A former federal anti-corruption prosecutor and Big Tech lawyer, Tony Phillips counsels clients on regulatory enforcement and compliance, internal investigations, and complex disputes. Tony also leverages his impressive breadth of legal experience to help clients identify and calibrate legal risk and to design and build programs, products and processes that mitigate those risks.

Tony has designed and implemented compliance programs for a global social media company, a nationwide health care services provider and a world-leading cancer hospital. With experience supporting strategic-level global human rights reviews and a firm grasp on corporate civil rights risks, Tony is also well-equipped to help companies—global and domestic—navigate the increasingly complex field of ESG strategy.

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A trusted advisor, Tony protects and advises clients handling regulator inquiries, responding to whistleblower or hotline complaints, or navigating government enforcement efforts, including IG investigations. In private practice, Tony has investigated allegations of fraud, bribery, employee misconduct, embezzlement, discrimination and more, arising from the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (“RICO”) Act, False Claims Act, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Stark Law, Anti-Kickback Statute, and other federal statutory schemes. Tony is also experienced at handling sensitive investigations to help clients formulate compliance and reporting strategies.

Tony is a proven on-your-feet advocate with nearly two dozen federal court appearances for the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Air Force, combined. Tony has litigated before judges and juries in federal courts from Washington, DC, to South Dakota, to Puerto Rico; he has argued before the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; and he has tried cases and written appeals in Maryland state court. Most recently, Tony won total victory for his client in a $26 million binding EPC arbitration.

In private practice before going in-house, Tony was named to the National Black Lawyers “Top 100” (2021), the Lawdragon “500 Leading Lawyers” (2020), and the Lawyers of Color “Nation’s Best” (2019). Tony is also a thought leader working at the cutting edge of digital trust and safety, concentrating on beneficial, ethical and responsible AI, tech regulation and enforcement, and digital liability.

Representative Experience

  • Representing client defending against civil court claims brought under the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act and related charges in the Southern District of New York and multiple state courts.
  • Representing Fortune 10 tech company in facial challenge to Maryland Digital Advertising Gross Revenues Tax as preempted by federal law and invalid as a violation of the Dormant Commerce Clause.
  • Representing client victimized by cyberattack and electronic funds transfer (EFT) fraud scheme, resulting in multi-million-dollar contract dispute with delinquent payor.

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  • Representing client involved in investigation by Office of Inspector General (OIG) and related grand jury subpoena.
  • As in-house counsel for a major technology corporation, Tony led teams of lawyers working to understand, calibrate and mitigate legal risks, focusing on online harms to users (e.g., fraud and deception, misinformation and terrorism) and litigation risk to the company.
  • Represented a power generation company in a $26 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) dispute, prevailing on all claims and defeating all disputed counter claims in a fully litigated panel arbitration.
  • Regularly leveraged prior experience as a DOJ prosecutor, defense attorney and military JAG to guide clients in compliance program design, litigation strategy and regulator response matters.    
  • Represented a genetic testing company in a seven-figure employment and contract dispute.
  • Represented a commercial real estate developer in a seven-figure construction dispute.

Professional Highlights

  • Prior to joining Pillsbury, Tony led a dedicated digital trust and safety team at a global social media company.
  • Named to 2021 National Black Lawyers “Top 100.”
  • Named to 2020 Lawdragon “500 Leading Lawyers.”

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  • Named to 2019 Lawyers of Color “Nation’s Best” list.
  • Awarded National Eagle Scout Association’s “NESA Outstanding Eagle Scout” award in October 2021.
  • Awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal for leading major crimes investigations in Iraq while deployed to Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
  • Publications
    • “Will Generative AI Create a Break in the Impenetrable Wall That Is Section 230?” JD Supra, June 19, 2023 (with Jaria Martin). Author.
    • “Effective Investigations: The Whole Is Greater than the Sum of Its Parts,” Compliance & Ethics Professional (CEP) Magazine, May 1, 2019 (with David Searle). Author.
    • “Knowing the Unknown: Avoiding the Threat of FCPA Successor Liability,” Westlaw Journal on White Collar Crime, September 4, 2015 (with Bill Lawler). Author.    


  • J.D., Harvard Law School, 2004

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


  • District of Columbia

    New York



  • Spanish