Allegations of discrimination can pose serious threats to clients' values, reputations and revenues. WilmerHale helps clients understand and comply with anti-discrimination laws, navigate enforcement actions and investigations, and litigate if charges of misconduct arise.


A complex array of anti-discrimination laws and regulations governs conduct for US businesses, nonprofits, educational institutions and government entities. These laws can change rapidly, and new industries, innovative products and business practices can present novel interpretations that clients must navigate. WilmerHale's deep bench of lawyers counsels clients on compliance, helps clients investigate potential violations, and defends clients in enforcement actions and litigation. Our clients have the advantage of assembling a team that includes a US Commission on Civil Rights Commissioner and former NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Director of Litigation; former US Deputy Attorneys General and an Associate Deputy Attorney General; a former US Department of Homeland Security Deputy Secretary; a former US Solicitor General; and a former senior official in the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's Law Department—all of whom practice at the forefront of anti-discrimination issues.

Our lawyers also craft successful resolutions of controversies; are attuned to shifting enforcement priorities of regulators; and bring a deep commitment to the principles of equality, fairness and inclusion, as demonstrated by their leading work on marriage equality, death penalty, voting rights, freedom of speech, housing discrimination, criminal justice, human trafficking and immigration matters.

Contacts

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Adegbile, Debo

Debo P. Adegbile

Co-Chair, Anti-Discrimination Practice

+1 212 295 6717 (t)

debo.adegbile@wilmerhale.com

Danielle Conley

Danielle Y. Conley

Co-Chair, Anti-Discrimination Practice

+1 202 663 6006 (t)

danielle.conley@wilmerhale.com

Our Practice

WilmerHale has worked to advance equality under the law for generations, and our lawyers have extensive experience representing clients in anti-discrimination matters in a variety of courts and regulatory bodies. In addition to litigating in federal and state courts, our lawyers represent clients before the Department of Justice, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Labor, the Department of Education, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and in state attorney general inquiries and before state agencies. Our clients include leading corporations, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations and municipalities addressing high-profile anti-discrimination investigations and litigation. We counsel a range of private and public clients on compliance with anti-discrimination laws, including the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses; Titles IV, VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; Americans with Disabilities Act; Rehabilitation Act; Fair Housing Act; Equal Credit Opportunity Act; and other federal and state anti-discrimination statutes.

Compliance With Anti-Discrimination Laws: Our clients are among the world's leading private and public institutions. As these clients shape their industries, they rely on WilmerHale to help them understand and navigate inclusion initiatives, anti-discrimination laws and regulations that may impact their business models.

Fair Lending: Federal and state regulators are increasingly focused on credit criteria, marketing and other lending practices prevalent in the industry. WilmerHale has experience advising clients in virtually all types of fair lending matters, from internal investigations or routine reviews of practices to supervisory examinations and defense of institutions in enforcement actions and litigations. Capitalizing on our longstanding experience, we ensure that clients' lending practices are compliant, and we are often called upon to handle the most complex and high-stakes litigation and enforcement matters in this area. Learn More

Higher Education: Institutions of higher education routinely face decisions on the most pressing and sensitive issues of the day. WilmerHale handles complex, sensitive, high-profile anti-discrimination matters for educational institutions—from counseling university leaders on affirmative action and evolving legal requirements to handling defensive and affirmative litigation and responding to government inquiries on compliance with anti-discrimination laws.

Technology and Social Media: Clients in the social media and "sharing economy" space increasingly face challenges related to free speech, anti-discrimination law compliance and online abuse. WilmerHale works with clients seeking to create and strengthen online communities and platforms to navigate these complex challenges wherever they develop.

Diversity and Inclusion: Companies and organizations seeking to increase the diversity of their personnel rely on WilmerHale to counsel them on relevant laws and to design and implement effective and legally compliant initiatives to increase diversity under those laws.

Policing Reform: In recent years, law enforcement policies and practices have come under increased scrutiny from the public and regulators. WilmerHale has exceptional skill and credibility in counseling municipalities and law enforcement agencies seeking to reform their policies and practices to better serve their communities, and in representing municipalities and law enforcement agencies in investigations by the US Department of Justice.

Pro Bono: We are, as we have always been, a national leader in pro bono services and charitable activities. Through our pro bono work, we have devoted considerable resources to and have become well versed in handling the most pressing legal and social issues of the day, including matters related to marriage equality, the death penalty, voting rights, freedom of speech, housing discrimination, criminal justice, human trafficking and immigration.

Publications & News

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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.”

April 13, 2017

Property Management Company's Refusal to Rent to District Voucher Holders is Unlawful Discrimination

The Equal Rights Center, a civil rights organization that seeks to promote equal opportunity in housing, filed a lawsuit against The Lenkin Company Management, Inc., a residential property management firm, and related entities for violating the DC Human Rights Act and the federal Fair Housing Act for discriminatory rental practices.

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.

September 2, 2016

Partner Debo Adegbile Helps Nextdoor Curb Racial Profiling on Neighborhood Networks

When Nextdoor, a private social network for neighborhoods, realized that some members were engaging in racial profiling when reporting “suspicious” people and activities in their communities, the company was determined to respond.

August 23, 2016

High Court Inclusive Communities Ruling: 1 Year Later

In this article published by Law360, authors David Ogden, Franca Harris Gutierrez, Debo Adegbile, Michael Gordon, Stephen Carey, Sky Lynn Perryman and Adriel Cepeda Derieux analyze the evolution of disparate impact doctrine since the court's Inclusive Communities decision, with a particular focus on how the decision appears to be affecting enforcement cases brought by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

July 14, 2016

Brooklyn Defender Services Recognizes WilmerHale’s Pro Bono Contributions

The firm has provided pro bono support to the Family Defense Practice in parents' rights cases since 2011, and several current and former WilmerHale lawyers have served on the organization's advisory board.

June 16, 2016

WilmerHale Wins Bank of America Award for Diversity and Inclusion

WilmerHale was recognized for creating an internal culture that encourages the recruitment, retention, mentoring and promotion of diverse attorneys.

June 8, 2016

WilmerHale Hires New Head of Diversity and Inclusion

WilmerHale has hired Nimesh Patel from the US Department of Homeland Security to lead diversity and inclusion at the firm.

May 20, 2016

The Future of CFPB Small Business Lending Regulation

In this article published by Law360, Michael Gordon and Franca Harris Gutierrez highlight the role played by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in regulating small business lending.