ClickCease Spencer J. Pahlke
Meet Spencer

Spencer J. Pahlke

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Spencer’s practice focuses on catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death cases involving defective products, vehicular collisions, dangerous conditions of public and private property, and medical malpractice.

Outside of his practice at Walkup, Spencer also teaches at the University of California – Berkeley Law School and is the Director of its Trial Competition Program

In addition to his teaching, he directs Berkeley Law’s external trial competition program and coaches multiple trial advocacy teams. Under Spencer’s guidance, the program has risen to national prominence, having won many national honors and distinctions, including several national championships. Spencer serves as the Regional Representative for Northern California, Nevada, Arizona, and Hawaii in the National Association of Legal Advocacy Educators.

I count myself enormously fortunate to have received the greatly-needed help of Walkup partner and senior attorney, Spencer Pahlke and the larger Walkup team. In 2016, I suffered severe spinal cord injury in a bicycle accident. Spencer had come warmly recommended by colleagues at Berkeley Law and he exceeded the lofty praise that earned from others. He was a wise and attentive counsel, guiding me through a number of decisions and responding promptly and generously at every step. I continue to feel steeply in his debt. My accident was a terrible piece of misfortune, but my experience at Walkup was uniformly excellent and very fortunate.

I count myself enormously fortunate to have received the greatly-needed help of Walkup partner and senior attorney, Spencer Pahlke and the larger Walkup team. In 2016, I suffered severe spinal cord injury in a bicycle accident. Spencer had come warmly recommended by colleagues at Berkeley Law and he exceeded the lofty praise that earned from others. He was a wise and attentive counsel, guiding me through a number of decisions and responding promptly and generously at every step. I continue to feel steeply in his debt. My accident was a terrible piece of misfortune, but my experience at Walkup was uniformly excellent and very fortunate.

Client

This law firm has changed my life.

This law firm has changed my life. They fight for you when you cant fight for yourself. They pick you up after you've been knocked down.... They guide you when you cant see. They fought my case while i healed up and got better. They are trustworthy and FOR YOU. A stand up place with stand up people. Smart ... Tenacious... And dependable.

Client

I can honestly say there's no better lawyer out there and I definitely will call Spencer again if I have any personal injuries claims!

I worked directly with Spencer Pahlke after a serious motorcycle accident. I was constantly impressed with the professionalism and empathy his team showed me. I can honestly say there's no better lawyer out there and I definitely will call Spencer again if I have any personal injuries claims!

On top of being highly intelligent, Spencer is a very nice person and easy to talk to as well.

I cold-called Walkup after doing some research on the internet and was transferred to Spencer Pahlke, who is an excellent personal injury attorney. I felt from day 1 that I was in very good hands and that his advice was very solid and well-considered. On top of being highly intelligent, Spencer is a very nice person and easy to talk to as well.

Client

Spencer’s incredible skills are a reflection of the type of professional excellence you can expect from Walkup.

Client

Spencer patiently explained the process, expected timeline, and strategy in terms that were easy for a layperson to understand.

I was apprehensive about whether or not I should be seeking damages for a life-changing injury. Spencer patiently explained the process, expected timeline, and strategy in terms that were easy for a layperson to understand. I always felt like my case was a high priority. They helped transform a devastating injury which threatened my career into a positive outcome which provided real security for my family's future.

Client

Walkup is the firm where one will find Lawyers with Heart, Feelings and Integrity.

Walkup is the firm where one will find Lawyers with Heart, Feelings and Integrity. Our experience with them is nothing but Passion we got from Michael Kelly and his staff but especially Spencer Pahlke. We got care and handle the case so professionally that I don't have enough words to write.

Client

Long story short he helped me win my case and I HIGHLY recommend him and his firm.

I had the pleasure of working with Spencer Pahlke, immediately after speaking with him about my case I felt a sense of relief and knew I was in the right hands. Long story short he helped me win my case and I HIGHLY recommend him and his firm.

Client

I can't recommend this law firm enough.

I worked with Spencer Pahlke… he has been an incredibly encouraging and patient advocate for over a year and helped me win my case! Spencer and his team are extremely kind, transparent, competent, skilled, and fight hard for their clients - I can't recommend this law firm enough.

