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, the White Collar Defense and Investigations Practice Group and the Privacy, Cybersecurity, and Consumer Protection 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 Executive Committee and Management Committee.
Ms. Yang's practice specializes in corporate crime and compliance. She served as a DOJ-appointed Monitor over an orthopedic manufacturing company with health care compliance and regulatory issues. 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 internal investigations and has reviewed compliance programs in a variety of industries. She has also managed matters in the crisis arena relating to recalled products, health care and insurance.
Ms. Yang has led investigative and monitoring teams of attorneys in foreign countries. She has managed data transfers, negotiated interviews of witnesses in Asian languages, and overseen extensive reviews for management or Audit Committees. She has extensive experience conducting compliance reviews in Asia in the areas of industrial manufacturing, energy, health care, and entertainment.
Ms. Yang previously served as the United States Attorney for the Central District of California. 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. 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.
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 previously served as President of The Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles.
Ms. Yang has remained active in the local and legal communities for an extensive time. In 2010 she was named by the Los Angeles Chapter of the Federalist Society as Lawyer of the Year. 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. She was selected by the National Law Journal as one of the Top 100 Influential Minority Attorneys and by the Los Angeles Business Journal for their Who's Who in Law. Ms. Yang was also included in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business as a ranked lawyer for her expertise in white collar crimes. In 2015, she was named as one of “California’s Top 100 Lawyers” by the Daily Journal.
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.