Jessica M. Karmasek Jul. 11, 2013, 1:30pm

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) -- Wyoming Attorney General Gregory Phillips is now a federal appeals court judge.

On Monday, the U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed Phillips to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, 88-0.

He will replace Judge Terrence L. O'Brien, who took senior status in April.

"I have known Greg Phillips for almost 30 years. He has a great legal mind, common sense, the highest ethical standards and a work ethic second to none," Gov. Matt Mead said in a statement this week. "This is a rare combination of attributes, which will serve Wyoming and our country for years to come.

"In my mind there is no one better to sit on the Tenth Circuit of Appeals than Greg Phillips."

President Barack Obama nominated Phillips to the court in January.

Phillips, who grew up in Evanston, Wyo., has served as the state's top lawyer since March 2011.

He started out his legal career as a law clerk to Judge Alan B. Johnson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming, from 1987 to 1989.

In 1989, he joined his father and brother in their general law practice in Evanston, handling a broad range of civil matters.

From 1993 to 1999, he also represented Uinta County in the Wyoming Senate.

Phillips then opened the law firm Mead & Phillips in 1998, where he handled a wide variety of civil litigation and prosecuted Medicaid reimbursement claims on behalf of Wyoming.

In 2003, he joined the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Wyoming and handled criminal prosecutions and appeals on behalf of the government. As an assistant U.S. attorney, Phillips argued 19 cases before the Tenth Circuit.

He continued to serve in the U.S. Attorney's Office until he was selected to serve as attorney general by Mead in 2011.

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