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About me

Besides having purebred trial lawyer credentials, Craig McClellan can say that he has made a difference in this country's safety standards,   resulting in many lives being saved and many injuries avoided.  A pioneer in modern product liability litigation, Craig’s trials and settlements are credited by the Department of Justice with helping ban three wheel All Terrain Vehicles from the U.S. market.  One of his cases is cited as bringing about the installation of 3-point shoulder harnesses in automobile rear seats.  Another case generated laws barring secrecy agreements.

The persevering and tenacious litigation Craig has pursued has landed his cases on 60 Minutes, 20-20, the McNeil-Lehrer Report, CBS Evening News, and countless other programs because of their ground breaking precedent.  Not surprising for someone who has always been a leader – as a Captain in the United States Marine Corps, as Editor-in-Chief of his schools’ Law Review, and as the first and only San Diego attorney selected for admission into the Inner Circle of Advocates, the prestigious invitation-only group that limits its membership to 100 of the top plaintiffs’ attorneys in the country.  Moreover, with 110 verdicts and settlements in excess of one million dollars each, he leads all San Diego lawyers in the number of large recoveries.

Craig used to race cars, and still participates in driving events.  Because of his racing background, he has had an interest in high speed, exotic car crashes.  One of his first multi-million dollar verdicts was against Porsche, when the jury found the death of a passenger in its 930 Turbo Porsche was because the vehicle was “too dangerous for the average driver.”  That case made international headlines, as did another case against Porsche last year for defects in the $450,000 Porsche Carrera GT, which led to the death of two at the California Speedway. 

The San Diego based McClellan Law Firm practices around the country and has had cases arising from as far away as Argentina.  From exploding gas tanks to massive landslides, not only does the firm take on the biggest industry and governmental entities, but it does so with the latest litigation techniques and technology.  Craig tried the first paperless trial in the country in Indiana in 2003.

As one would expect, he is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a Master of the American Inns of Court, a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, and past President of its San Diego Chapter.  He is a former Board member of the Consumer Attorneys of California, the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego (where he also served as an Officer,) and the San Diego Chapter of the American Business Trial Lawyers.


Languages spoken: Spanish, English

Photos and videos

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Contact info

The McClellan Law Firm

1144 State Street
San Diego, CA, 92101

Practice areas


  1. Personal Injury: 45%
  2. Business: 25%
  3. Defective Products: 20%
  4. Insurance: 10%



Free consultation (120 minutes)

Payment types:

Cash, Check, Credit card

Attorney endorsements

3 total 

Are you an attorney? Endorse this lawyer

  • Jonathan Marcos Kaplan

    I had the pleasure of working with Craig on a complex business litigation matter. He is a very effective lawyer. When it really matters, Craig is the one you want on your team!


    Jonathan Kaplan Intellectual property Attorney
    Relationship: Worked together on matter

  • Michael S. Waddington

    I endorse Craig. He is a highly skilled attorney that is well respected in the legal community.


    Michael Waddington Military law Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community


