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Kenneth Phillips, Solo Practitioner


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Kenneth Phillips Solo Practitioner and have most specialized legal practice in the nation. He works on dog-bite cases.

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Kenneth Phillips, Solo Practitioner

  1. 1. LAWCROSSING THE LARGEST COLLECTION OF LEGAL JOBS ON EARTH LAW STAR 1. 800.973.1177 Kenneth Phillips, Solo Practitioner [by Regan Morris] Kenneth Phillips may have the most specialized legal practice in the nation; he only works on dog-bite cases and is often called the king of dog-bite law.While studying at the University of Southern woman, who was attacked as the dog owner’s “I became very well known. It led to moreCalifornia School of Law, Phillips said he watched, Phillips said. clients, more people coming to the dog-bitenever dreamed of moving into personal law website,” he said. “They went online andinjury law. He started his career as an “At that point, I was very interested because saw this legal website about one topic. Andentertainment lawyer, a logical choice I realized as I was doing my research that when they read through the website, it wasfor someone living in Los Angeles, his there had never been an attorney who came the opposite of every other legal website,hometown. into the field of dog-bite law and studied it because instead of it saying, ‘Caution, this as a field separate from other types of tort is not for legal advice. Go find a lawyer,’ itBut then his cousin was injured in a printing- cases,” he said. said, ‘Write to me. I’ll give you legal advicepress accident at his high school in 1980. As for free.’”the lawyer in the family, Phillips was asked The Los Angeles Times recently calledto handle his young cousin’s case. Phillips Phillips “perhaps the nation’s best-known The site is also unusual because it doeswon a six-figure settlement for the boy, practitioner of terrier torts.” His career went not list Phillips’ phone number or address.whose hand was crushed. to the dogs full time in 1998, when he started Because he wants the site to be educational the website first and foremost, he asks potential clientsThat started a new career for Phillips. He to email for more information. According to Phillips, the term “dog-bite law”said the case gave him a great sense of didn’t exist before he coined it. His websitepersonal satisfaction, so he shifted his The site is full of advice for victims and has attracted thousands of dog-bite victims,practice from entertainment law to personal statistics from what Phillips calls an lawyers, and others interested in dog-biteinjury. “epidemic” of dog bites. There are almost 5 law. million dog-bite victims annually, he says,Phillips, who still resides in Los Angeles, with about 800,000 of those needing medical Phillips, who owns a Yorkshire terrier andhandled his first dog-bite case in the early attention. One thousand people per day seek says he loves dogs, only represents people1990s, after a woman’s nose was ripped hospital treatment for dog bites, and between seriously injured in dog-bite attacks. But heoff and eaten by a mixed-breed dog at a 15 and 20 people die from dog attacks each provides free legal advice on other dog-biteChristmas party. year. Dog-bite losses exceed $1 billion per issues through his website. The website, he year, with insurance companies shelling out says, has been instrumental in promoting“I realized I hadn’t thought before about just $345 million of that, he says. his practice. Dogs generally bite people ashow serious a dog bite could be,” he said. “I a result of bad owners or bad breeding. Toomean, they are always presented in movies Phillips encouraged attorneys to be open- many owners don’t take responsibility foras being just the funniest things in the minded in their careers and says he is their dogs; and that is why people get bitten,world; and in at least one Norman Rockwell stunned how his career turned out, but he says.painting, it’s just what happens to the trouser couldn’t be happier. Phillips says he had acuff of a mailman.” His website has attracted great media biased impression of personal injury law as a interest. Shortly after he started the site, young man because he believes in personalSoon after winning the case involving the Recorder profiled Phillips in 1999. responsibility. But now he thinks personalthe woman who lost her nose to the dog, Soon after, he appeared on the Today show injury law is a perfect way to encouragePhillips took on a case involving a pit bull and was featured in People Magazine. He personal responsibility—for example, bywho mauled a woman’s leg, causing serious frequently comments on network news as a forcing dog owners to be responsible fordamage. The dogs lived next door to the legal analyst on dog-bite cases. their pets.PAGE continued on back
  2. 2. LAWCROSSING THE LARGEST COLLECTION OF LEGAL JOBS ON EARTH LAW STAR 1. 800.973.1177Phillips started his legal career as a clerk view of dogs, when this is more the Ralph liability, says many in the profession wereon the California Supreme Court for Justice Nader view of dogs.” surprised by his choice to give away legalWilliam P. Clark, Jr., who later served as advice. But he says the strategy workedSecretary of the Interior under President People needed to be warned and educated, because he is helping people and creating aRonald Reagan. Phillips also worked as a he said. Phillips says he spends several reputation as the leading expert on dog-biteresearch assistant for legal author Melville hours a day answering questions from people law.Nimmer and in the legal department of 20th across the country about dog-bite litigationCentury Fox. and their rights. Although he only represents “I liked entertainment law; it wasn’t that. I people bitten by dogs, Phillips wrote an just felt that I could really make a differencePhillips compares himself to Ralph Nader e-book for people whose dogs have been in personal injury and really help people,”and says the consumer rights activist is attacked by another dog. It is called What to he said. “You have to find what makes youa personal inspiration in his life’s work. Do if Your Dog is Injured or Killed. happy.”Phillips says he felt obligated to give awayfree legal advice for dog-bite victims because Phillips, who also gives seminars to caninetoo many people only saw “the Walt Disney professionals to teach them how to avoidPAGE