People

Danielle Y. Conley

Partner

Co-Chair, Anti-Discrimination Practice

Danielle Conley

Danielle Conley focuses her practice on high-stakes investigations and litigation involving the federal government, as well as other multifaceted legal challenges spanning law, government policy and business. She has significant experience representing companies, universities and individuals in a wide range of complex litigation and regulatory enforcement matters, including civil rights and anti-discrimination matters. Ms. Conley also regularly conducts sensitive internal investigations for companies and non-profits with respect to executives accused of sexual misconduct, and has significant experience representing universities in government investigations and litigation arising from reported sexual misconduct incidents.

Ms. Conley co-chairs the firm's Anti-Discrimination Practice, which counsels a range of companies and organizations, including technology companies, universities and colleges, housing authorities, law enforcement agencies and municipalities, on anti-discrimination issues.

Ms. Conley rejoined the firm in 2017 after serving as Associate Deputy Attorney General at the US Department of Justice (DOJ), where she was a key advisor to Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. In that role, Ms. Conley provided strategic counsel to senior government officials on a broad range of regulatory, litigation and policy issues and managed some of the DOJ's most significant and high-profile civil rights litigation and enforcement actions. 

Prior to joining the DOJ, Ms. Conley represented major corporations, educational institutions and quasi-governmental entities before federal and state courts in complex commercial disputes, including contract and intellectual property disputes. She has also represented clients in civil litigation and government investigations involving regulatory regimes such as Title IX, the Fair Housing Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the False Claims Act, and the antitrust and competition laws.

Ms. Conley shares the firm's commitment to pro bono work. She has represented clients on a pro bono basis in cases involving complex issues of constitutional law, as well as in actions brought under the Voting Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. 

Honors & Awards

In April of 2017, Ms. Conley was recognized by Washingtonian Magazine as one of Washington DC's “40 Under 40.”

In 2015, the Washington Business Journal named Ms. Conley a Minority Business Leader. The list recognizes the entrepreneurial drive, creativity and success of the Greater Washington region's top minority business leaders.

Ms. Conley is a recipient of the firm's Pickering fellowship in Washington DC, established in honor of John H. Pickering. As a Pickering fellow, she spent six months practicing at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, an organization founded under the leadership of Thurgood Marshall that focuses on issues of education, voter protection, economic justice and criminal justice through advocacy and litigation. 

Publications & News

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March 8, 2018

The #MeToo Movement: The Critical Role of the Board in Preparing for, Responding to and Avoiding Sexual Misconduct Allegations

As the #MeToo movement gains momentum, companies in nearly every major industry are dealing with allegations of gender discrimination, sexual harassment or even sexual assault—including allegations of widespread misconduct and inappropriate behavior within the upper echelons of the corporate structure.

March 5, 2018

Department of Justice Launches New Initiative to Combat Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

On February 28, 2018, the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Civil Rights Division announced a new Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Initiative (SHWI) that will focus on combating workplace sexual harassment in the public sector.

October 16, 2017

DOJ Civil Rights Division Intensifies Efforts to Investigate Discrimination Against US Workers

On October 11, 2017, the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, Immigrant and Employee Rights Section and the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs announced a partnership aimed at protecting US workers from discrimination and combatting fraud by employers that misuse visas.

June 20, 2017

Court Determines That Grocer's Website Not Used to Sell Goods Is Public Accommodation Under the ADA

Last week, following a bench trial, a federal district judge in Florida concluded that the grocery store and pharmacy chain Winn-Dixie violated Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act because its website is not compatible with industry-standard screen-reading software used by visually impaired consumers.

June 16, 2017

OCR Guidance Could Alter Scope of Pending and Future Civil Rights Investigations

A memorandum obtained by ProPublica, if authentic, sets forth substantially revised guidance for civil rights investigations conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The memorandum, addressed to Regional Directors from Candice Jackson, OCR Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, explains that, going forward, “there is no longer a 'one size fits all' approach to investigation of any category of complaints.”

March 24, 2017

Associate Deputy Attorney General Danielle Conley Returns to WilmerHale

Danielle Conley, who concluded her service as Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States in January, is returning to WilmerHale as a partner in the firm's Regulatory and Government Affairs Department.

February 20, 2015

Danielle Conley Named a Minority Business Leader by the Washington Business Journal

The Washington Business Journal named Partner Danielle Conley to its 8th annual Minority Business Leaders list, which recognizes the entrepreneurial drive, creativity and success of the Greater Washington region's top minority business leaders.

January 29, 2015

False Claims Act: 2014 Year-in-Review

The federal government collected a record-breaking $5.7 billion in False Claims Act (FCA) recoveries in fiscal year (FY) 2014, up from $3.8 billion in FY 2013.

January 8, 2015

Law360 Profiles Danielle Conley in Minority Powerbrokers Q&A Series

Each year Law360 hosts a Minority Powerbrokers Q&A series, focusing on racial and ethnic diversity in the legal industry.

October 13, 2014

Firm Achieves Landmark Victory in Texas Voting Rights Case

On October 9, 2014, WilmerHale and its co-counsel, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF), secured a landmark civil rights victory when the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas struck down Texas’s highly restrictive voter photo identification law on the grounds that it violated the federal Voting Rights Act and the US Constitution.

Representative Matters

Litigation and Investigations

  • Conducted an internal investigation for a non-profit education organization based on allegations that one of its board members engaged in sexual misconduct several years ago
  • Represented a large state university system and its board of regents in connection with a high-profile internal investigation of the mishandling of domestic violence reports by senior university athletic and administrative personnel
  • Represented universities in Title IX and Rehabilitation Act investigations by the US Department of Education Office for Civil Rights and Clery Act investigations by the Office of Federal Student Aid 
  • Represented university in civil suit brought under Title IX and various state laws based on university's alleged mishandling of a sexual assault investigation 
  • Represented investment bank in class action seeking damages and injunctive relief for violations of federal and state anti-discrimination laws
  • Represented corporation in civil suit brought under the Sherman Act alleging price-fixing in the freight-forwarding sector
  • Represented regulated utility in government fraud investigation based on alleged Major Fraud Act and False Statements Act violations in the procurement of federal contracts
  • Represented major defense contractor in a high-stakes contract dispute in a three-week trial in Indiana state court
  • Represented large nonprofit corporation in a breach of contract action in federal court
  • Represented a national passenger railroad in an arbitration of a contract dispute
  • Represented insurance provider in a False Claims Act investigation based on allegations of overbilling
  • Represented a professional sports team in a class action seeking damages and injunctive relief for violation of federal anti-discrimination law

Pro Bono Matters

  • Represented individuals and a nonprofit organization in a trial in the Southern District of Texas challenging Texas's photo ID law under the Voting Rights Act
  • Represented Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus as amici curiae in Shelby County v. Holder, a constitutional challenge to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act
  • Represented proposed class of African-American homeowners in New Orleans in a lawsuit brought under the Fair Housing Act challenging a post-Katrina federal recovery program
  • Represented woman in Title VII lawsuit alleging discrimination in hiring and promotions at the DEA at trial and on appeal 

Practices

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Education

JD, cum laude, Howard University School of Law, 2003, Staff Editor, Howard Law Journal; Member, Charles Hamilton Houston National Moot Court Team

BA, English and African Diaspora Studies, Tulane University, 2000

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia

New York

Clerkships

The Hon. Rosemary M. Collyer, US District Court for the District of Columbia, 2004 - 2006

Government Experience

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