Michael A. Kelly

Michael A. Kelly

San Francisco, California

Mike Kelly is in his fourth decade as one of the nation’s top personal injury attorneys. Throughout that time he has protected consumers from corporate greed, medical mistakes, dangerous household products, unsafe drugs and devices, roadway accidents and a host of other wrongdoers. He has tried, arbitrated or settled more than 200 cases where the recovery by his client exceeded $1,000,000.

Kelly 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, he is currently spearheading the litigation against the giant utility PG&E for the damage done to local residents by the recent Northern California wildfires. He was selected by Super Lawyers as a ”Top Ten” honoree for 2017-2018 and by “Best Lawyers” as the 2017 Lawyer of The Year in the area of mass torts.

When resolution by mediation or settlement fails, Kelly is ready to take his client’s cases before juries.  Within the last year 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 its buses, negotiated a major confidential settlement against Kaiser Health plan for a high tech worker and obtained a $5.6 million dollar jury verdict against a Super Shuttle driver for the death of a retired restauranteur in a Highway 101 multi-vehicle crash. A year earlier 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 HMO.  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 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 that states 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 sought-after speaker and teacher having presented more than two hundred invited educational lectures, tutorials, presentations, seminars and advocacy demonstrations across the United States, Asia, South America, the United Kingdom and Eastern Europe. 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  and SFTLA.  He served for ten years as the Director of Teacher Training programs for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy and remains as a member of its Board of Governors.  He has long been active in protecting the rights of the underrepresented, and 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. 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 and the Foundation of ABOTA.

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.

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)