Client

Spencer took care of everything.

My husband and I were involved in an auto accident and felt incredibly burdened by the combined stress of dealing with our injuries and the numerous parties involved, from hospitals to insurers to therapists and every billing clerk and adjuster in between. Spencer took care of everything. Spencer’s professional diligence and relentlessness on our behalf was absolutely the reason we have finally been able to put the accident behind us and have gotten a very fair result.

Client

Spencer is a co-author of Introduction to Trial Advocacy: The Elements of Trial, a pioneering all-online video lecture series that teaches aspiring trial attorneys at all levels the fundamentals of trying a case. Introduction to Trial Advocacy has been published through Trial Guides, a renowned legal publishing house, and is designed for both self-study trial advocacy learning and use in a trial advocacy course.

Spencer is also a recipient of the Edward D. Ohlbaum Professionalism Award, an award designed to recognize a trial advocacy teacher and program director who exemplifies the late Professor Ohlbaum’s commitment. professionalism, integrity, and honed proficiency. The award honors an individual whose life and practice display sterling character and unquestioned integrity.

Spencer has taught and lectured on trial advocacy and tort law at institutions including the University of Michigan School of Law, Universidad de Monterrey (Mexico), San Francisco State University, and UC Berkeley. Spencer has also been an invited lecturer at Baylor University’s prestigious School of the Trial, hosted annually in St. Andrews, Scotland. Spencer’s teaching includes instruction at the Public Defender’s Offices of San Francisco and Sacramento Counties.

Spencer provides ongoing legal education, including developing and co-chairing programs produced in conjunction with Berkeley Law, with a special focus on providing training to young attorneys. He has also co-chaired a presentation on governmental liability and design immunity, spoken to leading trial associations regarding governmental liability, made presentations on liability for commercial carriers, and lectured on the topic of liability insurance in the context of products liability. Spencer is also a contributor on current legal issues in leading legal publication Law360.

Spencer was selected as a Super Lawyer from 2013-2021, and before that a Rising Star in 2011 and 2012. In 2014-2021, he was listed by Best Lawyers. Also in 2020 Spencer was recognized by The Daily Journal’s “Top 40 Under 40” attorneys in California.

After graduating with Highest Distinction from the University of Nebraska with a double major in Economics and Psychology, Spencer attended law school at Berkeley Law, receiving his J.D. in 2007. At Berkeley, Spencer was a member of the California Law Review as well as an associate editor for Ecology Law Quarterly. Academically, he won Prosser Awards in Legal Ethics and in Environmental Law.

Spencer’s main interest in law school was trial advocacy, both in Berkeley Law’s competitive trial advocacy program and its clinical programs. Clinically, he tried cases before Oakland’s Citizens’ Police Review Board. There, his responsibilities included representing people claiming violations of their constitutional rights at the hands of the Oakland Police Department. He successfully competed on several trial teams. He won the Bay Area trial competition held by the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association. Additionally, in the National Trial Competition, his three-person team was a regional finalist, and he won two top advocate awards.

Spencer joined the Walkup firm in 2007, and practices all types of personal injury litigation in all courts within the State of California. He is also an active volunteer and organizer with Refuse Refuse San Francisco, a local organization dedicated to motivating residents to help pick up trash and clean up the city’s streets.

