legal scholar and novelist, was born Stephen Lisle Carter in Washington, D.C., the second of five children to Lisle C. Carter Jr., a lawyer and educator, and Emily E. Carter, who worked as an assistant to the head of the National Urban Coalition. Carter attended public schools in Washington, New York City, and Ithaca, New York, before matriculating at Stanford University, from which he graduated in 1976. He then proceeded to Yale Law School, receiving his JD in 1979.
For the next two years Carter completed clerkships for Judge Spottswood W. Robinson III of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (1979–1980), and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall (1980–1981). He was admitted to the District of Columbia bar in 1981 and worked briefly as an associate at the Washington,