Since high school, Detroit attorney Phillip Toutant has had a keen interest in argument and advocacy. “I was very active in debate and forensics, where I practiced oral advocacy and public speech. Years ago I asked myself the classic question, ‘What am I going to do?’ Since I loved writing, argument and giving presentations, it was pretty obvious.”
Toutant joined MAJ while still in law school. “I knew I wanted to do trial work and represent injured people and my mentors encouraged me to consider med mal. I joined MAJ because it’s important to be part of the unified voice of those who represent injured people in Michigan. Then there is MAJ’s legislative work, the continuing legal education opportunities, and the networking and referral opportunities.” Toutant is also a member of AAJ and AAJ’s birth trauma litigation group.
A monthly contributor to JUSTICE PAC, Toutant believes that supporting JUSTICE PAC is crucially important. “Serious, like a heart attack, important. In fact, it is probably my biggest reason for being involved with MAJ. Like it or not, the decisions of our government are strongly influenced by lobbying dollars and campaign finance. The corporations and insurance companies we square off with make substantial contributions to further the political interests of their shareholders; namely, to produce a climate wherein they can maximize their profits while minimizing their liabilities.” Toutant added, “By and large, our clients do not buy into the position that brings them to our offices. They are not shareholders in being wrongfully hurt. They have no legislative counsel and often do not have the funds to make campaign contributions. But for the work of JPAC, these people would likely not have a voice. Moreover, the interests of the members of MAJ are perfectly aligned with our clients. Rest assured, if our voice says nothing, the corporations and insurance companies will be happy to speak for us, and only they will like the results. Contributors to JPAC allow us to fight garbage bills like the recently-tabled emergency room immunity bill.”
Toutant’s practice is distinctive because it is focused strongly on medical malpractice and birth trauma litigation. “In my first few months as a lawyer, I have already worked on scores of cases and settled over $1.5 million in claims that I worked up with Brian McKeen in pre-suit facilitations. Brian has proven to be a fantastic mentor and role model for an impressionable young lawyer. My firm is unique because of its reputation for the highest-quality representation of injured people in medical malpractice and birth trauma litigation. We have fascinating cases that present unique challenges. Recently, Brian and I have been working on a unique case involving an Ohio couple that, via in-vitro fertilization, became impregnated with another couple’s baby. Subsequently, they gave birth to this child (only after the story caught the national media). It has been a wild ride for a young lawyer.”
Toutant enjoys working with his clients. “I love my clients. Yes, they can be difficult. Right out of my first year of law school, I worked at a plaintiff-side auto negligence firm. Initially, the clients drove me crazy. Now, older and (hopefully) wiser, I have come to love working with my clients. The most satisfying aspect of being a trial attorney is explaining to my clients what is going on throughout their cases to their satisfaction. Without question, my second favorite aspect is kicking experienced defense attorneys’ asses on motion day, motions, judicial disqualification hearings, depositions, and pretty much any other opportunity possible.”
“I work a lot. Seriously. As a young lawyer, my family is pretty much the folks in my office. I’m not yet married and have no kids – my only family is really my badly-behaved Brittney Spaniel. I couldn’t do what I do without my office family. Brian gives me furniture for my house, my file clerk lets my dog out when I am out of town at deps, and my secretary pays my traffic tickets. The office manager and receptionist feed me. Without them, I’d certainly fall apart. Aside from work, my hobbies include fishing (especially fly fishing for brook and brown trout in northern Michigan) and sailing my restored 1975 Flying Scot.”