Famed lawyer Robert Shapiro once called John, “the best lawyer in America.” He may not be there yet, but he works to be the best for his clients daily. John is originally from Mobile, Alabama, but made Jacksonville, Florida his home in 2001. He graduated from the University of Alabama, which is the highest ranked public law school in the southeast and was ranked 25th in the nation in a recent U.S. News Survey. He has obtained many million-dollar and multi-million-dollar verdicts and settlements on behalf of his clients, including one 2019 jury verdict over $495 Million dollars, as well as changed the way that companies and governments operate. Although he has represented celebrities and athletes, John’s time is mostly quietly spent helping anyone get justice.
Even 18 years into the practice of law, John is still one of the youngest Board Certified Civil Trial lawyers in the State of Florida. This allows him to be called an expert in civil trial law (personal injury, car accidents, civil rights). Board Certification requires years of advocacy at the highest level, additional peer review, substantial trial experience, hours of advanced seminars and a difficult full day exam. John will tell you, “Nothing worthwhile comes easy.”
John can be seen in the Emmy award winning documentary, Armor of Light. He had a role in the film as the storyteller and lawyer for the family of Jordan Davis and was thanked from the stage by the film’s director Abigail Disney. He regularly seeks out opportunities to learn how to be a better lawyer, leader and father.
More about John’s awards are listed below but he is one of the most acclaimed in America. He is AV-Preeminent rated and has won many awards for both his actions in the courtroom and in the community, including being named one of the 29 most influential people in northeast Florida and the Face of Justice on the First Coast. He is licensed to practice law in Florida, Georgia and Alabama, as well as in Washington DC, and before the United States Supreme Court. He does so with passion and compassion.
In 2015, John was selected to give a TEDx talk on race and equality. It was one of the first speeches that TEDx broadcast live on its YouTube channel and it stands as one of the most watched talks in the State of Florida. He has also spoken at Howard University, at the NAACP Annual Meeting, at PeaceJam in Ghana, at many high schools and colleges and regularly gives seminars to other lawyers.
John was nominated by Jacksonville’s Mayor and confirmed by the City Council to Jacksonville’s Human Rights Commission. In addition to having an audience with multiple Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, John has been recently invited to attend the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland in 2018.
The vast majority of John’s time is spent in his offices, working up cases for his clients and telling stories of people who have been injured or lost loved ones. Trial work is his passion. Good Morning America even filmed and broadcast portions of one of his trials in 2014. However, much of the work he does is unseen by cameras and done with a wonderful hand-picked staff.
John is married to his best friend, Angela, and is the father of three boys, Bennett, Weston and Johnathan. He has dived the great barrier reef, run with the bulls and loves to travel. However, he is happiest with his children in tow, attending Jacksonville Jaguar games and spending time with family and friends.
John’s grew up hearing stories about his grandfather and great grandfather who were lawyers in Mississippi. His mother would tell him tales of them making a difference without concern for profit… people paid what they could when they could.
With them in mind, John always sought to help others. After high school, John was named a Bedsole Scholar, attending the University of Alabama on full scholarship, where he studied political science and criminal justice.
John clerked in Washington, DC for Congressman Sonny Callahan during a summer in college, trying to learn as much as he could about government and law. He was on pace to graduate in three and a half years at Alabama, but could not start law school until the fall. So, John stayed and was selected to teach his very own section of Criminal Justice 101 at age 22. He also volunteered at an alternative school, working with kids who were born to dire circumstances.
John obtained a Juris Doctorate (Law Degree) from Alabama, the 28th ranked law school in the nation. In law school, he was Senior Editor of the Law & Psychology Law Review, involved with the Student Government Association and undertook many other activities. Again, John was on pace to finish in less than the three years usually reserved for law school. However, finishing early would not properly prepare John for the Bar exam. He used the time to get more involved and actually bartended at an establishment, Boo Radleys, named after the key character in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.
After graduation from law school, John accepted a judicial clerkship in Mobile before moving to Jacksonville, Florida. He attended trials and hearings every day and coordinated the efforts of the Honorable James C. Wood (now retired).
