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Douglas Elliman has named Deva Roberts as executive vice president and general counsel for the brokerage, the company told Inman exclusively.
Roberts, who previously served as senior vice president and associate general counsel at the brokerage, succeeds Kenneth Haber, who had filled both roles since 2004 and who will now shift to an advisory capacity for the brokerage as senior managing director.
“I am delighted for Deva to assume this critical role so capably and expertly performed by Ken Haber for the past 19 years,” Douglas Elliman Executive Chairman Howard M. Lorber said in a statement released Friday.
“Ken was our first hire upon acquiring Douglas Elliman and he was instrumental in the growth of the company to its current position as the premiere residential brokerage in the country,” Lorber added. “I want to congratulate Deva on this well-deserved promotion and express my gratitude to Ken for agreeing to extend his many years of dedicated and invaluable service to Douglas Elliman as senior managing director.”
“I can think of no one better qualified than Deva to succeed Ken Haber,” Douglas Elliman CEO Scott Durkin added. “I’m very much looking forward to working with her in this new capacity and delighted that Ken will remain part of the Elliman community.”
Roberts spent over a decade working as a litigator at Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP — a firm that specializes in product liability litigation, corporate, family and employment law, intellectual property, bankruptcy and creditors’ rights — before making the move to Douglas Elliman in January 2022. Throughout her career, Roberts’ scope of legal representation has included corporations, partnerships, financial institutions, real estate companies and individuals in compliance and investigations, and disputes over contracts, intellectual property and fraud in federal and state courts.
For the past year, Roberts has helped manage outside litigation alongside Haber while also assisting agents with the day-to-day legal issues that come up in their business, helping Douglas Elliman’s brokers across the country with any legal issues, and working with human resources on the more sensitive topics that arise in their sphere.
Though Roberts seems to thrive on it all, she told Inman that helping agents has been one of the more rewarding parts of the job for her.
“That’s really the part of the job that I enjoy the most because it’s sort of simplifying complex legal issues for people during a really difficult time because you know, for the agent, this is their livelihood,” Roberts said. “So when stuff comes up, it’s really very close to their heart. So that’s the part that I really enjoy.”
As a woman under 40 being placed at the helm of Douglas Elliman’s legal team, the accomplishment is a significant one for Roberts as an individual and as a female in the legal industry.
“I am humbled to be entrusted with this responsibility and deeply grateful to Ken Haber for his guidance and support in transitioning into my new role,” Roberts said in a statement. “In the year since joining Douglas Elliman, we have been on an astonishing growth trajectory, and I am thrilled to play a part in what lies ahead for this great company.”
Roberts also acknowledged to Inman that the role will be a challenge for her, but one that she’s prepared to tackle head on.
“It’s a huge honor, and it’s exciting, but it would be dishonest to say that it’s not going to be a challenge,” she said. “It’s a challenge for anyone, but I don’t relate that to my age, and I feel very, very ready. Based on my experience at Kasowitz, from day one, I started leading teams of people, 10, 20 people on complex litigations, and that really does prepare you to be a jack of all trades. I know it sounds sort of cliché, but it trains your brain.”
After she received her BA from Johns Hopkins University in 2006, Roberts completed her JD in 2011 at New York Law School where she was an editor of the New York Law School Review. In addition to her work at Douglas Elliman, she also serves as a regular legal commentator for cable news networks like CNN and Fox Business.
“Serving as general counsel for Douglas Elliman truly has been the highlight of my professional career,” Haber said in a statement. “Having worked closely with Deva over the past year, I can attest to her legal intellect and work ethic. I look forward to continuing to work with her as she helps guide the company into the future.”
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