2024 CLEO EDGE Award Honorees


Neal Katyal is the Paul and Patricia Saunders Professor of Law at Georgetown University, a best-selling New York Times author, and a Partner at Hogan Lovells. He previously served as Acting Solicitor General of the United States. He has argued 50 cases before the Supreme Court of the United States. In the most recent 2022-23 Term, he argued 5 separate cases (nearly 10% of the entire docket), including winning the landmark voting case Moore v. Harper, which Judge Michael Luttig described as “the most important case for American democracy in the almost two and a half centuries since America’s founding.” His cases include successfully striking down the Guantanamo military tribunals, successfully defending the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act, successfully defending the Peace Cross in Maryland, and a landmark personal jurisdiction win for Bristol Meyers Squibb.

At the age of 53, he has already argued more Supreme Court cases in U.S. history than has any minority attorney, recently breaking the record held by Thurgood Marshall. His numerous distinctions include: the Edmund Randolph Award (the highest civilian award given by U.S. Department of Justice), The Litigator of the Year by American Lawyer (2017 and 2018, chosen as the sole Grand Prize Winner of all the lawyers in the United States), Named one of the 500 Leading Lawyers by LawDragon (one of 4 lawyers so named for every single year since 2005 to 2023); Appellate MVP by Law360 numerous times; winner of Financial Times Innovative Lawyer Award in two different categories (both private and public law) (2017), one of GQ’s Men of the Year (2017), 40 Most Influential Lawyers of the Last Decade Nationwide by National Law Journal (2010), and 90 Greatest Washington Lawyers Over the Last 30 Years by Legal Times (2008). Neal also won the National Law Journal’s pro bono award in 2004. He has appeared on virtually every major American news program, as well as on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show. He has also performed on Netflix’s House of Cards and Showtime’s Billions (where he played himself in both series). In 2021, Neal was named a Trustee of Dartmouth College. In 2022, he was named a Trustee of the Whitney Museum in New York City.



Director, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – Adjunct/Affiliated Professor, Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Rick Petry stands at the intersection of law, human peak performance, and neuro-health as an Adjunct Law Professor and Director of DEI at Mitchell Hamline School of law and Executive Coach  with a combined two-plus decades of experience in the legal industry. That experience includes previously serving clients for 17 years as a trial attorney and now in his seventh year and counting serving lawyers and law students as a legal educator. 

Rick’s impact on the global stage is marked by his engagement with lawyers, law students, executives, and entrepreneurs around the globe, imparting wisdom and practical skills to enhance their professional and personal lives. 

Guided by a deep-seated philosophy that leadership is a privilege accompanied by the duty of care, Rick approaches his role with a commitment to quality and compassion. He believes in nurturing the brain’s health as a means to empower individuals, fostering an environment where mental acuity and emotional resilience are paramount. His drive to be of service stems from a deep belief in the vastness of human potential. Rick’s aim is to instill lasting positive change, guiding individuals to not only thrive in their careers but also to lead richer, more balanced, and fulfilled lives.


Senior Judge
District of Columbia Court of Appeals

Phyllis D. Thompson is a Senior Judge on the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, to which she was appointed in 2006 by President George W. Bush.  She has authored hundreds of decisions for the court, including the en banc decision that held that a proposed voter initiative to outlaw same-sex marriage would have authorized discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and therefore could not appear on the ballot.

Prior to her appointment to the bench, Judge Thompson was a member of the law firm of Covington & Burling, where she became a partner (the first African-American woman partner) in 1989.  At the D.C. Courts, Judge Thompson has served on the Access to Justice Commission and chairs the Standing Committee on Fairness and Access, which during her tenure has focused on issues such as broadening the mix of the jury pool, improving disability access in the courts, and addressing racial equity issues.  In connection with her role as liaison to the D.C. Courts’ Committee on Admissions to the Bar, she served on the Board of Trustees of the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) and for several years chaired NCBE’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, which recommended a number of NCBE initiatives aimed at helping to diversify the legal profession.  Judge Thompson recently completed two terms on the Council of the American Bar Association Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, the entity that accredits law schools in the United States.



Bryan Parker is a co-founder, and CEO of Washington, DC based Legal Innovators, an end-to-end, technology-enabled, talent management solution that has innovated the way in which new attorneys come into the practice of Big Law, and partners with top-tier law firms and corporate legal departments to place lawyers in a 2-year apprenticeship style experience. With a background in law, finance, and business, Bryan is skilled at managing and leading large companies with hundred million-dollar budgets. Bryan began his career as an M&A attorney at Shearman & Sterling before he continued to take leadership roles in investment banking and entrepreneurship opportunities. Bryan is a frequent speaker on innovation, data and efficiency, mental health and diversity, equity, and inclusion in the practice of Big Law.

Bryan attended the University of California at Berkeley (BA), New York University School of Law (JD), and is now completing (at night) a Master of Divinity degree at Howard University.  He is a member of the California and New York Bar Associations.