Representing Businesses Before the Supreme Court: A Conversation with Greg Garre, Former U.S. Solicitor General

Oct. 10, 2019

Business Law Program Director David Snyder, left, with former U.S. Solicitor General Gregory Garre.
Business Law Program Director David Snyder, left, with former U.S. Solicitor General Gregory Garre.

In honor of the start of the Supreme Court's new term on the first Monday in October, former United States Solicitor General Gregory Garre joined students for lunch and a conversation on representing businesses before the Supreme Court Monday, Oct. 7 at American University Washington College of Law.

Garre has argued 44 cases before the Supreme Court and has briefed and served as counsel of record in hundreds of additional cases before the Court at both the merits and certiorari stage.

This event was organized as part of the Business Law Program’s Conversations Series, which affords students and faculty members the opportunity to join an informal exchange with leaders and policymakers at the forefront of business law. Attendance to the conversation is limited to ten students to allow for easy dialogue. During these conversations, students ask about the guest’s daily work, career path, specialized work projects, and broader outlook.

During the conversation, Garre described his path to the Solicitor General’s office as a mix of luck and opportunity. He shared stories of the opportunities that he followed throughout his career and memorable moments from the cases that he argued before the Supreme Court. Regarding the upcoming Supreme Court term, Garre spoke about three main areas of business law developing before the Court: arbitration, securities, and class actions. Additionally, Garre advised to keep an eye on First Amendment cases relating to businesses (e.g., labeling restrictions on products such as soda cans, which may also apply to vapes). Finally, Garre mentioned a hot button issue being argued the next day before the Supreme Court involving Title VII statutory interpretation cases and how the decisions in these cases will impact business and business practice.

Imparting advice to the students, Garre shared his opinion that diligently preparing the facts of the case can be the most important task when working on a case. As an example, Garre shared his experience representing the University of Texas in the landmark Fischer v. University of Texas case. In the Fischer case, he interviewed admissions officers and University of Texas students to see how the admissions policy was implemented on the ground and to see how students felt about diversity on campus. This deeper understanding of the case he was arguing helped Garre better argue his side and eventually win the case before the Supreme Court.

Garre joins a distinguished list of Conversations Series guests, which includes David Rubenstein, financier, lawyer, and philanthropist; Bob Stern '83, SVP and General Counsel of Sodexo, the world's 19th largest employer; and Gail Levine, Deputy Director of the Bureau of Competition at the FTC and formerly one of Uber’s top lawyers.

To stay informed about future Conversations Series and other Business Law Program events, join the Business Law Program’s Faculty Practice Group.