ALUMNI: Meet Utah Solicitor General Tyler Green

Tyler Green first thought of a career in law as an undergraduate at the University of Utah, when he took a class on media law and the First Amendment.

“That was my first exposure to case law and legal reasoning outside of the occasional bad sitcom or movie. I enjoyed the class, and law sounded like an interesting career, so I went for it,” said Green. 

The move paid off. Green graduated from the S.J. Quinney College of Law in 2005, earning a prestigious clerkship with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas during the October 2009 term. Green also worked as an associate in the Washington, D.C. office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher after clerking for Judge Michael McConnell and, before that, for former Judge Paul Cassell during law school.

Today, Green serves as the Utah Solicitor General in the Utah Attorney General’s Office. He oversees the office’s appellate work in Utah’s state and federal courts and said he enjoys the variety of work he undertakes.

“That work is done principally by a tremendously talented and dedicated group of about two dozen deputy and assistant solicitors general. Working with them, and with my other colleagues in the AG’s office, has been a highlight of my professional career. As the state’s appellate advocates our work closely tracks much of the bedrock legal training the law school provides — our bread-and-butter is scrutinizing precedent to discern the applicable legal rules and then finding the most persuasive way to convince judges to apply or distinguish those rules,” said Green.

Green is among College of Law alumni who will travel to Washington D.C. on May 19-22 to participate at the U’s inaugural U.S. Supreme Court Swearing-In Ceremony and the kick-off event for the law school’s new D.C. Chapter. Green will lead a private tour of the U.S. Supreme Court building for the Utah law contingency there to be sworn in.

Along with other activities over the course of the weekend, participants will be sworn in before the U.S. Supreme Court on May 22. Taking the oath to join the Supreme Court Bar, will allow U alums lawyers to practice before the nation’s highest court. While many go through the swearing-in ceremony for the experience (and won’t argue before the nation’s high court), participants will receive a membership certificate.

Green is among those who has appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court.  Last June, he was part of the team that argued Utah v. Strieff before the high court. The case addressed the scope of the Fourth Amendment’s exclusionary rule when an illegal stop leads to the discovery of public information that justifies an arrest and Green argued the case on behalf of the State of Utah.

The case began when police received an anonymous tip alleging that drugs were sold from a Salt Lake area home. Edward Strieff, Jr. was stopped by a detective surveilling the home. During the stop, the detective discovered an outstanding warrant for Strieff, as well as drug paraphernalia. (For those wanting to know more about the case, audio of the oral arguments can be found on www.supremecourt.gov  Utah’s reply brief outlining the case and arguments can be found here.) Green shared his experiences about preparing to argue before the high court at a continuing legal education event at the College of Law in September 2016, and said he’s excited to continue conversations about his experiences with the high court at the College of Law alumni event in D.C.

He said his experiences in law school have helped to prepare him for his legal career today, citing several memorable occasions that inspired him.

“First, the law school’s emphasis on practical, outside-the-classroom training led me to complete judicial internships in the local federal district and circuit courts. The chance to learn from and observe sitting judges and their clerks while still in law school provided invaluable training and insights I couldn’t have received otherwise,” said Green. “Second, Professor Amy Wildermuth’s seminar class on U.S. Supreme Court Practice instilled in me an interest in, and respect for, the court that continues to this day. I feel quite fortunate that she lets me co-teach that class with her now.”

For a recap of the upcoming D.C. trip, visit www.law.utah.edu for a future article.