Women in Law 2022

DEBBIE KLEBAN MANAGING PARTNER Applegate & Thorne-Thomsen D ebbie Kleban is managing partner of Applegate & Thorne- Thomsen, a national leader in affordable housing and community development. An associate at Schiff Hardin when she was invited to join four senior partners in founding A&TT, Debbie was the only woman with a seat at the Founder’s table and an early champion of developing female talent. Her efforts, combined with the firm’s active commitment to fostering equal opportunities, has contributed to what is today a majority female partnership, with female senior management. In addition to overseeing the firm’s overall strategy and operations, she established A&TT’s New Markets Tax Credit team, a stellar group of attorneys and paralegals representing borrowers, investors, and lenders in connection with projects and businesses financed utilizing NMTC allocation. Strong commitments to clients (and the communities they serve) and colleagues alike characterize Debbie’s career. The former is evident, among many other places, at the intersection of 61st and Cottage Grove Avenue in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood, where three of Kleban’s projects anchor this previously underserved community. On one corner is the Hussain MetroSquash Center, home to a pioneering program seeking to engage students academically through the sport of squash. Across from it, a Jewel-Osco caters to the former food desert, and a childcare center provides services on a third corner. In addition to these projects, Debbie has overseen the closing of multiple development deals over the last 18 months. The North Austin Community Center stands out among them, both for its impact in the community -- making available best-in-class indoor athletic and other recreational facilities to an estimated 25,000 children annually in a previously vacant brownfield site – and for its complexity, accommodating the desired outcomes of four separate collaborating organizations (North Austin Community Center, By the Hand Club for Kids, Intentional Sports and Grace and Peace Church) within the requirements of a complex financing structure that involved Federal, State and private financing sources. Debbie seeks to inspire her colleagues to contribute their best selves to the firm. She actively mentors attorneys and staff, and, having long been an active participant in the Women in Tax Credits industry group, she has also fostered the development of a similar women’s group within the firm. As one example, Debbie worked closely with a young woman who joined the firm as a receptionist through a job training program. Together, they crafted a career plan to help the woman develop the relevant skills that have since led to her current role as senior paralegal at A&TT. An active participant in the New Markets Tax Credit industry, Debbie is a member of the Novogradac New Markets Tax Credit Working Group and the New Markets Tax Credit Coalition, helping advocate for legislative improvements to and permanency of the New Markets Tax Credit program. Since 1998, Kleban has been involved in various roles with Deborah’s Place, a provider of housing and services for homeless women in Chicago. She is a former Board President and current member of the Board Emeritus and two subsidiary boards, and is an active volunteer.




Powered by