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Attorney Profiles

The Team

Partners: Philip D. Cave and Nathan P. Freeburg (read on)

Of Counsel: Prof. Brenner M. Fissell, Wojciech Kornacki, and Prof. Franklin D. Rosenblatt

Philip D. Cave, CDR, JAGC, USN (Ret.)

I and Professor Rosenblatt were privileged February 2022 to present oral argument at the International Criminal Court at the Hague in Prosecutor v. Ongwen.

I am self-employed as a practitioner partnering with Nathan Freeburg. Our practice is limited to military law and security clearance law issues. We travel the world to any location where there is a military base or U.S. military personnel assigned for my trial cases and administrative hearings. Our practice is about two-thirds litigating courts-martial (criminal trials), usually to a members panel (jury), courts-martial appeals, and adverse administrative actions.

I am admitted to practice in the U.S. Supreme Court, all military trial and appellate courts, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Ohio, the Eastern District of Virginia, and the federal Court of Claims.

Formal Education
  • 1988, graduated George Washington Univ. Law School, Master of Laws (LL.M.)
  • 1979, graduated Case Western Reserve Univ. Law School, Juris Doctor (JD)
  • 1976, graduated Wright State Univ., B.A.
  • 1982, graduated Armed Forces Staff College, National Defense Univ., diploma
  • 1968, graduated Metropolitan Police Training School, London, U.K.
  • 1967, graduated Metropolitan Police Cadet Corps, London, U.K.
  • Co-chair, Military Justice Committee, ABA Criminal Justice Section.
  • Director (and past President), the National Institute of Military Justice: The National Institute of Military Justice (NIMJ) is a District of Columbia nonprofit corporation organized in 1991 to advance the fair administration of military justice and foster improved public understanding of the military justice system. NIMJ is not a government agency. NIMJ's boards of directors and advisers include law professors, private practitioners, and other experts.
  • Director, NIMJ 2000-2020.
  • Former Director and life member, the Judge Advocates Association.
  • Military Law Committee, Virginia State Bar
  • Executive Editor, CAAFlog; the only non-government resource for military law practitioners in the United States.
  • Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, International
  • Phi Kappa Tau
  • American Legion, Post #24.
Active Duty United States Navy
  • I was commissioned in 1978 into the Navy Judge Advocate General's Student Program as an ensign. After graduation and admission to the Ohio Bar, I attended the Naval Justice School, January 1980 Class.
  • I have served two tours of duty at the Naval Legal Service Office, Norfolk, VA. NLSO, Norfolk, was and is the largest military legal office in the world. I have been a Trial Defense Counsel, Naval Legal Service Office, Norfolk, VA, March 1980 to March 1982. During this period I supervised three other attorneys as a Team Leader. In July 1990, I was Chief Trial Defense Counsel until September 1991; mentoring and supervising 22 trial defense counsel. Designated by the judge advocate general of the Navy as one of six specialists in the prosecution and defense of national security cases.
  • Trial Counsel (prosecutor), Naval Legal Service Office, Norfolk, VA, March 1982 to September 1982. Assistant Chief Trial Counsel, July 1988 to June 1990; mentoring and supervising 15 trial counsel.
  • Assistant Staff Judge Advocate (legal adviser), Commander, U.S. Forces, Azores, Portugal. This "purple" assignment involved responsibilities in international law, Portuguese labor law, and military justice.
  • The Staff Judge Advocate (SJA) (senior legal adviser) to USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV-67) and eight embarked aircraft squadron commanders from April 1985 to August 1987.
  • Deployed as the Staff Judge Advocate to Commander, Naval Logistics Support Force, in support of operations DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM (Gulf I).
  • Deputy Director, Navy-Marine Corps Appellate Defense Division, September 1992 to September 1994; supervising and mentoring over 40 active and reserve appellate counsel, as well as carrying a personal caseload.
  • Officer-in-Charge, Naval Legal Service Office Detachment, Rota, Spain. While at Rota, went to Mali, as a member of a DILLS team, to teach Rule of Law issues to senior Malian military officers and Defense officials.
  • Deputy Director, Criminal Law Division, HQ, Judge Advocate General of the Navy. The Division is primarily responsible for military justice policy. While assigned, served a period of time as the Navy representative to the Department of Defense Joint Service Committee on Military Justice, and served as a voting member of the Naval Clemency and Parole Board.
Misc. Information
  • 1998. Presentation, Continuity and Change in Military Justice. NIMJ London Conference (for international military lawyers).
  • 2001. Testimony before the Cox Commission on Military Justice (Cox-I).
  • 2008, Coram Nobis: A Writ Too Far? ABA, Preview of Supreme Court Cases, Paper Chase, ABA.
  • 2009. Testimony before e Cox Commission on Military Justice (Cox-II).
  • 2010. Presentation, Mental Health Defenses, The Judge Advocate General’s School of the Army.
  • 2013. Testimony before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights—DoD response to military sexual assaults.
  • 2014. Presentation, Sexual Assault in the Military: Fixing a Broken System: Rape and Sexual Assault in the Military, Hastings University Law School.
  • 2014. Military Law and Media, Military Editors Reporters Conference.
  • 2019. Presentation, Summary Courts-Martial. Seminar in Military Justice, Yale Law School.
  • 2021, Presentation, Court-Martial of Retired Military Personnel. Military Law Committee, Texas Bar Association.
  • 2021, Presentation, Recommended Changes to the Presidential Executive Order Establishing the Manual for Courts-Martial. DoD Joint Service Committee on Military Justice.
  • 2021, presentation, Ethics of Go-Funding and Similar Financing of Court-Martial Defense Counsel. Town Hall, GMJR, to international military lawyers, judges, and advocates.
  • 2021. Presentation, Retiree Courts-Martial. NIMJ Symposium jointly with the Georgetown Center on National Security & Law.
  • 2021. Presentation, Military Law for the Not Dumb. Phi Alpha Delta, International (law fraternity).
  • February 16, 2022. Presented oral argument in Prosecutor v. Ongwen and the International Criminal Court, The Hague.
  • (Pending) 2022, presentation, Prosecution of military retirees for pre- and post-retirement offenses.  Military Law Committee, Virginia State Bar.
  • Contributor to, Military Court Rules of the United States: Procedures, Citation, Professional Responsibility, Civility, and Judicial Conduct, 18 – 20th eds., Fidell, Fissell, & Sullivan, eds.
  • 2012, How Public of a Trial: US v. Bradley Manning, JURIST Sidebar, ABA.
  • 2012, Mental State May Play Pivotal Role in Afghan Shooting Trial, JURIST, ABA.
  • 2012, Wrangling Over Khadr's Counsel Shows Discretionary Power of Military Judges, JURIST, ABA.
  • 2021, Fidell, Fissell, and Cave, Equal Supreme Court Access for Military Personnel: An Overdue Reform. 131 YALE LAW REVIEW FORUM.
  • 2021, Retired Servicemembers and Military Justice: Separating Fact from Myth. Naval Institute Proceedings, U.S. Naval Institute.
  • 2021, Congress, not the courts, say who has authority to court-martial servicemembers, The Hill.
  • 2021, Cave and Fissell, Can Service Members Fight Taking a Mandatory COVID Vaccine, Military.com.
  • 2021, Cave and VanLandingham) How the Military Should Deal with Its Capitol Rioters. The Daily Beast, January 2021.
  • 2021, Fidell, Cave, Hillman, Vanlandingham, Military justice reform, “pink courts’ and unit cohesion. The Hill.

