2009 Lewis F. Powell Jr. Lecture On a Supreme Court Advocate’s Perspective

Lexington, VA • Monday, March 23, 2009


Carter G. Phillips
The Lewis F. Powell Jr. Distinguished Lecture Series will present the Seventh Annual Lewis F. Powell Jr. Lecture on Thursday, April 2, at 6 p.m. in Lee Chapel on the campus of Washington and Lee University.  The event is free and open to the public.

The lecture will be delivered by Carter G. Phillips.  It is titled “The Incremental Effect of Unanimous Decisions and the Broad Effect of Divided Decisions: A Supreme Court Advocate's Perspective.”

Phillips is the managing partner of the Washington office of Sidley Austin LLP and head of the firm’s Supreme Court practice group.  He is one of the foremost U.S. Supreme Court advocates in the country.  He has argued over 60 cases in front of the Supreme Court including eBay, Inc. v. MercExchange, deemed “the most important issue of patent law to be decided by the Court in decades, where he won a unanimous decision. 

In 2006 the National Law Journal named Phillips one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America” and named him runner-up for its “Lawyer of the Year,” saying that he has become “the ‘go-to’ attorney for corporations seeking Supreme Court relief, further elevating his stature within the small, but highly skilled, Supreme Court bar.”

Phillips graduated summa cum laude from The Ohio State University in 1973 and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.  He received his master's degree from Northwestern University in 1975.  In 1977, he graduated magna cum laude from Northwestern University School of Law and was inducted into the Order of the Coif. 

He served as a law clerk to Judge Robert Sprecher on the U.S.  Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and to Chief Justice Warren E. Burger on the U.S. Supreme Court.  He served as an assistant to the Solicitor General during the Reagan administration, arguing nine cases in the Supreme Court on behalf of the federal government.

He is a member of the American Law Institute, the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and is a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers.  Additionally, he is an adjunct professor of law at Northwestern University School of Law, where he teaches a seminar on Supreme Court practice.

The students at Washington and Lee University School of Law founded the Lewis Powell, Jr. Distinguished Lecture Series in 2002 in honor of Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr. '29A, '31L, who was appointed to the United States Supreme Court in 1972. Justice Powell's judicial legacy was defined by a respect for both sides in a dispute and a desire to craft judicial opinions that struck a middle ground. This student-run lecture series features nationally prominent speakers who embody this spirit in their life and work.

For more information, visit the Powell Lecture web site.

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