Carter G. Phillips

Washington, D.C.
1501 K Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20005
202.736.8270
cphillips@sidley.com
Practice: 
General Appellate
Practice: 
Litigation
Practice: 
United States Supreme Court
Position: 
Partner
Admissions 
U.S. Supreme Court, 1983
U.S. Court of Appeals, 1st Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit, 1991
U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit
Biography: 

CARTER G. PHILLIPS is the Managing Partner of the Washington, D.C., office of Sidley Austin LLP, and is a member of the firm’s Management Committee. He served as a law clerk to both Judge Robert Sprecher on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and Chief Justice Warren E. Burger on the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Phillips served as Assistant to the Solicitor General for three years, during which time he argued nine cases on behalf of the federal government in the United States Supreme Court. Since joining the firm, Mr. Phillips has argued 44 cases before the Supreme Court, for a career total of 53 appearances, as well as numerous cases in the courts of appeals. Examples of some of his cases are as follows: Mohawk Industries v. Williams, 126 U.S. 2016 (2006), which involved the definition of a RICO “enterprise”; eBay Inc. v. MercExchange, 126 U.S. 1837 (2006), labeled "the most important issue of patent law to be decided by the Supreme Court in decades," determined whether the standard for issuing a permanent injunction in patent cases differ, from the established traditional standard for equitable relief; IBP v. Alvarez, 126 U.S. 514 (2006), determined, on the one hand, that certain types of employee "waiting time" are not compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act, and on the other hand, that certain types of “walking time” must be compensated; Muehler v. Mena, 125 U.S. 1465 (2005), which involved the constitutionality under the Fourth Amendment of the use of handcuffs to restrain occupants of a residence during a two-hour execution of a search warrant; Norfolk Southern Railway v. Pty. Kirby, 125 U.S. 385 (2004), which involved the question of whether federal law governs the interpretation of certain maritime contracts, and if so, whether contractual liability limits on shippers extend to all downstream carriers such as railroads; Mr. Phillips successfully argued Pegram v. Herdrich, 530 U.S. 211 (2000) which involved the legality of federal law of incentive payments to physicians who participate in managed care organizations. He argued TXO Production Corp. v. Alliances Resources, Corp., 509 U.S. 443 (1993) which involved the due process standards applied to punitive damage awards. Mr. Phillips successfully argued Yee v. City of Escondido, 503 U.S. 519 (1992) which involved a challenge under the Takings Clause to the city’s laws regulating mobile homes. Mr. Phillips briefed and argued McNally v. United States, 483 U.S. 350 (1986), in which the Supreme Court struck down the prevailing interpretation of the mail fraud statute that had been used to convict hundreds of public officials, including Governors Mandel and Kerner.

Mr. Phillips 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. He is a member of the Federal Circuit Advisory Committee and was the Chair of the Committee from 2003-2005. He received the 2001 Rex Lee Advocacy Award, the Northwestern University Alumni Merit Award in 1998 and the Northwestern University Alumni Service Award in 2006. He is a member of the Economics Club of Washington, D.C., a trustee of the Federal City Council in Washington, a member (and former chairman) of the Dean’s Advisory Committee of Northwestern University’s School of Law and a member of the Advisory Committee of The Ohio State University Colleges of Arts and Sciences. He is a trustee of the Supreme Court Historical Society and is on their Publications Committee; he is on the Amicus Curiae Committee of the Federal Bar Association. Mr. Phillips is also on the Board of Directors of the Institute of Judicial Administration at New York University School of Law and serves on the Advisory Committee of the Georgetown University Law Center’s Supreme Court Institute. He is also an adjunct professor of law at Northwestern University School of Law, teaching a clinic seminar on Supreme Court practice.

His practice has been featured in articles in the American Lawyer, Business Week, Legal Times, The National Law Journal, USA Today and Legal Business (a publication in England). Mr. Phillips was selected by the American Lawyer as a member of the 45 Under 45 in 1995 and as one of the 100 Best Lawyers in America by the National Law Journal. Mr. Phillips was listed in the top band of litigators in Washington, D.C. by Chambers USA. In 2006 he was named one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America” as chosen by the National Law Journal. The NLJ also named him a runner-up for its 2006 "Lawyer of the Year", saying that in 2006 he “became the 'go-to' attorney for corporations seeking Supreme Court relief, further elevating his stature within the small, but highly skilled, Supreme Court bar."

Education 
Northwestern University School of Law (J.D., 1977, magna cum laude, Order of the Coif)
Northwestern University (M.A., 1975)
The Ohio State University (B.A., 1973, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa)