Debo P. Adegbile


Debo P. Adegbile


  • Chair, Anti-Discrimination Practice

Debo P. Adegbile, a member of the Government and Regulatory Litigation Group, focuses his practice on a range of matters at the intersection of law, business and government policy. He has significant experience in commercial, government-facing and appellate litigation, as well as strategic counseling in high-stakes cases, anti-discrimination matters and investigations. Mr. Adegbile co-chairs the firm's Anti-Discrimination Practice. In addition to his practice at the firm, Mr. Adegbile currently serves as a commissioner on the US Commission on Civil Rights, appointed by President Obama in 2016. 

His broad legal understanding is drawn from years of experience in the top tier of the law firm, government and not-for-profit sectors, including roles with the Senate Judiciary Committee and in the leadership of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF), Inc.

Mr. Adegbile's recent representations include municipalities and local government agencies involved in US Department of Justice (DOJ) investigations and/or False Claims Act litigation; leading social media companies responding to anti-discrimination inquiries; educational institutions in connection with investigations, strategic advice and federal litigation, including the recent successful defense of Harvard University’s admissions policies and practices; a major cultural organization in an internal investigation; financial institutions and trade associations in connection with federal fair lending compliance and/or investigations and putative ERISA class actions. He has served as counsel to a number of clients regarding Consumer Financial Protection Bureau enforcement matters, and in connection with DOJ policing “pattern or practice” investigations. Mr. Adegbile also advises private sector and not-for-profit entities on a range of sensitive legal issues. 

Mr. Adegbile is a frequent speaker on Supreme Court and anti-discrimination law topics and has testified before Congress on multiple occasions.

Prior Experience

Mr. Adegbile began his career as commercial litigator at a leading large New York law firm where, for seven years, he litigated complex commercial cases involving contracts, international arbitration, antitrust, patents, employment, First Amendment, civil rights, zoning and real estate interests. There Mr. Adegbile also handled multiple internal and regulator-facing investigations.

From 2013-2014, Mr. Adegbile served as senior counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee, in which capacity he advised Committee Chairman Senator Leahy on a range of issues, including Supreme Court jurisprudence and litigation, the First Amendment, voting rights, national security, intellectual property and nominations.

Mr. Adegbile spent more than a decade working for LDF, where he served in several leadership roles. At LDF, he served as the director of litigation and supervised complex civil and criminal cases in trial and appellate courts, including the US Supreme Court. Mr. Adegbile led LDF to several major victories. From 2012 to early 2013, he served as LDF's acting president and director counsel. In 2013, Mr. Adegbile argued his second US Supreme Court case: Shelby County v. Holder. Previously, Mr. Adegbile argued Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder in the US Supreme Court.

Community Involvement

Mr. Adegbile is the vice chair of the Vera Institute of Justice's board of trustees. He is also the vice chair of the Connecticut College board of trustees. From 1995-2002, he served as the first president of the board of The Catalog of Giving, a not-for-profit dedicated to supporting effective youth-serving organizations in New York City. He also served on the board of trustees of Manhattan Country School, an independent school in New York City, for 18 years, including service as board chairman.

Professional Activities

Named to the NYU School of Law Board of Trustees in 2017. 


  • National Bar Association Vince Monroe Townsend Jr. Legends Award (2019)
  • The Brotherhood/Sister Sol Ella Baker & César Chávez Award for Positive Community Change (2019)
  • Legal Services NYC (LSNYC) Public Service Leadership Honoree (2017)
  • First recipient of the Latino Justice Vanguard Award (2016)
  • New York Metro Super Lawyers list for appellate litigation (2015-2018)
  • The Nigerian Lawyers Association's Law & Justice Award (2015)
  • NYU School of Law BALSA Derrick A. Bell Jr. Award for Distinguished Achievement in Public Service (2015)
  • American Constitution Society Keeping Faith with the Constitution Award (2014)
  • The Bronx Defenders Partner in the Pursuit of Justice Award (2014)
  • Southern Center for Human Rights Frederick Douglass Equal Justice Award (2014) 
  • National Voting Rights Museum Institute Freedom Flame Award (2013)
  • Power 100 List of the Nation's Most Influential Black Attorneys (2013)
  • Root 100 List of Top African-American Achievers and Influencers (2012, 2009)
  • Council of Urban Professionals Catalyst Law Award (2012)
  • NYU School of Law BLAPA Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award (2012)
  • Alumnus of the Month, NYU School of Law (July 2010)
  • Chauncey Eskridge Award, SCLC (2009)
  • National Public Service Award, Stanford Law School (2009)

Insights & News


  • Education

    • JD, New York University School of Law, 1994

    • BA, Government, Connecticut College, 1991

      Recipient, Anna Lord Strauss Medal
  • Admissions

    • New York

    • US Supreme Court

  • Government Experience

    • Federal Legislative Branch

      US Senate

      Senior Counsel, Committee on the Judiciary
    • US Commission on Civil Rights