Danielle Y. Conley


Danielle Y. Conley


  • Co-Chair, Anti-Discrimination Practice

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. Ms. Conley rejoined the firm in 2017 after serving as Associate Deputy Attorney General at the US Department of Justice.

Ms. Conley co-chairs the firm's Anti-Discrimination Practice and has significant experience representing companies and universities in a wide range of civil rights and anti-discrimination matters. She regularly conducts sensitive internal investigations regarding allegations of sexual misconduct and discrimination. She also has significant experience conducting workplace culture reviews and counseling clients on best practices to prevent and effectively respond to sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation, as well as on diversity and inclusion initiatives.

At DOJ, 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.

  • With a Decision Deemed a “Defiant Defense of Affirmative Action,” WilmerHale Secures Trial Victory for Harvard

    A WilmerHale team achieved a victory on all counts for Harvard University in a high-profile challenge to the use of race in its undergraduate admissions process. 

    October 18, 2019
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  • Danielle Conley Named Among Diversity Journal’s Women Worth Watching

    Diversity Journal recognized Danielle Conley on its annual list of Women Worth Watching, which celebrates women who have made significant contributions to their organization.

    September 27, 2018
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  • 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 8, 2018
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  • Litigation and Investigations

    • Secured judgment on all counts for Harvard University in a case challenging its use of race in the undergraduate admissions process following a three-week federal bench trial
    • Conducted an independent corporate culture review of a financial institution’s sexual harassment policies and procedures, and provided advice to improve the firm’s culture and foster best practices following the filing of a lawsuit alleging gender discrimination  
    • 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 multiple 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 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 


  • Award Text

    40 Under 40

    Washington DC

    Washingtonian magazine, April 2017

  • Award Text

    Top Minority Business Leader

    Greater Washington DC

    2015 Washington business journal 

  • Award Text

    Pickering Fellowship

    NAACP Legal Defense Fund


Ms. Conley received the 2018 Women Worth Watching Award from Profiles in Diversity Journal.

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. 

Insights & News


  • Education

    • JD, Howard University School of Law, 2003

      cum laude Staff Editor, Howard Law Journal; Member, Charles Hamilton Houston National Moot Court Team
    • BA, English and African Diaspora Studies, Tulane University, 2000

  • Admissions

    • District of Columbia

    • New York

    • US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

  • Clerkships

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