Colson & Harris LLP


J.D., cum laude, Harvard Law School, 1995; Executive Editor, Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review

B.A., with honors, Wesleyan University, 1991


  • New York State
  • State of Massachusetts
  • United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit


  • The Honorable Nina Gershon, United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, 1997-1999

Speaking Engagements

  • Panelist, "Running Your Own Law Firm," Harvard Law School, September 2013
  • Panelist, "Strategies for Handling Parallel Proceedings in Federal Court," New York City Bar Association, June 2012
  • Speaker, Federal Practice for State Practitioners, “Investigation, Arrest and Surrender, Bail, Complaints v. Indictments," U.S. Courthouse, September 2011
  • Panelist, "A Two Panel Debate: Can the criminal justice system handle all terrorism cases," William Mitchell College of Law, March 2009
  • Panelist, "Righting the Wrongs of the War on Terror," Cardozo School of Law, October 2008
  • Panelist, "Looking Past Guantanamo: Are New Concepts Needed for Terrorist-Related Detentions," Washington College of Law, American University, September 2008
  • Panelist, "ABCs of Federal Criminal Practice: A Practice Primer," New York City Bar Association, April 2006
  • Panelist, "Sentencing Advocacy After Booker/Fanfan," U.S. District Court, EDNY, November 2005

Publications and Reports

  • "The Case Against a Special Terrorism Court," Human Rights First (March 2009)
  • "Tortured Justice: Using Coerced Evidence to Prosecute Terrorist Suspects," Human Rights First (April 2008)
  • "Safe Enough to Learn: Placing an Affirmative Duty of Protection on Public Schools under 42 U.S.C. § 1983," 30 Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review 169 (1995)

Boards and Committee Service

  • New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Board of Directors
  • Partnership for Children's Rights, Board of Directors
  • Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Criminal Law Committee


Deborah A. Colson, Partner, Colson & Harris LLP

Deborah A. Colson



Deborah Colson is an experienced and vigorous advocate who focuses her practice on criminal defense and civil enforcement proceedings. She is a dedicated trial attorney who has obtained numerous jury acquittals, won pretrial motions to dismiss, and consistently achieved favorable sentencing outcomes for her clients. Her cases have included complex charges of securities fraud, insider trading, bank and health care fraud, RICO, obstruction of justice and money laundering. She has also defended individuals in federal grand jury investigations and during various regulatory proceedings. Ms. Colson was named in the 2012 and 2013 Editions of Super Lawyers in the area of criminal defense.

From 2001 to 2006, Ms. Colson was an assistant federal defender at the Federal Defenders' office for the Eastern District of New York, where she met and worked closely with Ms. Harris. Previously, she worked as a state-level public defender in New York and Massachusetts. From 2007-2009, Ms. Colson was a human rights advocate for Human Rights First where she managed the organization's Guantanamo monitoring program, and spoke and wrote frequently on issues of terrorism and national security.

Ms. Colson is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Wesleyan University.

Notable representations include:

  • Representation of senior executive in federal mail and wire fraud case
  • Representation of trader in federal securities fraud case
  • Served on the legal team that won a full acquittal after trial of a Bear Stearns hedge-fund manager charged with federal securities and wire fraud
  • Won acquittal on First Amendment grounds after federal jury trial of an individual charged with Internet-related offenses against a national religious organization
  • Won acquittal after federal jury trial of an individual charged with threats and other offenses against the United States
  • Representation of emergency room doctor before the SEC in insider trading investigation
  • Representation of construction manager in civil and criminal investigation of government contract fraud
  • Obtained probationary sentence for an individual accused of embezzlement from her company-employer
  • Representation of individual charged with securities fraud in post-conviction 2255 litigation
  • Representation of bank employee in money laundering investigation by Department of Justice and the OCC
  • Representation of individual charged in multi-million dollar health care fraud conspiracy
  • Won pre-trial dismissal of a federal immigration case following written motions and a hearing
  • Won pre-trial dismissal of a state-level murder case following a full evidentiary hearing on a motion to suppress
  • Convinced Department of Justice not to seek the death penalty in a death-eligible federal criminal case
  • Obtained probationary sentence for an individual charged with two Hobbs Act robberies
Colson & Harris LLP

Colson & Harris LLP
80 Broad Street, 19th Floor
New York, N.Y. 10004
T 212-257-6455   F 212-257-6453