Meet Kenneth M. Phillips

“Kenneth Phillips absolutely is the country’s leading legal expert in the handling, litigation and strategy of dog bite cases. He is the premiere author, not only with articles, a book and other publications, speaks on this subject all the time, and [when] the discussion is about dog bite litigation it is an absolute that you are going to hear Kenneth Phillips talking about it.” – John F. Romano, past President of the Florida Justice Association and one of the USA’s most recognized trial attorneys.

Since the 1990’s, Attorney Phillips has been the only lawyer in the USA who does nothing but represent children and adults injured by dogs. He has earned tens of millions of dollars for dog bite victims all over the nation, winning cases against dog owners, landlords, property owners, property management companies, employers, stores, animal control departments, police departments, and school districts. (See his Greatest Cases.) He charges nothing unless he gets money for a client.

He has appeared regularly on national television, including CNN, MSNBC, Fox News Channel, ABC, CBS and NBC. He has been heard on dozens of radio shows throughout the USA and as far away as New Zealand and China. He has been written about or interviewed by approximately 100 newspapers and magazines in the USA and Europe, including Time, People, Good Housekeeping, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and the Los Angeles Times.

The Today Show called Attorney Kenneth M. Phillips “the dog-bite king of the legal universe.” Time Magazine called him “California’s leading dog-bite lawyer.” Good Housekeeping referred to him as “a leading expert in dog-bite law.”

The Chicago Tribune called him “an expert in laws pertaining to dog bites.” The Los Angeles Times said he is “the nation’s best-known practitioner of terrier torts.” Animals 24/7 referred to him as “the senior specialist in representing dog attack victims worldwide.”

In addition to authoring Dog Bite Law, he has written two featured articles for dog bite victims’ attorneys in Trial Magazine (“Put Some Teeth In Your Dog Bite Claim” and “Seven Factors to Consider In a Child Dog Bite Case“), two books for the owners of good dogs (“When a Dog Is Injured or Killed” and “Defending Your Dog“), legislation enacted at the state level, and editorials and articles in newspapers and magazines. He is featured in the video seminar for attorneys titled “Tips and Tricks for Dog Bite Lawyers” and the video seminar for canine professionals called “Avoiding Liability When Working with Dogs,” as well as the video series “Dog Bite Law in 2 Minutes” for the public.

Attorney Kenneth M. Phillips was born in New York in 1951. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1973, and a Juris Doctor degree from UCLA Law School in 1976. He served as a law clerk for William P. Clark, Jr., Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court (and later the Secretary of the Interior under President Ronald Reagan). He is married to Catherine Franco and practices law in Beverly Hills, California.

The California State Bar has issued its official Certificate of Standing, confirming the Mr. Phillips has practiced law since 1976, is an active member of the bar, and has never been disciplined for professional misconduct or other misconduct.

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How Mr. Phillips Handles Cases Across the USA

Attorney Kenneth Phillips is involved in dog bite cases throughout the United States. He does this by teaming up with lawyers near the scene of the accident or the courthouse where the case would be tried if there were no settlement. This “partnering” with local attorneys does not cost the client anything more than having just one lawyer, because the attorneys split the fee agreed to by the client, pursuant to the law of the state where the accident happened. The fee is always contingent upon success (no recovery means no fee).

The local lawyer often brings a motion to have Phillips admitted to practice before the court in the state where the accident occurred. This is called “pro haec vice” admission. After Phillips is admitted, he prosecutes the lawsuit in that state like any other attorney would. In all such cases, Phillips, the client and the local attorney enter into written agreements which — Describe the rights and obligations of each of them, including how both attorneys will be paid; Specify how Phillips and the local attorney will divide the work and responsibilities; and, Confirm that the client will not have to pay an extra fee because of the local lawyer.

Courts throughout the USA permit attorneys to practice law in this manner. The general rule is as follows: “Activities in contemplation of [pro haec vice] admission [to practice law in a state outside the state in which an attorney is licensed] are also authorized, such as investigating facts or consulting with the client within the jurisdiction prior to drafting a complaint and filing the action.” Restatement of the Law Third, The Law Governing Lawyers, section 3, comment (e), p. 27. (See., i.e., South Carolina Bar Assn., Ethics Opp., “When May An Out-of-State Attorney Practice Law in South Carolina?” (adopted Mar. 17, 2006), referencing Rule 5.5(c)(2) of the S.C.Sup.Ct. Rules.)

Similarly, Rule 5.5 of the ABA Model Rules permits a lawyer from any state to practice law in any other state if the lawyer’s activities pertain to a matter that may end up in court or already is in court. Dog bite cases fit that description. States such as North Carolina have this rule. Some states require registration and payment of a fee, such as Connecticut. Some, such as Texas, have no black letter rule but instead have a custom of permitting qualified attorneys to engage in dispute resolution proceedings.

Because Phillips lives in California, has his offices only in California, and is a member of only the California State Bar Association, he handles cases outside California in a manner that meticulously complies with Rule 5.5 or, if different, the particular state’s similar rules. See State Implementation of ABA MJP Policies for a comprehensive summary of the states’ positions on Rule 5.5; also see the ABA’s Quick Guide which is updated.