Phil's Background

Phil's Background

Inspiration

“Stay grateful, stay positive, and always believe the best in people.” — My grandmother’s approach to life

As the son and grandson of Holocaust survivors, I grew up learning about the importance of giving back and standing up for what is right. My mother was born in the Buchenwald concentration camp on April 13, 1945, one day before the U.S. Army liberated her and my grandmother. Growing up, I talked with my grandparents about their unique story of survival and resilience, which continues to inspire me. Whenever I asked my grandmother how she endured, she would tell me, “It’s easier to believe.” She taught me to never give up hope and never stop believing in a better future. That vision and my appreciation for our nation’s fundamental values led me to law school and a career in public service.

After graduating law school, I moved to Colorado and fell in love with the Colorado way of life: the limitless opportunity, the collaborative spirit of people helping one another, the power of innovation, and our access to the outdoors. Colorado is also a great place to raise a family, and my wife Heidi and I settled in Denver, where our two children were born. Colorado’s collaborative and innovative spirit, which I have seen firsthand in every county in our state during this campaign, inspires me each day.

Inspiration
“Stay grateful, stay positive, and always believe the best in people.” — My grandmother’s approach to life

As the son and grandson of Holocaust survivors, I grew up learning about the importance of giving back and standing up for what is right. My mother was born in the Buchenwald concentration camp on April 13, 1945, one day before the U.S. Army liberated her and my grandmother. Growing up, I talked with my grandparents about their unique story of survival and resilience, which continues to inspire me. Whenever I asked my grandmother how she endured, she would tell me, “It’s easier to believe.” She taught me to never give up hope and never stop believing in a better future. That vision and my appreciation for our nation’s fundamental values led me to law school and a career in public service.

After graduating law school, I moved to Colorado and fell in love with the Colorado way of life: the limitless opportunity, the collaborative spirit of people helping one another, the power of innovation, and our access to the outdoors. Colorado is also a great place to raise a family, and my wife Heidi and I settled in Denver, where our two children were born. Colorado’s collaborative and innovative spirit, which I have seen firsthand in every county in our state during this campaign, inspires me each day.

Experience
“We all need to use our voice in the fight for equal justice for all.”

After graduating law school, I worked in Denver for Judge David Ebel on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, then went on to serve as a law clerk at the United States Supreme Court for Justices Byron White and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. From these great legal minds, I gained a detailed understanding of constitutional law and an unwavering dedication to excellence; learned the value of humility and relationships in legal work; and the power of using our voice to fight for equal justice for all people. Justice White and Justice Ginsburg are two icons of the civil rights movement, with Justice White serving as Robert Kennedy’s Deputy at the Justice Department and Justice Ginsburg spearheading the battle for equal rights for women. Both remain role models and sources of inspiration.

I served in President Clinton’s Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division before returning to teach as a professor at the University of Colorado Law School. There, I founded the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship, litigated civil rights cases, co-chaired Governor Bill Ritter’s Innovation Council, and served on President Obama’s Transition Team, overseeing the Federal Trade Commission.

I had the honor of serving in the Obama Administration as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the U.S. Department of Justice, where I oversaw complex antitrust investigations, worked to strengthen the review of anticompetitive mergers, and spearheaded an effort to promote competition in agriculture. I also served President Obama in the White House as Senior Advisor for Technology and Innovation at the National Economic Council; in that role, I spearheaded what became a bipartisan effort to increase access to wireless spectrum and enable the deployment of an interoperable wireless broadband network for public safety.

After returning to Colorado, I led the University of Colorado Law School as its Dean from 2011-16, where I held tuition steady, and more than doubled student scholarships, attracting more applicants than ever before at a time when law school applications had fallen nationwide. In the spirit of giving back and creating strong communities, I took seriously the need to train the next generation of leaders for Colorado, helping students find jobs in a changing environment, and actively supporting entrepreneurship on campus and in the community. I also developed unique community partnerships, working with the Colorado District Attorneys Council to develop a rural DA fellowship program, collaborating with the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association (which honored me for a commitment to mentoring students), and establishing the Korrey Wise Innocence Project.

The Future

My parents and I lived the American Dream. They had to support themselves after they graduated high school, were the first in their families to go to college, and worked hard to build successful lives. I know firsthand that hard work can be rewarded in America. But, sadly, I know from many others that the American dream is slipping away for many of our citizens. We can and we must do better. And as your Attorney General I will fight every day to protect our Colorado values and provide opportunities for all — so that every Coloradan has a real chance at the American dream.