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Sasha Samberg-Champion
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(202) 728-1888


J.D., Columbia University School of Law

B. A., Haverford College

Bar Admissions

New York
District of Columbia


Honorable Robert A. Katzmann, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Honorable Jed S. Rakoff, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York


Mr. Samberg-Champion practices in the area of civil rights litigation.

Mr. Samberg-Champion has argued more than 40 appeals in state and federal court.  He has been principal or supporting drafter of numerous briefs in trial and appellate courts, including several in the Supreme Court of the United States.  Mr. Samberg-Champion’s practice has covered a wide variety of civil rights topics, including fair housing and lending, employment and labor law, disability rights, LGBT rights, voting, immigration, affirmative action, and religious liberty.

Prior to joining Relman, Dane & Colfax, Mr. Samberg-Champion was a senior attorney in the Appellate Section of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.  In that capacity, he briefed and argued appeals in the U.S. courts of appeals, assisted the Office of the Solicitor General in the briefing of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, and provided legal counsel to the Division’s trial sections, front office, and client agencies.  Previously, Mr. Samberg-Champion was an assistant solicitor general for the New York Attorney General’s Office, where he played a similar role.

Prior to law school, Mr. Samberg-Champion spent four years as a reporter covering telecommunications and Internet regulation and legislation.

Professional Activities

Mr. Samberg-Champion has taught at Columbia University School of Law and at American University’s Washington College of Law.

Selected Published Cases

Mr. Samberg-Champion’s better-known cases include:

  • Payne v. Peninsula Sch. Dist., 653 F.3d 863 (9th Cir. 2011) (en banc) (child with autism who was abused by teacher need not exhaust administrative remedies under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act before filing civil rights suit);
  • Godfrey v. Spano, 13 N.Y.3d 358 (2009) (upholding New York’s recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions); and
  • Samiento v. World Yacht, 10 N.Y.3d 70 (2008) (restaurants must share mandatory “service charges” with wait-staff in the same manner as tips).

Honors and Awards

At the Civil Rights Division, Mr. Samberg-Champion won several awards, including two Distinguished Service Awards in 2013 (one for individual performance on several matters and the other as part of team working on Voting Rights Act litigation). Previously, Mr. Samberg-Champion won the New York Attorney General’s Louis Lefkowitz Award and a Supreme Court Brief Award from the National Association of Attorneys General.