As a third-generation lawyer, Debra L. Thomas knew from a young age that she wanted to carry on the family tradition of practicing law. With a background in the fields of criminal defense and civil litigation, she is now a Senior Attorney and the Director of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) and Professional Development with Romanucci & Blandin.

Debra has played a significant role in securing numerous record-breaking multi-million-dollar verdicts and settlements on behalf of clients who have been harmed as a result of wrongful conduct. She most recently played an integral role as team member involved with the representation on behalf of the family of George Floyd, which resulted in a settlement with the City of Minneapolis for $27 million. In 2017, she served on the police misconduct trial team that secured a $44.7 million verdict at trial against the City of Chicago in a case where an off-duty police officer shot his friend in the head leaving him paralyzed. This was the largest verdict in Illinois and one of the largest in the country for a police misconduct case. In 2019, Debra helped secure a $21.3 million verdict at trial on behalf of the family of a mother of five young children who was killed in a car accident arising from a wrongful police chase. She also played an integral role in obtaining a $12.35 million settlement at the beginning of trial on behalf of the family of a young mother of three children in a medical malpractice case; the settlement was the largest recorded in Illinois for a misdiagnosis of breast cancer.

In addition to serving as an attorney for more than 15 years handling criminal defense and civil litigation matters, Debra earned a master’s degree in elementary education from DePaul University.

Debra’s unique background as an educator and significant experience in CLE coordination with the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) proves invaluable as the firm prepares for trial, and as we continue to develop and grow an in-house CLE program at Romanucci & Blandin.

Practice Areas

Education & Certifications

  • M.Ed., Elementary Education, DePaul University
  • J.D., Chicago-Kent College of Law
  • B.A., University of Michigan

Awards & Recognition

  • Chicago-Kent College of Law, Bar & Gavel Society Award, 2002

Notable Cases

  • Family of George Floyd v. City of Minneapolis and officers involved in Mr. Floyd’s death, March 2021, civil rights, $27M settlement
  • Confidential, February 2020, medical malpractice, $12.35M settlement
  • Carreon v. City of Chicago, April 2019, police chase, $21.3M verdict
  • LaPorta v. City of Chicago, October 2017, civil rights, $44.7M verdict

Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice

  • Illinois
  • Northern District of Illinois


Blog Posts


Speaking Engagements

  • Panelist, Careers in Law, University of Illinois Chicago College of Law, Chicago, IL, March 2023
  • Panelist, Women in Law, UIC Women's Law Caucus and the Justinian Society of Lawyers, Chicago, IL, February 2023
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