Phillip Margolin grew up in New York, and graduated from The American University in Washington, D.C. . He was a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia from 1965-1967. In 1970 he graduated from New York University School of Law. He moved to Oregon to clerk for Herbert Schwab, the Chief Justice of the Oregon Court of Appeals. He was in private practice from 1972 until 1996 in Portland, specializing in criminal defense at the trial and appellate levels. He has appeared before the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the Oregon Supreme Court and the Oregon Court of Appeals. He has represented approximately 30 people charged with homicide. He was the first Oregon attorney to use the Battered Women’s Syndrome to defend a battered woman accused of murdering her spouse.
Since 1996 he has been writing full-time. His first novel, Heartstone, was nominated for an Edgar for best original paperback mystery of 1978 by the Mystery Writers of America He was also the 2009 Spotted Owl Award winner for Executive Privilege.
Margolin’s most recent book, Worthy Brown’s Daughter, is an historical legal drama set in nineteenth-century Oregon. Lawyer Matthew Penny agrees to help Worthy Brown, a newly freed slave, rescue his fifteen year old daughter, Roxanne, from their former master, a powerful Portland lawyer.