The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Neal Katyal '91

Neal Katyal, the former Acting Solicitor General of the United States, is the Paul Saunders Professor of Law at Georgetown and a partner at Hogan Lovells LLP. He is presently serving as Special Prosecutor for the State of Minnesota in the George Floyd murder. In December 2017, American Lawyer magazine named him The Litigator of the Year; he was chosen from all the lawyers in the United States. At the age of 50, he has already argued more Supreme Court cases in U.S. history than has any minority attorney, recently breaking the record held by Thurgood Marshall.  He has orally argued 43 cases before the Supreme Court of the United States, with 41 of them in the last decade. 

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As Acting Solicitor General of the United States, Neal argued several major Supreme Court cases, such as his successful defense of the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, his victorious defense of former Attorney General John Ashcroft for alleged abuses in the war on terror, his unanimous victory against eight states who sued the nation's leading power plants for contributing to global warming, and a variety of other matters. As Acting Solicitor General, Neal was responsible for representing the federal government in all appellate matters before the U.S. Supreme Court and the Courts of Appeals throughout the nation. He served as Counsel of Record hundreds of times in the U.S. Supreme Court. He was also the only head of the Solicitor General's office to argue a case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, on the  question of whether the human genome is patentable.

Neal has also served as a law professor for over two decades at Georgetown University, where he was one of the youngest professors to have received tenure and a chaired professorship in the university's history. He has also served as a visiting professor at both Harvard and Yale law schools.

After graduating from Yale Law School, Neal clerked for The Honorable Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit as well as for The Honorable Justice Stephen G. Breyer of the U.S. Supreme Court. He also served as DOJ National Security Adviser in 1998-1999. Neal has published dozens of scholarly articles in law journals, as well as many op-ed articles in such publications as the New York Times and the Washington Post, and has testified numerous times before various committees of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

Neal is the recipient of the very highest award given to a civilian by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Edmund Randolph Award, which the Attorney General presented to him in 2011. The Chief Justice of the United States appointed him in 2011 (and again in 2014) to the Advisory Committee on Federal Appellate Rules. Among other honors, he was named as One of the 40 Most Influential Lawyers of the Last Decade Nationwide by National Law Journal; Appellate MVP by Law360 numerous times; winner of the Financial Times Innovative Lawyer Award in two different categories (both private and public law); One of the 90 Greatest Washington Lawyers Over the Last 30 Years by Legal Times; one of GQ's Men of the Year; Lawyer of the Year by Lawyers USA; Runner-Up for Lawyer of the Year by National Law Journal; and one of the top 500 lawyers in the country by LawDragon magazine for each of the last 15 years.

He also won the National Law Journal's pro bono award in 2004. A few years ago, he played himself, arguing a Supreme Court case against the Solicitor General, in an episode of House of Cards on Netflix.

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The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences