Eric Murphy, a former law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, has been appointed state solicitor of Ohio. Murphy is now an associate at Jones Day in Columbus, Ohio, where he specialized in trial and appellate litigation, including cases before the Supreme Court.
“Eric Murphy is an outstanding attorney, and his experience working in the U.S. Supreme Court and in private practice has prepared him well to handle the state’s most important appeals,” Ohio Attorney General DeWine said in announcing Murphy's appointment Wednesday.
Murphy received his law degree from the University of Chicago, and he also clerked for Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit before working for Kennedy in 2006-2007. The announcement noted that Murphy is president of the Columbus lawyers chapter of the Federalist Society.
Murphy is the latest former Supreme Court clerk to become a state solicitor general—a path that often means more face time before the high court than the traditional route of big law firm practice. Ted Cruz, a former Rehnquist clerk and now U.S. senator, took that path when he became Texas solicitor general a decade ago. Preeta Bansal in New York, Gary Feinerman in Illinois and Kevin Newsom in Alabama are among other former clerks who headed to state capitals to hone their appellate skills.
Ohio's solicitor's office has especially notable pedigree in this regard. Richard Cordray, now head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, was the first to hold the office, 20 years ago. His successor was Jeffrey Sutton, now judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Both were former Supreme Court clerks and both worked at Jones Day.
"I've had the privilege of seeing many brilliant young appellate lawyers mature into accomplished advocates trusted with our clients' most significant and precedent-setting cases," said Glen Nager, chairman of Jones Day's issues and appeals practice. "Eric has been one of those outstanding examples. Ohio has chosen well."
The most recent Ohio state solicitor, Alexandra Schimmer, began a new job this week as deputy general counsel and associate vice president at Ohio State University. She successfully argued in one case before the Supreme Court last term, Tibbals v. Carter.
Contact Tony Mauro at email@example.com.