When David Eduard Mills walks to the lectern on Nov. 1, he will be unlike any other advocate arguing before the Supreme Court of the United States this year.
Most are veterans of the Supreme Court Bar. They have teams of partners, associates and staffers supporting their efforts. Their large law firms have deep-pocketed clients or government agencies providing the much-needed resources required to take a case to the nation’s highest court.
By contrast, Mills is a 33-year-old solo practitioner who’s appealing an unpublished lower court decision. His only previous appearance before the Supreme Court was as a visitor watching oral arguments a few years ago. His law office is located in a spare bedroom in his apartment. He has no staff, except for his part-time paralegal, Elisabeth, who goes by another title: Mom. His client, for payment, offered him the title of her Jeep and made him an afghan.
But the Cleveland counselor’s life and law practice are about to change dramatically due to his oral argument in Ortiz v. Jordan. His days of surviving on court-appointed cases are soon to end, as federal appellate lawyers predict he will inevitably be bombarded by paying clients. And, in an ironic twist, Mills is likely to become a national speaker at bar associations and law schools across the country on alternative law practices and quality of life.