Deborah A. Colson photo

Deborah A. Colson


(212) 257-6452

Deborah A. Colson photo

Deborah Colson is an experienced counselor, trial lawyer, and appellate advocate. Her practice focuses on the defense of individuals in federal and state criminal and regulatory investigations involving allegations of securities fraud, improper trading practices, market manipulation, money laundering, health care fraud, and RICO matters. She has obtained favorable outcomes in a wide range of forums, including multiple jury acquittals. Ms. Colson has been named since 2012 in the New York edition of Super Lawyers in the areas of white collar crime and criminal defense.

Ms. Colson attended Harvard Law School and clerked for the Honorable Nina Gershon in the Eastern District of New York. Prior to establishing Colson Law PLLC, she was a founding partner of Colson & Harris LLP and an assistant federal defender in the Eastern District of New York. She also served in the Law & Security Department at 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 admitted to practice in New York State, the United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. She serves on the Federal Criminal Practice Committee of the Federal Bar Council and the Criminal Advocacy Committee of the New York City Bar Association. She also is a member of the Board of Directors for Partnership for Children’s Rights and a Vice Chair of the Board of the National Dance Institute.

  • Avoided criminal charges for individual investigated in Bitcoin case
  • Prevailed at evidentiary sentencing hearing involving accusations of attempted murder
  • Obtained favorable disposition for individual charged in multi-million dollar 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
  • Obtained dismissal of federal smuggling charge against airline employee
  • Representation of former state senate candidate in Board of Elections campaign finance investigation
  • Won full acquittal on First Amendment grounds after federal jury trial of an individual charged with Internet-related offenses
  • Won full acquittal after federal jury trial of an individual charged with threats and other offenses
  • Obtained favorable settlement before the SEC for emergency room doctor in insider trading matter
  • Obtained favorable settlement before the FDIC for business executive in nominee loan matter
  • Won declaratory judgment of U.S. citizenship for Indian national following full-blown evidentiary hearing
  • Won pre-trial dismissal of state-level civil complaint charging fraud, deceit and intentional infliction of emotional distress
  • Representation of bank employee in money laundering investigation by the Department of Justice and the OCC
  • Representation of business owner in civil fraud investigation by the New York Attorney General
  • Representation of construction manager in federal civil investigation of government contract fraud
  • 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-blown 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
  • Obtained non-criminal disposition for individual charged with sexual assault
  • Representation of client charged with distributing synthetic marijuana or K2


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


  • "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)