Solicitor General Verrilli to Deliver Tyrrell Williams Lecture

Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., the 46th Solicitor General of the United States, will deliver the 2013–14 Tyrrell Williams Lecture at 4 p.m. on September 9 in the Bryan Cave Moot Courtroom (AB Hall, No. 310). He will speak on “The Solicitor General and Civil Rights Law: Historical Perspectives.” Please RSVP here.

Kent Syverud, Dean and the Ethan A.H. Shepley Distinguished University Professor, will welcome the audience to the event, and the Honorable William H. Webster, JD ’49—retired partner at Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP, retired judge, and former director of the FBI and CIA—will introduce Verrilli.

Appointed to his position by President Barack Obama in June 2011, Verrilli supervises and conducts government litigation in the U.S. Supreme Court. About two-thirds of the cases the Supreme Court decides on the merits each year involve the government. Verrilli oversees the selection of government issues for Supreme Court review, decides the positions the government will take on them, and then conducts the oral arguments before the court. Most recently, he successfully argued National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, which sustained critical provisions of the Affordable Care Act, and United States v. Windsor, which struck down the Defense of Marriage Act provision that denied federal benefits to same-sex partners.

Verrilli was previously Deputy Counsel to President Obama and an Associate Deputy Attorney General in the United States Department of Justice. Before his career in government service, he was a partner for many years at Jenner & Block in Washington, D.C., where he co-chaired the firm’s Supreme Court practice. Significant cases he litigated include MGM Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, which established that companies building businesses based on the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted works can be liable for inducing infringement, and Wiggins v. Smith, which established principles governing the right to effective assistance of counsel at capital sentencing.

Verrilli, who received many awards for his pro bono work while in private practice, also taught First Amendment law as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center. He received his undergraduate degree from Yale University and his JD from Columbia Law School. Verrilli then served as a law clerk to the Honorable J. Skelly Wright of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and to the Honorable William J. Brennan, Jr. of the United States Supreme Court.

The Tyrrell Williams Lecture is one of the law school’s most important lectures of the year and is named in honor of Williams, a beloved faculty member of Washington University School of Law. His family and friends established the Tyrrell Williams Lectureship in his honor in 1948. Professor Williams received his AB from Princeton University in 1898 and his LLB from Washington University in 1900. He enjoyed an active and varied legal practice in St. Louis before joining the law school faculty in 1913. He served as dean from 1919 to 1921, and also was named acting dean for one year in 1926 and again in 1935. He remained a member of the faculty until 1946.

A reception will follow the lecture in the Crowder Courtyard (AB Hall, No. 301). The lecture is eligible for 1 MCLE credit in Missouri.