Deborah White

Senior EVP and General Counsel, RILA and President, RLC

Deborah currently serves as Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA). RILA is the trade association that represents only the major retailers in each vertical. In her current capacity, Deborah oversees the legal function of the association, the development of RILA’s Center for Retail Compliance, and programming for the corporate legal community of her members, including their general counsel.  Programming developed during Deborah’s tenure has significantly increased member company legal community involvement in RILA.   

Simultaneously, Deborah serves as President of the Retail Litigation Center (RLC), an independent 501(c)(6) association with its own membership and governance functions. The Retail Litigation Center reflects the voice of the retail industry in the judicial branch and develops litigation strategies to influence the arc of the law as it relates to issues of greatest importance to the retail community. The RLC participates amicus curiae in fifteen to twenty cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and other significant appellate courts each year.  

Prior to joining RILA and the RLC, Deborah was Principal of Regulatory Solutions, LLC, through which she provided regulatory advice and counsel to two of the most successful grocery chains in the country. She also served as Executive Director of the Recycled Paperboard Technical Association. 

Deborah’s association experience began at the Food Marketing Institute, the major trade association for grocery retailing. She started as the association’s Regulatory Counsel and left ten years later as its Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer.  Over the course of her tenure, Deborah successfully represented the food retail industry before the key federal agencies responsible for the industry’s oversight and testified on behalf of the industry before the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Deborah began her legal career as an associate attorney specializing in the law related to food and food packaging at the firm of Keller and Heckman. 

Deborah holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wesleyan University and a Juris Doctorate from the Washington College of Law at American University. She is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, and she is admitted to the bar associations of the District of Columbia, the State of Maryland and the Commonwealth of Virginia.   

Deborah currently serves on the Advisory Council of the Georgetown University Corporate Counsel Institute and she is on the board of the Chamber Dance Project in Washington, D.C. 

Deborah studied ballet growing up, completing the British Royal Academy of Dance syllabus through the New Jersey Classic Ballet School, as well as taking classes at American Ballet Theater and The Joffrey Ballet School in New York City.  She also performed in many of the classic ballets.  Deborah currently studies at the Washington Ballet School.  She is married to John J. Motley, III, and her daughter Madelyn is studying computer engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology. 

Expertise
  • Antitrust
  • Appellate
  • Arbitration
  • Class Action
  • Competition
  • Defense Litigation
  • Employment Law
  • Executive Leadership
  • General Counsel
  • Legal Affairs & Compliance

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