Debbie Leilani Shon

Debbie Leilani Shon has been an activist in the political, legal, and sports & entertainment fields for decades.  She practiced law as a litigation partner and commercial lawyer advising clients concerning sensitive and complex economic, trade, and national security matters.


Debbie has also worked as a business executive in major corporations. She served as VP for International Trade Law and Global Public Policy at a Fortune 200 steel company - the first Asian American in the C-suite. Debbie also served as CEO for China operations of the world’s leading live entertainment firm, where she managed the P/L, legal affairs, and government relations and public policy in the region.


Debbie also is the founder of an international consulting firm. Drawing upon her experience as a former Assistant U.S. Trade Representative and years of legal practice -- including as an adjunct lecturer at the USC Gould School of Law -- Debbie advised corporations on market entry strategies, assisted companies to construct business models within dynamic legal and political structures, and counseled management on ways to operate profitably and ethically in delicate legal and political environments.


Debbie is the recipient of the Wiley W. Manual Pro Bono Award from the California State Bar Board of Governors for her work in the community after the LA civil unrest. She is also the recipient of the 2016 USC Asian American Leadership Award, the 2019 Daniel Inouye Trailblazer Award, and the Women’s Leadership Award from the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association.


She was also the first female NBA registered agent. 

Before practicing law, Debbie served as the Legislative Director to the Dean of the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus. 


She is a graduate of USC and Georgetown University Law Center. Debbie is honored to  serve on the National Board of the Smithsonian. She is also an Aspen Fellow, an ABA Foundation Fellow, and active in NAPABA, USC APAA,  Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security and the American Society of International Law.  

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