Debra Wong Yang is a partner in Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher's Los Angeles office. She is Co- Chair of the firm's Crisis Management Practice Group and the White Collar Defense and Investigations Practice Group. She is a member of the Media and Entertainment and Intellectual Property Practice Groups. Ms. Yang was also a member of the firm's Management and Executive Committees.
Ms. Yang's practice specializes in high profile matters, civil litigation and corporate crime and compliance. She has been selected to serve as a DOJ-appointed Monitor over an orthopedic manufacturing company with health care compliance and regulatory issues, as a New York Attorney General recommended and court-appointed Monitor over a generic drug distributor and to act as a presiding officer over allegations of campaign violations in a city election dispute. She has also represented companies and boards in internal investigations, compliance matters, and criminal investigations. In addition, Ms. Yang has provided advice on matters relating to FCPA, trade secrets, and cyber/data intrusions. She has overseen teams of attorneys conducting FCPA investigations and has reviewed FCPA compliance programs in a variety of industries. She has received many declinations for many of her clients including in a Fortune 100’s high-profiled SEC investigation into operations in China, for the CEO of the largest private health plan in California, for the CEO of a diagnostic laboratory business, and in a regulatory investigation into a financial institution. She has also managed matters in the crisis arena relating to recalled products, toxic substances, health care and insurance. She has also achieved early victories in civil litigation. She is consistently recognized as being one of the top lawyers in her field, including by the National Law Journal as one of the 50 most influential minority lawyers in America, Top Women Lawyers in California, Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers, Chambers – White Collar, Lawdragon and as one of the nation’s best in compliance by Ethisphere.
Ms. Yang previously served as the United States Attorney for the Central District of California, the largest solely federal prosecutorial office. She was appointed in May 2002 by President George W. Bush, who made her the first Asian-American woman to serve as a United States Attorney. After becoming United States Attorney, Ms. Yang was selected to serve on President Bush’s Corporate Fraud Task Force and to chair the Attorney General’s Advisory Committees on Cyber/Intellectual Property and Civil Rights. She was appointed by the Attorney General to sit on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee and on the Intellectual Property Task Force. She also served on the Ninth Circuit Jury Reform Committee.
Prior to being appointed United States Attorney, Ms. Yang was a California state judge. She was appointed to the Los Angeles Municipal Court in 1997, serving for a time as a Supervising Judge, and became a member of the Los Angeles Superior Court bench in 2000. She was active in court administration and as a teacher at the Judges College.
Ms. Yang served as an Assistant United States Attorney for seven years prior to her judicial career, and she handled violent crimes, white-collar crimes, arson and computer crimes. As an Assistant United States Attorney, Ms. Yang tried a number of cases, and argued many of those on appeal.
Ms. Yang has been an adjunct professor at the USC School of Law and has instructed at the National Institute of Trial Advocacy and at California’s Judicial College. She has written numerous articles including, "Countering the Cyber-Crime Threat," co-written with Brian M. Hoffstadt, which was published in the Spring 2006 edition of American Criminal Law Review.
Ms. Yang has been active in the local and national communities. She previously served as President of The Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles. In 2009, she was selected by Mayor Villaraigosa to serve as a Los Angeles Police Commissioner, part of the civilian oversight committee of the Los Angeles Police Department. She previously served as a founding member and officer of many Asian American bar organizations in Chicago and Los Angeles. She has been recognized as a champion of civil rights by both the Los Angeles City Council in 2002 and the Inglewood Superior Court. The Asian Pacific Bar Association selected her as the 2002 recipient of their Public Service Award. The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association selected her as the 2003 recipient of the Trailblazers award. In 2004, she was appointed to the President’s Council for Pitzer College of the Claremont Colleges and was given their inaugural Distinguished Alumni Award.
Ms. Yang received her Juris Doctorate in 1985 from Boston College Law School and served as a law clerk to the Honorable Ronald S.W. Lew in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.