Honors and Awards

Best Lawyers / U.S. News World Report

Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger is ranked as Top Tier firm nationally in the specialty of mass tort litigation / class actions and regionally ranked as a Top Tier firm in personal injury litigation, product liability litigation, medical malpractice law, and mass tort litigation / class actions. The U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process. Firms included on its prestigious national list are recognized for their professional excellence and consistently impressive ratings from clients and peers.

The Recorder’s “Best of” Award, Triggers Hall of Fame Award

The Walkup Law Firm’s dedication to helping injured consumers hold corporate giants accountable for wrongdoing has once again earned it a top spot on the list of The Recorder’s Best of 2021 Awards for Personal Injury Law Firms in California. We are also proud to be awarded Hall of Fame status 2021 for winning the award three of the last four years (2018, 2020, 2021). The Recorder selects its ‘Best Of’ honorees based on voting by fellow attorneys, in-house counsel, judges, and legal department administrators. The award showcases businesses that stand out among their competitors for exemplary service and skills.

Law Dragon

Three Walkup Firm partner’s long track record of multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements, commitment to legal education, and public service outside the courtroom placed them on Lawdragon’s 500 Leading Lawyers in America list annually since 2017.  The 500 individuals selected by the publication have shown remarkable legal talent in the U.S. legal profession. The three partners from our firm selected for the list include Michael Kelly, Richard Schoenberger, and Doris Cheng. Their shared vision of service to clients and community is consistent with Walkup Melodia’s well-earned national reputation as a professional center of achievement and integrity.

Super Lawyers

Following systematic comprehensive and confidential review, for each of the last 15 years, Super Lawyers has honored members of The Walkup Law Firm on their “top” lists including Top 10 Northern California Lawyers, Top 100 Northern California Lawyers and Top 50 Women Lawyers in Northern California. Super Lawyers rates outstanding lawyers who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement in more than 70 practice areas.  Their patented selection process includes independent research, peer nominations, and peer evaluations. Only 5 percent of all lawyers nominated are recognized as Super Lawyers. The highly competitive vetting process includes measuring honors and awards, verdicts, settlements, experience, firm leadership, education, business achievements, scholarly publications, pro bono work, and community involvement.

Martindale-Hubbell – AV-rated

As leaders in the areas of personal injury and wrongful death litigation, Walkup attorneys annually receive an “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given. The Martindale-Hubbel AV rating reflects the highest possible grade for legal competence and ethical conduct. Selection is based on confidential evaluations submitted by lawyers and judges and documents the esteem with which a lawyer’s peers rank them.

SFTLA Trial Attorney of the Year/ Lifetime Achievement Award

Seven different attorneys at The Walkup Law Firm have been nominated by the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association (SFTLA) for their coveted Trial Lawyers of the Year award. Five members of the firm have won the award for their work in successfully prosecuting personal injury and wrongful death claims. Award recipients are recognized for achieving a noteworthy trial result based on a combination of the size of the verdict and the advancement of rights and interests of society. Two firm members have been honored with the SFTLA’s Lifetime Achievement Award, which honors attorneys who have dedicated their life’s work to personal injury advocacy and the struggle of victims, a commitment to educating and mentoring young attorneys and sharing their exceptional trial skills.

American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL)

Six of our attorneys have been named Fellows of The American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL) for their dedication to improving the quality of trial and appellate advocacy. The ACTL is an invitation-only fellowship of exceptional trial lawyers of diverse backgrounds from the United States and Canada. The College thoroughly investigates each nominee for admission and selects only those who have demonstrated the very highest standards of trial advocacy, ethical conduct, integrity, professionalism, and collegiality.

Cal ABOTA Trial Lawyer of the Year

Recognized as the highest honor a California trial lawyer can receive, the CAL-ABOTA Trial Lawyer of the Year is awarded annually to a recipient exhibiting the best traits of a trial lawyer – excellence in advocacy, a distinguished career and a reputation for civility, ethics and fair play.

Each of the eight CAL-ABOTA chapter is entitled to nominate a candidate for Trial Lawyer of the Year. Written and oral presentations are submitted to CAL-ABOTA’s board followed by the selection of the award recipient by majority vote. Over the 58 year history of the award, the Walkup firm is the only law firm in the state to have had three of its partners honored with the award: Bruce Walkup, James Downing and most recently Michael Kelly. Kelly was selected in 2014.  A past President of the San Francisco ABOTA chapter, Kelly also served five terms on the National Board of ABOTA and two terms of the Board of the Foundation of ABOTA.

International Society of Barristers

Over the last 35 years seven members of the firm have been voted to membership in this highly selective, invitation-only honor society.  Two members of the firm, Michael Kelly and Daniel Kelly have served as the President of the Society. The International Society of Barristers selects its members through a rigorous screening process that evaluates the lawyer’s skills, experience, accomplishments, and ethical standards. The Society was founded to recognize the best advocates from around the world who have joined together to support retaining trial by jury in litigated matters; improving advocacy under an adversary system; recognizing advocacy as a distinct specialty; abolishing animosity between counsel representing plaintiffs and defendants, replacing it with a recognition that all trial lawyers are advocates fully representing the rights of all clients.

Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC)

Partner Douglas Saeltzer currently serves as Secretary of this organization of California personal injury attorneys. Michael A. Kelly, who is consistently listed on the top tier of lawyers in the country in cases involving personal injury, auto and trucking accidents, wrongful death, brain injury, paralysis, and medical malpractice has twice been named a finalist for the CAOC’s Consumer Attorney of the Year Award. The award is given to a plaintiff’s lawyer who achieves a significant result in a case that assisted consumers or changed consumer law for the better in California. Kelly and partners Doris Cheng and Richard Schoenberger have all received Awards of Merit as well as special awards from the Association for their service to the cause of injury victim’s rights.

Inner Circle of Advocates

The Walkup Firm is the only firm in Northern California to have two firm members honored with admission to The Inner Circle of Advocates, the most exclusive honorary society in the country honoring the top100 Plaintiff personal injury lawyers in America.  Admission requires a demonstrated history of multimillion-dollar verdicts coupled with a record of public service.  Since its inception sixty years ago no other firm in Northern California has had as many inductees as The Walkup Firm.  The Inner Circle’s mission is to promote the highest standards of courtroom competence and exchange of knowledge among outstanding trial lawyers.

International Academy of Trial Lawyers

Throughout its history the Walkup firm has been honored to have seven different members elected to this association of  elite trial lawyers, Michael A. Kelly, Richard Schoenberger and Doris Cheng are current Fellows. The Academy represents both sides of the Bar: prosecutors and defense lawyers in criminal cases, and plaintiffs’ and defense counsel in civil matters. Fellows include attorneys from the U.S. and more than 30 countries. The Academy’s mission is to promote the fundamental belief that the foundation supporting the Rule of Law must be an independent judiciary. The Academy is also involved in initiatives including encouraging restorative justice for youth and establishing training for judges, attorneys, and human rights advocates throughout the globe.


Walkup Melodia Kelly & Schoenberger is proud to hold an AVVO rating of 10.0 “Superb” for firm members excellence in shaping personal injury law. More than 95% of lawyers in the U.S. are rated on a scale of 1-10 by AVVO. Ratings are calculated using an algorithm that considers a lawyer’s years in practice, spotless disciplinary history, professional achievements, industry recognition, and other factors relevant to assessing a lawyer’s qualifications.