Wyoming-born, Wyoming-raised, and Wyoming-educated, you might just call Attorney General Gregory Phillips "Mr. Wyoming." Generations of his family have come from Uinta County. Phillips completed high school, college, and law school - all without leaving the great State of Wyoming. According to his state-provided bio, he then clerked for the Honorable Alan B. Johnson, a U.S. District Court Judge in, you guessed it, Wyoming.
After finishing school and his clerkship, Mr. Phillips entered private practice. He practiced law with his brother and father in his native Evanston, Wyoming from 1989 to 1998. During six of those years, he served as the State Senator from Uinta County. In 1998, after his family retired from law practice, he joined a law school buddy in starting a new private firm in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
That law school buddy, Matt Mead, became a United States Attorney in 2001. Phillips joined him in 2003. While a U.S. Attorney, he tried criminal cases to juries and argued nineteen cases before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. In 2010, his friend Mr. Mead became Governor of Wyoming and appointed Phillips as the state's Attorney General.
For those counting, that's fifty-three-ish years in Wyoming and a very distinguished and varied career in private practice and public service. As a nomad and former resident of Missouri, Kansas, California, and Virginia, to this blogger, staying in one state for so long seems both quaint and admirable.
Phillips' career also reminds us of the power of law school friends. That guy or gal you shared a beer with during a cold 3L night could someday be a governor or even President of the United States. Here's lookin' at you Simon, Jack, Ben, and all of you other Washington and Lee alums.
You can call Phillips "Mr. Wyoming" for now. However, if his nomination is approved, you'd probably be better off addressing him as the Honorable Judge Gregory A. Phillips Wyoming. He might also have to finally leave Wyoming and move to Denver, Colorado.
- President Obama Nominates Two to Serve on the US Court of Appeals (WhiteHouse.gov)
- Lawyers Urge Inhofe, Coburn to Call for Bacharach Confirmation (FindLaw's Tenth Circuit Blog)
- Five Things to Know About Tenth Circuit Judge Stephanie Seymour (FindLaw's Tenth Circuit Blog)