About Bryan

Bryan L. Sells, 2016.

Bryan L. Sells is an experienced civil rights lawyer specializing in voting rights, election law, and redistricting.  

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Bryan’s legal practice is national in scope.  He has represented clients in Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Montana, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, and Wyoming, among other states. His clients have included individual voters, civil rights organizations, political parties, candidates, and campaigns.  Over the course of his career, he has successfully represented parties and amici in numerous election-related lawsuits, including several cases decided in the United States Supreme Court.

Before launching his own practice, Bryan served as Special Litigation Counsel in the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice from 2010 to 2015.  As part of the Voting Section's management team, Bryan led teams of trial attorneys, analysts, and social scientists investigating and prosecuting violations of federal voting statutes, including the Voting Rights Act, the National Voter Registration Act, and the Help America Vote Act.  He represented the United States in several notable cases, including Perez v. Perry, a challenge to Texas’ statewide redistricting plans, and Texas v. Holder, a dispute over Texas’ voter identification laws.  Bryan also served on the faculty of the Civil Rights Division's in-house trial advocacy course.

Before joining the Department of Justice, Bryan was a Senior Staff Attorney in the Voting Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union in Atlanta, Georgia, where he worked with voting-rights legend Laughlin McDonald for more than 10 years.  At the ACLU, Bryan represented a diverse array of clients in voting rights and ballot access matters.  Clients included African American and Native American voters, the Libertarian Party of Nebraska, the Green Party of Arkansas, and students at Arkansas’ Ouachita Baptist University, including Ms. Sarah Huckabee, daughter of the former governor. Bryan was the lead attorney in Quiver v. Nelson, one of the largest voting-rights cases in history, and in Bone Shirt v. Hazeltine, a landmark case challenging South Dakota’s statewide redistricting plan on behalf of Native American voters.

Bryan and Deneta Sells, 2010.

Bryan began his legal career as a law clerk to the Honorable Myron H. Thompson of the United States District Court in Montgomery, Alabama.  Bryan has degrees from Harvard University and Columbia Law School.

Bryan lives in Atlanta with his wife, Dr. Deneta Howland Sells, and their gray tabby, Scout.  



Education

  • Columbia Law School, J.D., 1998. 
    Paul R. Hays Prize in Civil Procedure.
  • Harvard College, A.B. Psychology, magna cum laude, 1994

Admissions

  • State Bar of Georgia
  • United States Supreme Court
  • Georgia Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia

Bryan and Deneta Sells with President Obama at the White House in 2011. 

Bryan Sells with Attorney General Eric Holder at the U.S. Department of Justice in 2013.