John Gleeson was a federal judge in Brooklyn for 22 years before joining Debevoise & Plimpton in 2016 as a litigation partner in the White Collar & Regulatory Defense and Commercial Litigation Groups. He maintains active practices in both areas, in both trial courts and appellate courts, federal and state, as well as conducting investigations, advising boards of directors, serving as an expert witness, and mediating disputes.
Before his appointment to the bench in 1994, Judge Gleeson was a federal prosecutor in the same courthouse for 10 years. He served as Chief of the Criminal Division, Chief of Appeals, Chief of Special Prosecutions, and Chief of Organized Crime. Judge Gleeson received the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award for his role as lead prosecutor in United States v. John Gotti.
Judge Gleeson has taught law for more than 30 years. He teaches Complex Federal Investigations at Harvard Law School and Sentencing at Yale Law School and New York University School of Law. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a member of the American Law Institute, a trustee of the Vera Institute of Justice, a member of the Board of Directors of the Federal Defenders of New York, and a member of the Advisory Board of the Program on Corporate Compliance and Enforcement at NYU School of Law.
Judge Gleeson’s awards include the following: The Gould Award for Outstanding Oral Advocacy, Office of Appellate Defender’s First Monday in October (2019); The National Legal Aid and Defender Association’s Exemplar Award (2018); The Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Law, University of Virginia (2016); Honorary Doctor of Laws, Northern Kentucky University (2016); The Distinguished Jurist in Residence, Cornell Law School (2016); The Distinguished Jurist Award, Defense Association of New York (2016); The Judicial Recognition Award, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (2015); The Hon. William Brennan Award for Outstanding Jurist, New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (2014); The Green Bag Exemplary Writing Award, for United States v. Dossie (2013); The Green Bag Exemplary Writing Award, for United States v. Ovid (2011); Special Recognition Award, New York Criminal Bar Association (2009); and The Hon. Edward Weinfeld Award, New York County Lawyers’ Association (2008).
Judge Gleeson’s publications include The Gotti Wars: Taking Down America’s Most Notorious Mobster (Scribner 2022), Federal Criminal Practice: A Second Circuit Handbook (22nd Edition) (2022), and numerous articles.
Judge Gleeson earned his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law and went to college at Georgetown University.