-Justice 1990 to 1991
The Women’s Law Symposium | Florida State University | President 1990 to 1991
Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society | Lynchburg College | Lynchburg, Virginia | Inducted 1981
National Honor Society | Wolfson High School | Jacksonville, Florida | Inducted 1979
The Society of Distinguished American High School Students | Jacksonville, Florida | 1979
Moderator | Annual Judicial Panel | Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association | 2006
Moderator | Judicial Candidate Forum | Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association | 2006
Speaker | Mandarin Newcomers Club | Jacksonville, Florida | 2006
Presenter | Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association Women Lawyer of the Year Award to Judge Eleni Derke | 2006
Presentations on behalf of Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association to Judges at Investitures | Judge Dan Wilensky 2007 | Judge Kevin Blazs 2006 | Judge Mallory D. Cooper 2005 | Judge Angela Cox 2005
Member of Panel for Panel Discussion | The Women’s Law Students Association | Florida Coastal School of Law | Jacksonville, Florida | 2004, 2005 and 2006
Speaker | Rotary International Baker County, Florida Chapter | 2004
Program Participant | The Florida Family Law Inn of Court | Jacksonville, Florida | 2003, 2004
Speaker | Practicing With Professionalism Seminars | Jacksonville, Florida | 1999, 2000
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