Adegbile_Debo

Debo P. Adegbile

Adegbile_Debo

Debo P. Adegbile

Partner

  • Chair, Anti-Discrimination Practice

Debo P. Adegbile, a partner in 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 also advises clients in connection with congressional inquiries and testimony and has himself testified before congressional committees on multiple occasions. In addition, he currently serves as a commissioner on the US Commission on Civil Rights, appointed by President Obama in 2016. 

His broad legal experience draws upon years of practice in the law firm, government and not-for-profit sectors, including senior 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 healthcare, social media, and financial institutions responding to anti-discrimination investigations or algorithmic bias inquiries; investment advisors assessing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategies; leading corporations and nonprofits in connection with racial equity audits or reviews; educational institutions in connection with investigations, strategic advice and federal and state litigation, including the successful defense of Harvard University’s admissions policies and practices; a major cultural organization in an internal investigation; and financial institutions and trade associations in connection with federal fair lending compliance and/or investigations. He has also advised a number of clients in connection with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau enforcement matters. Mr. Adegbile also has substantial experience representing municipalities and law enforcement entities in connection with DOJ policing “pattern or practice” investigations or police reform efforts.

In 2020, Mr. Adegbile was appointed by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals as amicus curiae to brief and argue an en banc Fair Housing Act appeal regarding an issue of first impression.

Mr. Adegbile is a frequent speaker on Supreme Court and anti-discrimination law topics.

Prior Experience

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

Mr. Adegbile then spent more than a decade working for LDF, where he served in several leadership roles. As the director of litigation, he 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. While at LDF, Mr. Adegbile argued two major US Supreme Court voting rights cases: Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder, and Shelby County v. Holder.

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.

Community Involvement

Mr. Adegbile is the chair of the Connecticut College board of trustees and the vice chair of the Vera Institute of Justice's board of trustees. From 1995 to 2002, he served as the first president of the board of The Catalog of Giving (now Spark Youth), 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 as board chairman.

Professional Activities

Named to the University of the District of Columbia School of Law Joseph L. Rauh, Jr. Chair of Civil Rights in 2020, the Center for Democracy and Technology Advisory Council in 2020, and the NYU School of Law Board of Trustees in 2017. 

Recognition

  • The American Lawyer Northeast Trailblazer (2021)
  • NYU Law School Order of the Coif Honoree (2021)
  • New York Law Journal New York Trailblazer (2020)
  • 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

Credentials

  • 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

      Commissioner

Credentials