Sandra Phillips is vice president and assistant general counsel of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (TMS). She reports to Toyota’s chief legal officer for North America. Ms. Phillips leads a team charged with building Toyota’s North America legal services capability — Toyota Legal One. Her responsibilities also include legal operations, legal technology, and coordinating certain aspects of the company’s complex litigation. She is active in the TMS African American Collaborative and TORQUE, a professional women’s alliance group.
Prior to joining TMS in 2012, Ms. Phillips was a partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius L.L.P. in Houston, Texas, where her practice focused on complex litigation management and strategy. While at Morgan Lewis, she was outside counsel for Toyota and played a key role in coordinating legal strategy for a high-profile litigation matter.
Earlier, Ms. Phillips was senior vice president and associate general counsel for Pfizer Inc. As Pfizer’s chief litigation counsel, she was responsible for setting and executing legal strategies for the company’s global product litigation matters and served on the CEO’s Senior Management Team. Prior to Pfizer, Ms. Phillips was the managing partner of the Houston office of Shook, Hardy & Bacon, L.L.P.
Ms. Phillips is active in several professional and community organizations, including the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, the International Association of Defense Counsel and the Defense Research Institute. She is a founding member of the University of Texas Center for Women in Law. The Center is the premier educational institution devoted to the success of the entire spectrum of women in law, from first-year law students to the most experienced and accomplished attorneys. It combines theory with practice, identifying and addressing the persistent issues facing individual women and the profession as a whole. The Center serves as a national resource to convene leaders, generate ideas, and lead change.
Ms. Phillips is a thought leader on diversity in the profession and is devoted to mentoring women and minority professionals. She is the 2008 recipient of the Defense Research Institute Diversity Pioneer Award. In March 2013 Ms. Phillips was honored by Alston & Bird as a “Woman of Distinction.” In August 2013 she was recognized by Inside Counsel, “R-3 100 The Next Generation of General Counsel.” Ms. Phillips was featured in Lovick’s Diversity Career Journal’s “Women’s Profile Issue,” Winter 2013 and Diversity Journal’s “5th Annual Women Worth Watching in 2007.” Her philosophy on mentoring was featured in Diversity & the Bar in an article entitled, “The Five Dimensions of Mentoring,” July/August 2005 edition.
Ms. Phillips earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a law degree, both at the University of Texas at Austin.