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Anthony J. “Tony” Phillips is a Principal in McKool Smith's Houston and Washington, D.C. offices. With as much experience persuading juries and judges as he has advising military commanders and C-suite executives, Tony is uniquely equipped to begin each matter with the end game in mind. Tony has successfully represented companies, individuals, and the federal government in high stakes legal matters. Whether guiding companies through major business disputes or internal investigations, preparing a matter for trial or arbitration, or helping clients design and implement a program to avoid trouble before it starts, Tony has produced outstanding outcomes through strong trial and investigative skills and a guiding focus on integrity and hard work.

Tony was a first-year student at Harvard Law School during the 9/11 attacks and decided to redirect his legal skills to national service. While completing his law degree, Tony also earned an Air Force ROTC commission at MIT and went on to a distinguished career as an Air Force JAG Officer. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Tony deployed to Iraq as part of the Law and Order Task Force. For his work modernizing the Iraqi court system and leading major crimes investigations across Iraq, Tony earned the Defense Meritorious Service Medal – the third-highest honor bestowed on service members by the Department of Defense.

Tony’s experience as a civilian attorney has been similarly impactful. He has a substantial track record representing businesses and individuals in commercial matters ranging from EPC, commercial development, and major contract disputes to Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other white-collar criminal matters. Tony also draws on his strong compliance background to help companies tackle a variety of issues, from program development and implementation to internal investigations and remediation. Tony’s clients value the discretion, trial savvy, and business-focused risk management insight that he brings to their most important legal challenges.

Tony graduated Phi Beta Kappa and with High Honors from Michigan State University. He earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he was Co-Managing Editor of the BlackLetter Law Journal. Tony, an Eagle Scout, serves on the Board of Directors of the Sam Houston Area Council, Boy Scouts of America. Tony also serves on the Board of Directors of the Lone Star Veterans Association.


Rankings & Honors

  • FBI Commendation, awarded by FBI Director Robert Mueller, 2013
  • Defense Meritorious Service Medal (Operation Iraqi Freedom), U.S. Department of Justice, 2008
  • Robert L. Lowry Award of Excellence, U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General’s School, 2005


Community & Professional Activities

  • Sam Houston Area Council, Boy Scouts of America
  • Eagle Scout Association, Sam Houston Area Council
  • Lone Star Veterans Association
  • Houston Bar Association

Media & Events



  • Co-author, “Knowing The Unknown: Avoiding The Threat Of FCPA Successor Liability,” Westlaw Journal, White-Collar Crime, September 4, 2015.


J.D., Harvard Law School, 2004.

Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), Detachment 365, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Distinguished Graduate, Field Training Unit III, Ellsworth AFB, 2004.

B.A., Social Relations & Policy with High Honors & Phi Beta Kappa, Michigan State University, 1999.

Court Admissions

  • Circuit Courts of Montgomery County, Maryland
  • U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico

Bar Associations

  • Texas
  • New York
  • District of Columbia
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