Oral History of Barbara Paul Robinson

Barbara Paul Robinson, a retired partner, has always been a pioneer. In addition to serving as the first woman President of The Association of the Bar of the City of New York and becoming the first woman partner at Debevoise, she created tailored solutions for her clients. Her practice included representation of several major private foundations. She also oversaw tax planning for individual clients and established various investment vehicles for private investors, such as partnerships and closely-held corporations.

Ms. Robinson's lawyering skills are rivaled only by her leadership skills. She was the former head of the Trusts & Estates Department and served as President of The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, which has a membership of over 21,000 lawyers, Ms. Robinson held many other leadership positions within and outside the firm. Among others, her duties at the City Bar have included Vice President (1990-1991); Chair of the Executive Committee (1989-1990, member 1986-1991); Chair of the Committee on Honors (1993-1994); and Chair of the Nominating Committee (1984-1985, 1998-1999). She served as Treasurer of Catalyst, Inc. as well as being on its Board of Directors and is an honorary director. She currently serves on the boards pf the William Nelson Cromwell Foundation, Uphill Foundation, Panaphil Foundation, the American Friends of the British Museum and is Trustee Emeritus of Bryn Mawr College. She served as President of the Board of Trustees of The Trinity School, Chair of the board of the Foundation for Child Development, Vice Chair of the John A. Hartford Foundation and on the Mayors' Commission on Women's Issues and the boards of Wave Hill, Ocean Conservancy, Teagle Foundation, Greenwall Foundation, Citizens Union Foundation and American Arbitration Association. She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She received The American Lawyer 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award and she was awarded the Laura Parsons Pratt Award by the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, which honors an individual who has been particularly effective in improving the status of women and children. In 2001 she was honored with the Annual Partnership Award by Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A.

In addition, Ms. Robinson was a member of the Yale University Council, and from 1987-1993, served as President of the Yale Law School Association of New York. Ms. Robinson is a member of the American Bar Association and served on its Commission on Women in the Profession. She is also a member of the New York State Bar Association and is a Fellow of the New York Bar Foundation, the American Bar Foundation and a former Fellow of the American College of Trust & Estate Counsel.

Ms. Robinson joined Debevoise in 1966 and became a partner in 1976. In 1967, Ms. Robinson broke new ground by establishing the Debevoise flex-time program for child-rearing attorneys, one of the first of its kind in New York City. She received her A.B. magna cum laude with honors from Bryn Mawr College in 1962 and her J.D. from Yale Law School in 1965, where she was a member of the Order of the Coif and an Editor of the Yale Law Journal.

Curriculum Vitae