Roy L. Austin



Roy L. Austin, Jr. is a partner with the law firm of Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP, where he practices trial litigation.

Mr. Austin began his career as an Honors Trial Attorney with the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division investigating and prosecuting hate crime and police brutality cases around the country. In 2000, he joined Keker & Van Nest LLP in San Francisco as an associate working on complex civil and white-collar criminal cases, including a successful pro-bono civil lawsuit aimed at preventing racial profiling by the California Highway Patrol. In 2002, he joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia where he prosecuted domestic violence, adult and child sexual assault, human trafficking, homicide, and fraud and public corruption cases. He left in 2007 to become a partner at McDermott, Will & Emery, working primarily on white collar criminal cases. In 2009, Mr. Austin returned to the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office as a Senior Assistant United States Attorney and Coordinator of the D.C. Human Trafficking Task Force.

In January 2010, Mr. Austin was appointed Deputy Assistant Attorney General (DAAG), Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice. As a DAAG, Mr. Austin supervised the Criminal Section, and the Special Litigation Section’s law enforcement (police departments, corrections and juvenile justice) portfolio. In addition, he supervised work under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Person Act (RLUIPA) and Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. Among numerous other matters, Mr. Austin worked on cases involving the New Orleans (LA) Police Department, Missoula (MT) law enforcement, and the Maricopa County (AZ) Sheriff’s Office.

In March 2014, Mr. Austin joined the White House Domestic Policy Council as Deputy Assistant to the President for the Office of Urban Affairs, Justice and Opportunity. In this position, Mr. Austin co-authored a report on Big Data and Civil Rights, worked with the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, helped develop the Police Data Initiative, worked on the expansion of reentry assistance, and was a member of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Task Force.  Mr. Austin’s team also played a significant leadership role in policymaking on labor, housing, and human services issues.

Over his career, Mr. Austin has tried thirty jury trials. He served as an adjunct trial advocacy professor at George Washington University Law School from 2007 – 2013. Mr. Austin received his B.A. from Yale University and his J.D. from The University of Chicago.

Mr. Austin is also active on numerous non-profit boards.  He serves on the Board of Directors or Advisory Board for:  Advance Peace, Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings, Community Resources for Justice, Fair and Just Prosecution, Institute for Innovation in Prosecution, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Tzedek DC, and Polaris.


The University of Chicago, J.D.

Yale University, B.A.



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