By Tori Harrell | Contributor

John M. Phillips is an award-winning Jacksonville lawyer who has been practicing law for eight years. After doing trial law for major companies such as Coca-Cola, GEICO and State Farm, he decided to start his own firm. Phillips is licensed to practice law in Florida, Georgia and Alabama, and was selected as one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyer Association in 2012 and 2013. Not only has he gained national recognition for his law practices, but he comes from an extensive history of lawyers dating back to his great grandfather, Arthur G. Busby, in Mississippi.

Phillips and his team of lawyers specialize in wrongful death, criminal defense and drunk driving accidents.

When asked why he chose to do trial law, and what made him passionate about it, Phillips said, “My grandfather received his license to practice law in 1938. His dad became a judge a few years before that. Hearing my mother talk about them and how they advocated for others, helped people regardless of race, even in Mississippi, made me understand the word compassion. Helping people becomes addictive, which brings the passion.”

Phillips also said he began his firm here in Florida, instead of his hometown of Mobile, was because, “Mobile, Alabama is a lot like Jacksonville, but Florida has more to offer. We open up our beach office next month. My two offices are literally blocks away from the river and the ocean. There aren’t many towns where you can pull that off.”

The kind of cases that Phillips and his team receive the most involve people who have been injured, arrested or have lost a loved one. What sets this business apart from other law firms is knowing the difference between words and action, and they make it a priority to make a personal connection with their clients. Phillips and his team are not only compassionate, they are smart and realize there is a science to solving cases and technology plays a huge part.

“Knowing the science behind any case is extremely important. Our conference room has anatomical models of about every body part,” said Phillips. “We work closely with nurses and doctors to understand the biomechanics of injury or death. The same method is used in criminal cases.”

These are just a few of the methods they use to solve cases, Phillips also has drone helicopters that take pictures of the crime scene, and video editing software that lets them make “high-tech” presentations.

“The Internet and digitization of information have made things easier. The first computer hard drive storage was 5 megabytes; smaller than a photo taken by an average camera and was the size of a car,” he said. “It took 51 years before computer drives reached a 1 terabyte (1,000 gigabytes) capacity. The resources available to us instantly have changed immensely”

Did You Know?

  • Maggots play a huge part in solving crimes. Yes, they’re gross but depending on how long they have been on a corpse scientists can analyze the contents of their stomach and determine how long the body has been there.
  • Television shows such as “NCIS” or “CSI” have many believing that the testing of a body can be done within an hour. In actuality this kind of extensive testing has to be thorough and could take two to three weeks.
  • Your basic forensic scientist kit contains a fiberglass brush, black, dual contrast or white powder, clear lifting tape in a jar, backing cards, a utility knife and a field case with foam insert.