Julian McPhillips was born in 1946 in Birmingham, AL, and spent his first 13 years growing up in Cullman, where he attended public schools. Julian graduated from Sewanee Military Academy in 1964; Princeton University cum laude with honors in history in 1968; and Columbia Law School in 1971. Julian also spent four years as a Wall Street attorney, from 1971 to 1975. Julian moved back to Alabama in 1975 and began working as Assistant Attorney General under Bill Baxley, specializing in white collar crime prosecution. He left the attorney general's office in 1977, to open up his own law office, and began a campaign for attorney general that year. Julian ran an energetic state-wide campaign, finishing second out of nine candidates for attorney general in the unofficial results in 1978, but lost his run-off spot . He was an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for the US Senate in 2002.