"I have done this lawyering for those who paid me and often spent my own money to provide for a defense. I have never let the lack of money stand in the way of helping people in trouble. My only regret is that I have not been able to do more." - Clarence Darrow
Author and advocate Philip Remington Dunn (Phil) has been a celebrated trial lawyer for more than 30 years in Southern California, where he defended people struggling in onerous situations. For his work on People vs. Tony Estrada,* in which he proved the innocence of his client – thus overturning a murder conviction and life sentence - he received a "Local Heroes" award from the Santa Barbara Independent, and "Special Recognition" from the California State Assembly and the United States Congress from Assemblywoman Hannah Beth Jackson and Congresswoman Lois Capps.
For most people, this might be enough, but for Phil it was only the beginning. His legal work helping the underserved and disenfranchised laid the foundation for him to become the crusader he is today. Just talking about change was not enough; Phil knew he must take action. Phil used his expertise to help create Serving California, a faith-based non-profit dedicated to building a community of empathy for those who are struggling and providing them with the resources to transcend their circumstances. Serving California’s work focuses on three groups; veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), prisoners seeking redemption, and women recovering from abuse and addiction. Phil was their President from it's inception until mid 2016 when he stepped down to return to his true love, law, where he could fight to protect the rights of men and women.
Inspired by his strong faith, Phil knew that everyone - from the toughest of criminals to the bravest of soldiers - deserves compassion and the opportunity for redemption and recovery. These values, strong since childhood, have carried Phil throughout his professional and personal life, and eventually led him to tell the stories that molded his character and shaped his worldview. Stories like Tony Estrada’s told in his book, When Darkness Reigns. The book chronicles the true-life story of Estrada’s journey and his refusal to give up hope, even in the face of imminent failure and deception.
Through his work, Phil reveals a world where truth is certainly stranger than fiction; recounting stories that are just as unsettling as they are true. A prolific writer and recognized speaker, Phil regularly addresses conferences and other audiences on topics ranging from victims rights, prisoner rehabilitation and reentry, and treatment of veterans suffering from PTSD. In spite of everything he has seen, Phil is not cynical. In fact, nothing better encapsulates him than the lyrics “To dream the impossible dream” from the Cervantes-inspired musical, “Man of La Mancha.” For Phil has dedicated his life’s work to not only dreaming the impossible dream - fairness and justice - but also of doing everything in his power to achieve it.