The story of Elijah Gorham ultimately belongs to his family, and perhaps his friends. His name, image, and memory all undeniably belong to the family. However, the responsibility to represent the family and support them after the tragedy was an important moment in Douglas Phillips' legal career and he is humbled to know Elijah's family as clients and friends.
In the Spring of 2022, Phillips Law Group represented the family of high school football star Elijah Gorham in reaching a settlement with the City of Baltimore and City Schools. Elijah was an agile and talented wide receiver and kick return specialist for the 2021 Maryland state champion Mervo Mustangs. Elijah planned to play college football at LSU and build a photography and video production company in the future. Tragically, in his senior year during a football game against the Dunbar Poets, Elijah suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury. His family and school community mourned the untimely and unnecessary loss of an outstanding young man.
Elijah's mother, Shantres Shaw, spoke with several prominent law firms in Maryland before retaining Douglas Phillips to represent her, her family, and Elijah's estate. Over the next several months and after numerous negotiation sessions, agreements were reached to settle the claims concerning Elijah's death. The city of Baltimore and Baltimore City Schools made significant commitments towards reforming the training of athletic coaches, hiring athletic trainers at each high school, and creating a position dealing with athlete safety.
In the 2022 Maryland legislative term, a bill supported by Elijah's mother Shantres Shaw and Douglas Phillips was signed into law by Governor Larry Hogan. It was one of the most important bills passed in Maryland that Spring. That bill, the Elijah Gorham Act, updated and extended the emergency procedures that apply to all schools in Maryland.
Elijah's mother and family created a foundation in his memory: the 7Strong foundation. The 7Strong foundation seeks to "provide instruction in the sport of football, especially the safe play and safe coaching of football at the youth and high school level". Please visit the 7Strong website to learn more about the organization and the life of Elijah Gorham.