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Deputy Solicitor General Edwin Kneedler is quick to admit it. Even after arguing 100 cases before the Supreme Court — more than any other lawyer currently practicing — Kneedler says, “I start getting butterflies five days before I have an argument.” And he wouldn’t want it any other way. “If it stopped happening, it would probably be time for me to stop arguing.” The 62-year-old Kneedler, whose first argument was in October 1979, shows no sign of slowing down. Kneedler, who became a deputy in 1993, is a respected expert in some of the workaday areas of law that fill the Court’s docket, from ERISA to immigration, Native American to administrative law. On March 17, after Kneedler argued his 100th case, Republic of the Philippines v. Pimentel, Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. called Kneedler back to the lectern to congratulate him. Kneedler was the first lawyer to reach this milestone in the new century, said Roberts, a former colleague of Kneedler’s. “We look forward to hearing you many more times,” Roberts said. Former deputy SG Lawrence Wallace, who argued 157 cases before retiring in 2002, was in the audience, as were onetime colleagues Drew Days, David Frederick, Richard Lazarus, Mark Levy, and Andrew Pincus, all now in private practice. So why hasn’t Kneedler jumped to a big law firm? “I love the job,” he says without hesitation.
Tony Mauro can be contacted at [email protected].

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