When resolution by mediation or settlement fails, Kelly is ready to take his clients’ cases before juries. Recent trials have produced a $4 million jury verdict against the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District for the death of a pedestrian struck by one of its buses, a $5.6 million jury verdict against a Super Shuttle driver for the death of a retired restauranteur, 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 major eight-figure confidential settlement against Kaiser Health Plan for a catastrophically injured infant. His $8.35 million verdict on behalf of a construction worker who lost an arm showed his skill in work-site injury cases. His $23.2 million jury verdict in a birth injury medical malpractice case in Minnesota ranks among that state’s largest verdicts for obstetrical injury.

Beyond stellar results for his clients, Kelly is proud of his many contributions to the legal community. He is a regular speaker for 360 Advocacy, and chairs its annual Trucking Litigation program. He teaches regularly for NITA, The Rutter Group, ABOTA, the Consumer Attorneys of California, AAJ, SFTLA and the Bar Association of San Francisco. He served for 10 years as the Director of Teacher Training programs for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy and remains a member of its Board of Governors. He has long been active in protecting the rights of the underrepresented, working for pedestrian and bicyclist safety, lobbying for compensation fairness for medical 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. He has been selected as the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association’s “Trial Lawyer of the Year,” an award for which he has been nominated in three different decades.

He holds an “AV” rating (highest rating) from Martindale-Hubbell and holds membership in the country’s 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 Council and The Irish Legal 100.

He 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.

Representative Cases

  • Urban Tenant v. Real Estate Manager – Property Defect / Quadriplegia, $42,000,000 Settlement
  • Rogers v. Associated Clinics – Obstetric Malpractice / Brain Injury, $23,200,000 Jury Verdict
  • Goodloe v. Bell Sports, Inc. – Defective Bicycle Helmet / Brain Injury, $17,000,000 Jury Verdict
  • Rachel K. v. Truck Line Operator – Bicycle v. Semi-Truck / Catastrophic Injuries, $15,000,000 Settlement
  • Tourist v. Sierra Resort – Fall on Hotel Premises / Paraplegia, $14,000,000  Settlement
  • Teen v. Auto Component Re-Seller – Vehicle Stability Failure / Paralysis, $12,500,000 Settlement
  • Survivors v. General Contractor – Construction Site Injury / Wrongful Death, $10,500,000 Settlement
  • Family of H. v. UpRight, Inc. – Defective Industrial Product / Wrongful Death, $10,000,000 Settlement
  • Infant v. Obstetrician – Negligent Delivery / Brain Damage – $9,950,000 Settlement
  • Neonate v. OBGYN Group – Delayed Cesarean Delivery / Cerebral Palsy, $9,500,000 Settlement
  • Twins v. Fertility Center – Fertility Clinic Negligence / Congenital Disease, $9,500,000 Settlement
  • Dahl v. Stone M.D. – Paraplegia / Medical Malpractice, $9,420,840 Jury Verdict
  • Perry v. Budget Rent-A-Car – Automobile Accident, $8,775,000 Jury Verdict
  • Kammerer v. Alimak Hek, Inc. – Construction Site Fall / Arm Amputation, $8,350,000 Jury Verdict
  • Kransky v. DePuy Inc. – Defective Metal on Metal Prosthetic Hip, $8,300,000 Jury Verdict
  • Widow v. National Package Delivery – Truck v. Auto Collision / Wrongful Death, $7,750,000 Settlement
  • Infant v. HMO – Gynecology Negligence / Birth Injury, $7,500,000 Settlement
  • Henry V. v. PG&E – Electrocution / Utility Negligence, $7,000,000 Settlement
  • Child v. Pediatric Neurosurgeon – Quadriplegia / Surgical Error, $6,350,000 Settlement
  • Family v. S.F. Hospital – Wrongful Death / Medical Malpractice, $5,850,000 Settlement
  • Johnston v. American Honda Motor Co. – Product Liability / Wrongful Death, $5,760,000 Jury Verdict
  • Software Engineer v. Hospital Corp. – Failure to Diagnose Aneurysm / Brain Damage, $5,475,000 Settlement
  • Diana C. v. Device Maker – Defective Medical Device / Paralysis, $5,250,000 Settlement
  • Kim v. Super Shuttle – Auto Accident / Wrongful Death, $5,176,000 Jury Verdict
  • Richard L. v. HMO – Failure to Diagnose Spinal Abscess, $5,250,000 Settlement
  • Serviceman v. Foreign Auto Maker – Defective Seat Belt/ Traumatic Brain Injury , $4,850,000 Settlement
  • Olivier v. Petroleum Supplier – Loss of Leg / Motorcycle Accident, $4,500,000 Settlement
  • Student v. Valley Unified School District – Negligent School Supervision Paraplegia, $4,500,000 Settlement
  • Richard T. v. HMO – Brain Damage – Failure to Diagnose Cardiomyopathy, $4,250,000 Settlement
  • Grotenhuis v. Golden Gate Bridge Transportation District –  Bus Strikes Pedestrian / Wrongful Death, $4,000,000 Jury Verdict
  • Machinist v. Industrial Machine Design – Product Liability / Brain Damage, $4,000,000 Settlement
  • Jastrab v. Kelada – Failure to Diagnose Infection / Permanent Leg Injury, $3,170,000 Jury Verdict
  • Ethier v. Poindexter – Wrongful Death of Child, $3,030,000 Jury Verdict
  • Student v. Daimler-Chrysler – Defective Seatbelt / Spinal Cord Injury, $3,000,000 Settlement
  • Michael N. v. U.S. Automaker – Vehicle Stability Defect / Rollover Accident, $2,900,000 Settlement
  • Baby Y. v. Sutter Health – Failure to Diagnose Kernicterus, $2,900,000 Settlement

Honors and Awards

  • CAL-ABOTA, Trial Lawyer of the Year
  • Martindale-Hubbell, AV Rating – Highest Rating; Received Annually Each Year Since First Rated in 1982 –
  • San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association Trial Lawyer of the Year, 2010 – Also Nominated 1999, 2001, 2008 –
  • Top Ten Northern California “Super Lawyers”; 2010, 2011, 2012, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
  • Award of Merit, Bar Association of San Francisco – 2007 –
  • The Best Lawyers In America 1997 – 2020
  • The Recorder Newspaper: San Francisco’s Best Personal Injury Attorney, – Voted by Peers 2010 –
  • Consumer Attorneys of California, Nominated Finalist, Consumer Attorney of the Year – 2008, 2010; 2017 –
  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow
  • U.C. Hastings Foundation, Board Membership, 2010 – 2019
  • 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
  • San Francisco Superior Court Judge Pro Tem

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Inner Circle of Advocates, Member
  • Summit Council, Member
  • Law Dragon 500, Honoree
  • American Board of Trial Advocates San Francisco Chapter, President, 2010
  • American Board of Trial Advocates San Francisco Chapter, National Board Member, 2004 – 2016
  • International Academy of Trial Lawyers, Fellow
  • ACTL, Member
  • International Society of Barristers, President, 2012 – 2013
  • International Society of Barristers, Fellow, Member, Board of Governors, 2002 – 2010
  • Judicial Council of California, Member, Jury Instruction Task Force – CACI -, 2000 – 2019
  • National Institute of Trial Advocacy, Member, Board of Trustees, 2002 – 2019
  • San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, President, 1996
  • State Bar of California, Member, Litigation Section
  • American Association for Justice, Member