Hon. Leonie M. Brinkema, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia


Columbia Law School, J.D., 1999

  • Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar
  • Senior Editor, Columbia Law Review

Amherst College, B.A., magna cum laude, 1996


  • Spanish
Photo of Ellen D. Marcus

Ellen D. Marcus


Ellen D. Marcus represents both plaintiffs and defendants in complex civil litigation, including in the fast-paced U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and in federal and state court throughout Virginia. Ms. Marcus has a track record of bringing cases to successful and cost-effective resolution for clients, often in matters where clients face better-funded adversaries. This includes CEOs and CFOs disputing the amount of severance paid them by their former employers, small business owners accused by larger competitors of tortiously interfering with contracts, lawyers defending against disciplinary charges, and consumers who were the victims of fraud.

Ms. Marcus also maintains an active pro bono practice representing hourly-wage workers. For her work on behalf of day laborers, Ms. Marcus was awarded the 2008 Pro Bono Service Award from the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland.

Ms. Marcus co-founded and is a contributing editor of Suits by Suits, a blog examining disputes between companies and high-level employees, including recent court cases involving employment contracts, severance and non-compete agreements, trade secrets, stock plans, the fiduciary duties of directors and officers, and federal and state labor and nondiscrimination laws.

Before joining Zuckerman Spaeder LLP, Ms. Marcus was an associate at Debevoise & Plimpton in Washington, DC. Before that, she clerked for the Hon. Leonie M. Brinkema of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Ms. Marcus received her law degree from the Columbia School of Law, where she was a senior editor for the Columbia Law Review and a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. She received her bachelor’s degree in political science, magna cum laude, from Amherst College.

Professional Highlights

  • Ms. Marcus and her colleagues represented the founder and former CEO of a publicly-traded banking technology company who had been forced out by a large investor. After a nearly three-week trial in Fairfax Circuit Court in Virginia, the jury awarded the client $5.3 million. Ms. Marcus was a member of the trial team and also argued and won the associated motion for reimbursement of legal expenses, resulting in the court ordering the company to pay the client’s legal fees.
  • Ms. Marcus argued and, with her colleagues, won the certification by an Arkansas state court of a class of approximately 48,000 consumers from five different states who had purchased limited benefits health insurance policies. The class alleged that the policies had been marketed as providing substantially more coverage than they actually provided. The court ultimately approved a settlement for the class valued at more than $40 million.
  • Ms. Marcus recovered unpaid wages and additional damages for Maryland day laborers who traveled to the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina to perform clean-up and recovery work and who were not paid for their work by their employers. For her work on the case, Ms. Marcus was awarded the Pro Bono Service Award from the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland. 

Mentioned & Quoted


Recent Posts on Suits by Suits

Bar Admissions

Court Admissions

Professional Affiliations

  • Member, Federal Bar Association, Northern Virginia Chapter
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Co-Founder and Contributing Editor, Suits by Suits
  • Member, Labor Relations and Employment Law Section, Virginia Bar Association