The Honorable Deborah H. Karalunas obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell University in 1978 and graduated cum laude from Syracuse University College of Law in 1982. At the College of Law, Karalunas was a member of the International Law Review, Moot Court and Justinian Honor Society. Following law school, Karalunas clerked for United States District Court Judge Howard G. Munson in the Northern District of New York. In 1983, Karalunas joined the law firm of Bond, Schoeneck & King in Syracuse, New York where she later became a partner. In 2002 Karalunas was elected to serve as a Supreme Court Justice in the 5th Judicial District. She presides over a panoply of civil cases including commercial, personal injury, medical malpractice, intellectual property, constitutional and environmental. In 2007 Karalunas was appointed Presiding Justice of the Supreme Court, Commercial Division, Onondaga County, and in 2017 she was appointed to the New York State Committee on Pattern Jury Instructions. She also is Chair of the 5th Judicial District Women in the Courts Committee.
Justice Karalunas is a member of the New York State Bar Association, the Central New York Women’s Bar Association, the Onondaga County Bar Association, the Armenian Bar Association, and the National Women Judges Association. In addition to leading various committees and sections, Karalunas served on the Board of Directors of the Onondaga County Bar Association and the Central New York Women’s Bar Association. She was President of the Central New York Women’s Bar Association, Presiding Member of the Judicial Section of the New York State Bar Association, Trustee of the Onondaga County Bar Foundation, and President of the Association of Justices of the Supreme Court of the State of New York.
Karalunas teaches New York Civil Practice at Syracuse University College of Law. She is Editor of the Judicial Dispatch and author of a chapter in the treatise Commercial Litigation in New York State Courts. Karalunas serves on the Curriculum Committee for the New York State Judicial Summer Seminars, is a longstanding faculty member of the NYSBA Young Lawyers Trial Academy, and lectures frequently on many substantive law and trial practice topics.
Justice Karalunas was the 2009 recipient of the Syracuse University College of Law Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award, the 2017 recipient of the Central New York Women’s Bar Association’s inaugural Karen DeCrow Award, and a 2018 Public Service Honoree of the Armenian Bar Association.
Outside of her work for the judiciary, Karalunas has been active in her church serving as an Elder, youth group leader, mission trip chaperone, Sunday School teacher and room volunteer.
Karalunas lives in Jamesville, New York with her husband, George. They have three children, Sarah (Nick), Evan (Samantha) and Brian, and three grandchildren, Julian, Alina and Elliot.