Call us in as your military defense counsel -- 703-298-9562, mljucmj@court-martial.com
Partner, Cave & Freeburg, LLP
Washington, DC

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Toll Free: 800-401-1583
Fax: 703-997-6076

Washington, DC

Phone: 703-298-9562

Of Counsel
Washington, DC

Toll Free: 800-401-1583

Of Counsel
Washington, DC

Toll Free: 800-401-1583

Of Counsel
Washington, DC

Toll Free: 800-401-1583

Client Reviews
Many years after retiring from the USN, I suddenly found myself in a very unwelcome legal matter with the Navy. It was a total shock and I was very concerned as to the impact this would have on me and my family. Philip was so helpful, truly a calming force, and his legal help was invaluable to me, I am so thankful that I availed myself of his services! Rob
Phil Cave has helped me through NJP and restoration of my security clearance. He even came to visit me in Spain. I never thought I would work again and he certainly through with advise and guidance that we're exactly spot on. He is my hero and thanks to him I gave my life back... Bryan
Mr. Cave saved my military retirement! His promise to me from day one was that he would fight as hard as he could he right the wring that had been done to me. And he did! I am so very thankful and grateful to him. He genuinely cared about me and made my case his priority. He used all his experience and knowledge to put forth a good defense. I am very pleased with him and will recommend him to anyone in need of an attorney. Crystal