On February 14, 2019, John Phillips had the distinct honor of learning from and introducing John Grisham and David Baldacci. John vividly remembers being in 10th grade, lying in bed and reading about Jake Brigance and Mitch McDeer, two of Grisham’s characters. Absolute Power was also a favorite. John’s grandfather and great grandfather went to Ole Miss Law School but both died before John was born. They only lived through the stories his mother and others told. John was biding time until I could walk in their skin. Legal thrillers allowed John to think about his family and the cases they must have had. Little did he know, but he may have learned more practical lessons in their books than in law school.
A decade into John’s legal career, he began to wonder if he would get a case which would make Jake Brigance sweat or be worthy of a novel. He’d actually become known for taking cases that matter- high profile fights with long lasting implications.
- In 2012, Jordan Davis was shot and killed over an argument which stemmed from loud music and race based decision making. John fought for justice in the criminal system- which took two trials, filed a lawsuit in the civil courts and obtained a confidential settlement, fought through declaratory judgment actions by an insurance company claiming he didn’t have a case and won. Two documentaries resulted- one of which won an Emmy. Jordan’s mother was elected to US Congress. His father travels the world fighting for peace and equality.
- When police responded to a noise complaint and shot and killed a man through his closed garage door, in a small Florida town, John and his team filed a federal civil rights case. We had 30+ live witnesses come in… and got involuntary police escorts to our hotel… and an unjust $4 verdict lead by two jurors who apparently said they wouldn’t be fair from the beginning. A documentary is forthcoming. He reread Grisham’s A Time to Kill prior to trial. The appeal is pending.
- Our team got a half billion dollar verdict last month in a gun violence case. We frequently thought of Harper Lee’s advice from Atticus to Scout about walking in a client’s skin and fighting for justice for those who needed a little extra help.
- We are defending an author against litigation seeking to choke her rights under the 1st, and all of our rights under the 25th Amendments.
- We represent family of a man who was mysteriously killed at GTMO, and certainly are rediscovering some plot lines of David Baldacci.
- And many more.
These men, John Grisham and David Baldacci, don’t write fiction; they write aspirations and dreams. They tell a young man not just that you can pursue a legal career, but that we all have something to RECKON with… towards a better tomorrow.
From the Grisham’s work with the innocence project to Baldacci and his wife’s foundation Wish You Well Foundation, their work isn’t just found in libraries and bookstores. They have done amazing things with their law degrees and voices. We stand as an ally to you both if you ever need anything.
Our sponsorship also benefitted the Amelia Island Book Festival, an amazing cause.