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Philip D. Cave

Partner, Cave & Freeburg, LLP
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United States +Unit Unit-Unite-United St Ext: Unite
Toll Free: 800-401-1583
Fax: 703-997-6076

1629 K St NW #300
Washington, D.C. 20006

I have extensive experience as a prosecutor, defense counsel, appellate advocate, and legal advisor in military cases. I have served tours of duty in the U.S., Gulf-I, in USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV 67), and overseas in Spain, Portugal, and Bahrain. While on active duty I also gained experience as a member of the Navy Clemency & Parole Board, the Joint Service Committee on Military Justice, and in regulatory and legislative matters.

I have provided testimony at both Cox Commissions on military justice, on behalf of the Bar Association of the District of Columbia. I regularly participate as a moot court judge for several national moot court competitions held in the Washington, DC, area.

I am regularly consulted by print, radio, and TV media for commentary on significant military justice cases and issues.

I have been practicing military law exclusively since 1979.

I came to America in 1972, having spent seven years with the Metropolitan Police in London, England.

After graduating from the Case Western Reserve University Law School in 1979, I went to the Naval Justice School; and then I reported to my first assignment at Naval Legal Service Office Norfolk, to be a defense counsel and then a trial counsel (prosecutor).

Over the next 20 years I served as a Navy judge advocate in various military justice related assignments: twice as a defense counsel, twice as a trial counsel (prosecutor), three times as a staff judge advocate (command legal advisor), and as an appeals lawyer. For my last few years of active duty I served in the Navy office responsible Military Justice (legislation, regulation, policy) matters, as well as sitting as a member of the Naval Clemency & Parole Board.

I have broad experience in courts-martial ranging from simple AWOL/UA cases to complicated murder, sex assault, and national security cases. Most of my trial cases are contested members (jury); that is when I have not been able to divert them for trial. Over the years I have tried hundreds of contested cases, and have been involved in thousands of cases from the simple AR 15-6 type investigation to significant adverse administrative actions.

I believe in listening to the client.
I believe in being honest with the client.
I believe in communicating with the client.

Areas of Practice

100% Military Law

Litigation Percentage

90% of Practice Devoted to Trial and Appellate Litigation

Bar Admissions
  • Ohio, 1979
  • Virginia, 2000
  • District of Columbia, 2000
  • U.S. Court of Appeals Federal Circuit, 2000
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1992
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, 1982
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Virginia, 2000
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims, 2001
  • Univ. Galway, The Irish Centre for Human Rights, June 2024
  • Case Western Reserve University Law School, J.D. - 1979
  • The George Washington University Law School, LL.M., Master of Laws - 1988
  • Joint Forces Staff College - National Defense University, 1982
  • Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio B.A. - 1976
  • Metropolitan Police Training School, London UK- 1968
  • Metropolitan Police Cadet Corps, London UK - 1967
Professional Associations and Memberships
  • National Institute of Military Justice, Director, 2000 - Present
  • Co-Chair, Military Justice Committee, Criminal Justice Section, ABA
  • Judge Advocates Association (life mbr)
  • Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, International (life mbr)
  • American Legion, Post # 24, Alexandria, VA
Past Employment Positions
  • Navy-Marine Corps Appellate Defense Division, Deputy Director, 1992 - 1994
  • Naval Legal Service Office, Chief Trial Defense Counsel, 1990 - 1991
  • Naval Legal Service Office, Trial Counsel (Prosecutor), 1988 - 1990
  • Naval Legal Service Office, Trial Defense Counsel, 1980 - 1982
  • Metropolitan Police Force, New Scotland Yard, London, England, Police Cadet and then
  • Police Constable, 1965 - 1972
  • U.S. Navy, Judge Advocate General's Corps.
  • U.S. Forces, Azores, Portugal, Assistant Staff Judge Advocate (Legal Advisor),
  • Commander
  • The Staff Judge Advocate (Senior Legal Advisor) to, USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV-67)
  • Naval Logistics Support Force, in support of Operations DESERT SHIELD/ DESERT STORM
  • (Gulf I), Staff Judge Advocate to, Commander
  • Naval Legal Service Office Detachment, Rota, Spain, Officer-in-Charge
  • Judge Advocate General of the Navy, Deputy Director, Criminal Law Division

Testimony and presentations 

  • 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).
  • 2009. Testimony before the 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.
  • Panelist, U.S. Relationship with the International Criminal Court 2023, NIMJ Expert Roundtable.
  • 2021. Presentation, Retiree Courts-Martial. NIMJ Symposium jointly with the Georgetown Center on National Security and the 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.
  • 2022, presentation, Prosecution of military retirees for pre- and post-retirement offenses.  Military Law Committee, VA State Bar.
  • Panelist, U.S. Relationship with the International Criminal Court 2023, NIMJ Expert Roundtable.
Publications and editorials

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