Deborah A. Colson photo

Deborah A. Colson


(212) 257-6452

Deborah A. Colson photo

Deborah Colson is an experienced trial and appellate lawyer who defends individuals in criminal matters and regulatory proceedings. She holds herself to the highest standards and obtains favorable results for her clients through zealous advocacy, meticulous preparation, and strategic decision making. Her white collar cases have involved allegations of securities fraud, money laundering, health care fraud, and insider trading. In the criminal sphere, Deborah represents clients charged with national security offenses and violent crimes. 

Deborah 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. Deborah is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and has been named since 2012 in the New York edition of Super Lawyers in the areas of white collar crime and criminal defense.

Deborah 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. She also is a member of the Board of Directors of Just Detention International and a Vice Chair of the Board of the National Dance Institute.

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  • Avoided criminal charges for individual investigated in federal Bitcoin matter
  • Obtained probationary sentence for individual charged with acting as a foreign agent
  • Obtained favorable disposition for individual charged in multi-million dollar securities fraud 
  • 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
  • Served on the legal team that won a full acquittal after trial of a Bear Stearns hedge-fund manager charged with securities fraud
  • 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
  • Obtained favorable disposition for construction company president charged with fraud and grand larceny
  • Won declaratory judgment of U.S. citizenship for Indian national following evidentiary hearing
  • Won pre-trial dismissal of civil complaint charging fraud, deceit and intentional infliction of emotional distress
  • Representation of former state senate candidate in Board of Elections campaign finance investigation
  • 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
  • Prevailed at evidentiary sentencing hearing involving accusations of attempted murder
  • Won pre-trial dismissal of federal immigration case following written motions and a hearing
  • Won pre-trial dismissal of state-level murder charge following evidentiary hearing on a motion to suppress
  • Obtained non-criminal disposition for individual charged with sexual assault


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)