Noteworthy Results

  • Housecleaners v. Property Owners and Propane Supply Company – Settlement – Premises Liability, $45,000,000
  • Family v Farming Trust/Manufacturer – Settlement – Premises Liability $20,000,000
  • Baby v. Major Institution – Settlement – Medical Malpractice, $10,000,000+
  • Bicyclist v. Food Delivery Company/Taxi Company – Settlement – Vehicular Negligence, $6,010,000
  • Family v. Valet Company – Settlement – Vehicular Negligence, $6,000,000
  • Patient v. Hospitalist/Hospital – Settlement – Medical Malpractice, $5,000,000
  • Snowboarder v. Equipment Manufacturer – Settlement – Product Liability, $4,500,000
  • Pedestrian v. City and County of San Francisco – Settlement – Public Transit Negligence, $3,250,000
  • Patient v. ER Doctor/Hospital – Settlement – Medical Malpractice, $3,000,000
  • Disabled Student v. School District/Driver – Settlement – Disability Rights/Vehicular Negligence, $2,975,000
  • Insured v. Insurance Carrier – Settlement – Underinsured Motorist, $2,250,000
  • Cable Car Passenger v. City and County of San Francisco – Settlement – Negligent Operation of Cable Car, $2,026,000
  • Adult Daughter v. Heavy Equipment Company – Settlement – Vehicular Negligence, $2,000,000
  • Patient v. Cardiologist – Settlement – Medical Malpractice, $1,999,900
  • Family v. SUV Driver – Settlement – Wrongful Death/Vehicular Negligence, $1,500,000
  • Wife/Children v. HMO – Settlement – Medical Malpractice, $1,400,000
  • Pedestrian v. Driver – Settlement – Vehicular Negligence, $1,000,000
  • Scooter Driver v. Cab Company – Settlement – Vehicular Negligence, $1,000,000
  • Chu v. Bay Area Community Services, Inc. – Jury Verdict – Premises Liability – Negligent Supervision, $996,000
  • Insured v. Major Insurance Company – Settlement – Insurance Bad Faith, $975,000
  • Pedestrians v. Uninsured Motorist – Settlement – Vehicular Negligence, $970,000
  • Child v. Doctor – Settlement – Medical Malpractice, $965,000
  • Pedestrian v. South Bay City – Settlement – Dangerous Condition of Public Property, $875,000
  • Wife/Children v. HMO – Settlement – Medical Malpractice, $850,000
  • Cyclist v. Driver’s Employer – Settlement – Vehicular Negligence, $750,000
  • Pedestrian v. Driver – Settlement – Vehicular Negligence/Underinsured Motorist, $555,000
  • Patient v. Surgeon – Settlement – Medical Malpractice, $500,000
  • Family v. HMO – Settlement – Medical Negligence – Wrongful Death, $475,000
  • Adult Children v. Pilot / Airplane Owner – Settlement – Aviation, $425,000
  • Insured v. Mercury Insurance – Arbitration Award – Underinsured Motorist, $421,000
  • Grandparent v. Youth Camp – Settlement – Premises Liability, $400,000
  • Pedestrian v. Cab Company – Settlement – Vehicular Negligence, $350,000
  • Motorcyclist v. Driver – Settlement – Vehicular Negligence, $350,000
  • Bicyclist v. Driver – Settlement – Vehicular Negligence, $325,000
  • Passenger v. Driver – Settlement – Vehicular Negligence, $325,000
  • Customer v. Massage Therapist – Settlement – General Negligence, $300,000
  • Bicyclist v. Driver – Settlement – Vehicular Negligence / Underinsured Motorist, $300,000
  • Passenger v. Cab Company – Settlement – Vehicular Negligence, $300,000
  • Pedestrian v. San Diego – Settlement – Mass Transit Public Transit Negligence, $300,000
  • Cyclist v. SUV Driver – Settlement – Vehicular Negligence, $300,000
  • Pedestrian v. CCSF – Settlement – Dangerous Condition of Public Property, $270,000
  • Passenger v. MUNI – Settlement – Governmental Liability, $250,000
  • Driver v. Driver – Settlement – Dangerous Condition of Public Property, $270,000
  • Passenger v. MUNI – Settlement – Governmental Vehicular Negligence – Underinsured Motorist, $250,000
  • Bicyclist v. Driver – Settlement – Vehicular Negligence, $250,000
  • See All Case Results and Summaries

Community Involvement

From the founding of our firm in the 1960s up through the present, Walkup team members have consistently contributed to the welfare and improvement of the people and communities of the Bay Area and Northern California.

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Areas of Practice

    • Personal Injury
    • Wrongful Death
    • Defective Medical Devices
    • Vehicular Collisions
    • Public and Private Property
    • Medical Malpractice

Honors and Awards

    • Rising Star, 2011 – 2012
    • SuperLawyer, 2013 – 2021
    • Best Lawyers, 2014 – 2021
    • Top 40 under 40, National Trial Lawyers