Upon moving to Florida, John M. Phillips spent 8 years as a trial lawyer for businesses such as State Farm, Coca-Cola, Hertz, JM Family / Southeast Toyota, USF&G, Anderson Columbia, GEICO, Cambridge and a host of other large companies. He became a named member of the firm of Dore, Lanier & Phillips at age 32 and left Dore & Phillips at age 35, moving on to represent injured individuals, working at one of the largest personal injury firms in the world, Morgan & Morgan.
Feeling unfulfilled, John established his own Florida trial law office in 2011. He has won awards for his work in and out of the courtroom, regularly appears on national television as a legal expert, has achieved a multi-million dollar verdict while Good Morning America’s cameras rolled and is regularly seen volunteering and donating his time and money in our community.
• Alabama Bar, 2000
• Florida Bar, 2001
• Georgia Bar 2002
• Washington, DC Bar 2019
• New York Bar 2019
• United States Supreme Court, 2014
Federal District Courts:
• U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, 2001
• U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida, 2009
• U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, 2014
• U.S. District Court, Middle District of Alabama, 2009
• U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia, 2014
• U.S. District Court, District of Columbia, 2019
• U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, 2020
Just during the last few years, John and his office have been selected as:
• “Best Lawyer,” by readers of the Folio Weekly
• “Righteous Crusader,” by readers of the Folio Weekly
• “One of 29 Most Influential People in Jacksonville,” by Folio Weekly
• “Attorney of the Month (with Photo on the Cover),” by Attorney at Law Magazine
• “#1 Lawyer,” by readers of Void Magazine
• “Face of Justice in the 904,” by 904 Magazine
• “Top Lawyer,” by 904 Magazine
• “Company with Heart,” by 904 Magazine
• “Best Lawyer,” by Jacksonville Magazine
• Legal Elite, Florida Trend Magazine
• “Who’s Who in Law,” by Ponte Vedra Recorder
• AV – Preeminent (the highest rating obtainable), by peers according to Martindale- Hubbell,
• 10 / 10, by Avvo
• Top 100 Trial Lawyer, by the National Trial Lawyers Association
• Top 40 Under 40, by the American Society of Legal Advocates
• SuperLawyer, by Florida Super Lawyers
• Litigator Award, Trial Lawyers Board of Regents
• Many More Here.
Our settlement and verdict pages have many of our accolades, but John has a few unique accolades where he obtained something more valuable than money:
• Several hundred people were falsely labeled by Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and local tax collectors as sexual offenders and sexual predators. John and his clients sued and compelled the DHSMV to completely change their computer system to add safety measures to prevent this.
• Duval County jail inmates were allowed to refuse service of process in civil cases. John and his team changed that policy such that inmates are now compelled to accept service.
•A serial bully caused torment and injury to one of John’s clients. We pushed for an injunction and the judge banned the bully from the entire Duval County School system. Although this decision was overturned on appeal, the appellate court directed the state legislature to change the law and by the time the decision came down, the attacker was already living out of state and the School System implemented a anti-bullying hotline.
• George Zimmerman planned to sell artwork he substantially copied from one of John’s clients. John stepped in and worked with the Associated Press to shut down Zimmerman and stop his dissemination of the artwork.
• Recording artist Katy Perry claimed copyright and trademark to “Left Shark” after Super Bowl 50. A young artist made 3D figurines of dancing sharks and was rebuked by Katy’s lawyers. We assisted him in preserving his rights in a confidential settlement. The sharks can be purchased here.
• John and his team have helped solved crimes that police were too busy to solve and helped keep pressure on prosecutors to do the right thing.
• And many more. Justice isn’t always defined by the dollar.
Case tried to $2.6 Million Verdict in 2014
This talk was performed live before an audience of 400, simulcast to an audience of several thousand and has been viewed over 300,000 times.
Erin Joynt v. Volusia County, 179 So.3d 448 (Fla. 5th DCA 2015).
Paris Cannon v. Melisia Thomas (Aria Jewett), 133 So. 3d 634 (Fla. 1st DCA 2014)
Essex Ins. Co. v. Underwood, 81 So. 3d 434 (Fla. 5th DCA 2012)
All Fla. Pipe & Supply, Inc. v. Green, 977 So. 2d 580 (Fla. 1st DCA 2008)
Boatright v. Smith, 905 So. 2d 127 (Fla. 1st DCA 2005)
Nall v. Burrows Interiors, Inc., 840 So. 2d 228 (Fla. 1st DCA 2003)