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To argue one U.S. Supreme Court case is a milestone in a lawyer’s career. To argue three in one term, and to win all of them — well, it doesn’t get any better than that. Just ask Carter G. Phillips. Phillips, managing partner of the Washington, D.C., office of Chicago’s Sidley & Austin, scored the sole triple victory in the just-ended high court term. He was one of only four nongovernment lawyers to argue more than one of the term’s 76 cases. Phillips heads Sidley’s 15-member appellate practice group, which was launched by former Solicitor General Rex Lee and Phillips, an alumnus of the solicitor general’s office. Lee once argued six cases in a term, his second year in private practice, recalled Phillips. This term, he added, was “a good term to be sure, but not unusual.” The preceding term, Phillips argued four cases before the justices. He won one of them and had three remanded. But his success this term goes beyond numbers. He won one of the term’s biggest cases, Pegram v. Herdrich, No. 98-1949, the court’s first foray into managed care. Besides his three argued cases, Phillips and his group were the primary support for other lawyers in five cases on the merits. They won four of the five, including beating a challenge to the Miranda rule; their only loss was the 5-4 federalism ruling that struck down the civil damages provision of the federal Violence Against Women Act. And they were amici counsel in six other cases. “They are all remarkably satisfying in their own way,” he said of his victories this term. “The HMO case was clearly one of broadest importance to the industry. A loss would have been devastating.” The Miranda case, Dickerson v. U.S., No. 99-5525, was a different challenge because “all bets were off going in,” he recalled. “You could count five votes either way.” The three other lawyers with more than one case this term include Theodore B. Olson, co-chair of the constitutional law practice at Los Angeles’ Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher L.L.P., who won the term’s major race challenge, Rice v. Cayetano, No. 98-818, and handled one of the term’s federalism cases; Jay Alan Sekulow, of Pat Robertson’s American Center for Law and Justice, who had two First Amendment challenges, one involving abortion clinic picketing and the other, prayer at high school football games; and sole practitioner Thomas Goldstein, of Washington, D.C., the rookie of the four, who won a First Amendment challenge involving the Los Angeles Police Department and lost a pre-emption case to Phillips. Goldstein, who already has won review of two cases for next term, launched his Supreme Court practice by identifying circuit conflicts and offering to file cert. petitions. He also developed high court statistics and promoted them among the media covering the court. “You really can start by taking pro bono cases and building momentum from there,” he said. “I certainly didn’t start with the pedigree other people had — the solicitor general’s office, a clerkship or a lead law school. It took some patience.” FEMALE ADVOCATES Repeat arguments in a term are as difficult to come by as winning high court review in the first instance. Lawyers who move in and out of that elite circle each term are generally big-firm attorneys who specialize in Supreme Court and appellate litigation, or lawyers representing the United States. And they are most often male. Of the 146 lawyers appearing before the justices in the 1999-2000 term who did not represent the federal government, 15 were women. Of those 15, six were state attorneys. An additional five women did represent the federal government, from the Office of the Solicitor General, for a grand total of 20 females. The term’s total of 20 is remarkably similar to the total number of women appearing before the high court nearly a decade ago. In the 1991-1992 term, 18 women argued before the justices, with 11 of them either state or federal lawyers.

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