Michael A. Kelly

Michael A. Kelly

San Francisco, California

Mike Kelly has spent more than 35 years honing his skill as one of the nation’s top personal injury attorneys. Throughout that time he has focused on protecting consumers from medical mistakes, dangerous automobiles, flawed household products, unsafe drugs and devices, roadway accidents and a host of other injury producing causes. He has tried, arbitrated or settled more than 200 cases where the recovery by his client exceeded $1,000,000.

Selected by “Best Lawyers “ as the 2017 Lawyer of The Year in the area of mass torts, and by “Super Lawyers” as a Top Ten designee for 2017-2018, Kelly has been a Law Dragon 500 selectee from 2014-2017 and is consistently listed among the top tier of lawyers in the country in cases involving personal injury, wrongful death, brain injury, paralysis and medical malpractice. A member of the prestigious Inner Circle of Advocates, Kelly has multiple 7 and 8 figure jury verdicts. In March, 2017 he obtained a $4,000,000 jury verdict against the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District for the death of a pedestrian struck by one of their buses, and negotiated a major confidential settlement in a failure to diagnose case against Kaiser Health plan for a high tech worker who became disabled. In 2016 he concluded four major cases including a $12.75 million recovery against a domestic auto maker, (auto roll over), a $10.5 million settlement for the wrongful death of a single mother and a $7.5 million birth injury malpractice recovery against a national HM O. In May of 2015 he obtained a record Kaiser Health Plan wrongful death arbitration award. His $8,341,000 verdict in the first DePuy ASR / Johnson and Johnson metal-on-metal artificial hip trial set the standard for verdicts in the nationwide hip implant litigation and helped produce a $2.5 billion national settlement. His $8,350,000 verdict on behalf of a construction-site worker who lost an arm in a fall in the same year showed his skill in work-site injury cases. His $23,200,000 jury verdict in a birth injury medical malpractice case in Minnesota ranks among the nation’s largest verdicts for obstetrical injury.

Beyond his stellar results in the courtroom, Kelly is proud of his contributions to the legal community locally, nationally and globally. He has presented more than two hundred invited lectures, tutorials, presentations, seminars and advocacy demonstrations across the United States, and in Asia, South America, the United Kingdom and Eastern Europe. In 2017 he returned to Japan at the request of the Japanese Federation of Bar Associations to teach litigation advocacy courses in Osaka and Tokyo. He is a regular speaker for 360 advocacy, and chairs their annual trucking litigation program. He served for ten years as the director of teacher training programs for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy. He lectures regularly for the California Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB), The Rutter Group, CAOC, ABOTA, PLI, AAJ, 360 Advocacy and SFTLA. He has long been active in protecting the rights of the underrepresented, working for pedestrian and bicyclist safety, lobbying for medical compensation fairness for malpractice victims and protecting the rights of the LGBT community.

In 2014, he was selected as the “Trial Lawyer of the Year” by the California Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates. In 2012 he was honored by the Consumer Attorneys of California with the Robert E. Cartwright award, for his work teaching Trial Advocacy. In 2011 he was honored by the National Institute of Trial Advocacy with the Robert Oliphant Award, recognizing his pro bono contributions to advocacy teaching. In 2010 he was voted the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association’s “Trial Lawyer of the Year,” his fourth nomination as the SFTLA Trial Lawyer of the Year.

He has been listed as among the “Best Lawyers” in America for 25 consecutive years. He holds an “AV” rating (highest rating) from Martindale-Hubbell. He has been elected to the most selective legal honorary societies including the American College of Trial Lawyers, the International Society of Barristers (for whom he served as President in 2012-2013), the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, The Summit Counsel and The Irish 100. He has served on the National Board of ABOTA, the governing board of NITA, and the Foundation of ABOTA.

Mr. Kelly graduated summa cum laude from St. Mary’s College of California in 1973. He obtained his law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 1976. He was an Assistant Professor of Law at Hastings from 1981 – 2001. He lives in San Francisco with his wife Patricia. He has four adult children: Carolyn, Sean, Conor and Monica.

Areas of Practice

  • Litigation
  • Trial
  • Arbitration and Mediation of Catastrophic Injury
  • Product Liability
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Premises Liability
  • Automobile Negligence
  • Wrongful Death
  • Obstetrical Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Claims

Bar Admissions

  • California, 1976


  • University of California, Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco, California
    • J.D. – 1976
  • St. Mary’s College of California, California
    • B.A. summa cum laude – 1973
    • Honors: De La Salle Medal (Academic Excellence)
    • Honors: Milliken Award (Student Affairs)

Representative Cases

Honors and Awards

  • CAL-ABOTA, Trial Lawyer of the Year, San Francisco Chapter
  • Martindale-Hubbell, "AV" Rating (Highest Rating; Received Annually Each Year Since First Rated in 1982)
  • Recipient, CAOC Cartwright Award for Teaching Litigation Advocacy (2012)
  • Recipient, Award, N.I.T Robert Oliphant.A. (2011)
  • San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association Trial Lawyer of the Year, 2010 (Also Nominated 1999, 2001, 2008)
  • Top Ten Northern California "Super Lawyers" (2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012)
  • Award of Merit, Bar Association of San Francisco (2007)
  • Listed, "The Best Lawyers In America", 1997 – 2012
  • The Recorder Newspaper: San Francisco’s Best Personal Injury Attorney, (Voted by Peers in San Francisco Bar, 2010)
  • Consumer Attorneys of California, Nominated Finalist, Consumer Attorney of the Year (2008, 2010)
  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow
  • U.C. Hastings Foundation, Board Membership, 2010 – 2013
  • National Institute of Trial Advocacy, Program Director: West Coast Teacher Training, 2001 – 2010
  • Harvard Teacher Training, 2005 – 2008
  • Colorado Teacher Training, 2006 – 2007
  • New York Teacher Training, 2009 – 2012
  • Judicial Council of California, Member, Jury Instruction Task Force, 2000 – 2003
  • San Francisco Superior Court Judge Pro Tem

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • American Board of Trial Advocates San Francisco Chapter, President, 2010
  • American Board of Trial Advocates San Francisco Chapter, National Board Member, 2002 – 2003
  • American Board of Trial Advocates San Francisco Chapter, National Board Member, 2004 – 2012
  • International Society of Barristers, Fellow, President, 2012 – 2013
  • International Society of Barristers, Fellow, Member, Board of Governors, 2002 – 2012
  • National Institute of Trial Advocacy, Member, Board of Trustees, 2002 – 2012
  • San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, President, 1996
  • San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, Executive Board Member, 1990 – 1995
  • State Bar of California, Member, Litigation Section
  • Bar Association of San Francisco, Litigation Section, Member, Judiciary Committee, Executive Committee, 2001 – 2006
  • American Association for Justice, Member
  • Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, Member
  • International Academy of Trial Lawyers, Member
  • Judicial Council of California, Member, Jury Instruction Task Force , 2000 – 2003
  • Judicial Council Advisory, Member, Committee on Civil Jury Instructions (C.A.C.I.)
  • San Francisco Superior Court Judicial Arbitration Arbitrator Selection Committee, Member, 1998 – 2008
  • Edward J. McFetridge San Francisco American Inn of Court, 1990 – 1993
  • San Francisco Superior Court
  • Association of Personal Injury Attorneys (United Kingdom)