Debra A. Walling has been Dearborn's corporation counsel since January 1993. Her career with the City began in 1990, as member of the Department of Law. Specializing in real estate, tax appeals, zoning and election matters, she was responsible for all contractual work in the sale of the former Calvin Theatre, the development of West Village and Georgetown Commons, the redevelopment of Dearborn Hills Golf Course and the development of Mystic Creek Golf course at Camp Dearborn.
Walling also negotiated the oil and gas drilling leases for Camp Dearborn and the sale of over 300 City-owned residential/commercial lots. She represents the City in all major litigation in state and federal courts and supervises a staff of six attorneys and support staff.
A native of East Palestine, Ohio, Walling was her high school graduating class valedictorian. She earned her B.A. and J.D. degrees from Ohio Northern University in 1978 and 1981, respectively. She is licensed to practice law in Michigan and Ohio.
During law school, she worked as a youth counselor for the Allen County Juvenile Court in Lima, Ohio. She then practiced personal injury and corporate law in Columbus, Ohio, before moving to Michigan in 1984. Walling was an assistant City attorney in Troy, Michigan, for six years before coming to Dearborn. There she prosecuted criminal and traffic violations and defended the Troy Police Department in litigation.
The Michigan Supreme Court appointed Walling to the State Bar Board of Commissioners in 2003 for a three-year term.
In 2005, she was the first woman to be elected president of the Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys (MAMA).
She also serves on the Judicial Candidate Evaluation Committee of the Detroit Bar Association, is the past chair of the Public Corporation Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan and still serves on its council.
She is a former trustee of Henry Ford Hospital-Fairlane and the Western region and a member of the Michigan, Detroit and Dearborn Bar Associations as well as the International Municipal Lawyers Association, the Michigan Association of Planning Officials and the Dearborn Lions Club.