We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
Tier 1 Law Firm, Product LiabilityU.S. News & World Report2016
Best Lawyers in Southern CaliforniaLos Angeles Times2016
Top 50 AttorneySan Diego Super Lawyers Magazine2016
Tier 1 Law Firm - Personal InjuryU.S. News & World Report2016
Lawyer of the Year, Personal Injury, San DiegoBest Lawyers in America2014
Lawyer of the Year - Product Liability, San DiegoBest Lawyers in America2014
Top 25 Attorneys in San Diego for 2013SDMetro Magazine2013
Best Lawyers in San DiegoSan Diego Metro Magazine2013
Best Lawyers in CaliforniaSan Francisco Chronicle2012
Top Attorneys "Transcript 10"San Diego Transcript2012
Daniel T. Broderick AwardSan Diego County Bar Association2012
Lawyer of the Year, Personal Injury, San DiegoBest Lawyers in America2010
Invited memberInner Circle of Advocates2005
Outstanding Trial Lawyer AwardConsumer Attorneys of San Diego1999
Outstanding Trial Lawyer AwardConsumer Attorneys of San Diego1983
Outstanding Trial Lawyer AwardConsumer Attorneys of San Diego1981
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
PresidentThe McClellan Law Firm1986 - Present
PartnerLuce Forward Hamilton & Scripps1976 - 1986
DirectorOil Policy Subcommittee Cost of Living Council1972 - 1973
CaptainUnited States Marine Corps1969 - 1972
Association namePosition nameDuration
Inner Circle of AdvocatesMember2005 - Present
American College of Trial LawyersFellow2000 - Present
American Inns of CourtMaster1999 - Present
Association of Trial Lawyers of AmericaMember1977 - Present
State Bar of CaliforniaMember1976 - Present
American Board of Trial AdvocatesPresident2010 - 2011
Association of Business Trial LawyersBoard of Directors2005 - 2006
Consumer Attorneys of CaliforniaBoard of Directors1985 - 1987
Consumer Attorneys of San DiegoBoard of Directors1983 - 1990
Legal cases
Case nameOutcome
Garrison v. Porsche$2,500,000.00 verdict, upheld on appeal
Henline v. Honda$8,027,154.00 verdict
Jane Doe v. Western Trucking LLC, City of San Diego, et al$7,500,000.00 settlement
See all legal cases 
Publication nameTitleDate
Million Dollar ArgumentsGarrison v. Porsche1983
California Western Law ReviewPhysicians' Liability: The Sale and Insertion of A Dalkon Shield1975
San Diego Trial Bar NewsThe Honda ATC and Other Dangerous All-Terrain VehiclesN/A
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
California Western School of LawLawJD - Juris Doctor1976
University of OregonN/ABS - Bachelor of Science1969
Speaking engagements
Conference nameTitleDate
Federal Bar AssociationHow To Give An Effective Opening Statement2015
College of Trial AdvocacyClosing Argument2014
Masters of TrialCross Examinination2013
Damages: Go Big or Go HomeFrom Voire Dire To Closing-Educating the Jury To Award The True Value Of The Case2013
College of Trial AdvocacyOpening Statement2013
American Inns of CourtAttorney Conduct--Speech and Body Language2013
American Inns of CourtThink Strategically2013
College of Trial AdvocacyClosing Argument2012
American Inns of CourtClient, Firm and Courtroom Dynamics2012
Masters of TrialClosing Argument2011
College of Trial AdvocacyClosing Argument2011
College of Trial AdvocacyClosing Argument2010
College of Trial AdvocacyClosing Argument2009
American Inns of CourtGetting the Right Jury Every Time2009
Personal Injury Cases from a Plaintiff's PerspectiveCrashworthiness2008
General MeetingElectronics for Lawyers2008
Dinner MeetingTen Defense Lawyer Blunders Plaintiff Lawyers Love to See2008
Annual Conference in ChicagoA Crash Course in Crashworthiness2008
American Inns of CourtWhen The Judge Disagrees: Damage Control and Preparing for Appellate Review2008
American Inns of CourtExpert Witness Examination for Dummies2007
American Inns of CourtPre-Flight Checklist: Preparing for Trial2006
American Inns of CourtJuror Misconduct: How You Find It, Define It, and Prove It2005
ABTL Masters of The ArtJury Selection, Opening Statements, Direct and Cross Examination2005
College of Trial AdvocacyClosing Argument2004
CAOC Annual ConventionUsing Exhibits In Closing Arguments2004
Masters of TrialClosing Argument2003
College of Trial AdvocacyClosing Arguments2003
American Inns of CourtBill Gates and Other Deposition Disasters2003
General Membership MeetingA Crash Course on Crashworthiness2000
Annual MeetingJury Reform and Strategies2000
American Inns of CourtThe Bear Necessities: Keping Your Case Interesting To Goldilocks and Other Jurors With Short Attention Spans2000
SeminarHow To Present A Business Case Effectively1999
Masters In TrialClosing Argument1999
American Law, Brazilian ClientsA Crash Course in Crashworthiness1999
American Inns of CourtLegal Malpractice and Malicious Prosecution1999
Professionalism in PracticeTrials In Trying Times1998
American Inns of CourtMediations for The Trial Bar1998
Trial By Masters--The Ultimate Skills SeminarOpening Statements: The Critical First Impression1997
Product Defect LitigationAutomotive Litigation: Emerging Safety Issues1997
15th Annual Conference on Products LiabilityTrial Demonstration1997
American Inns of CourtMaster Mania1995
American Inns of CourtCross-Examination1995
American Inns of CourtDemonstrative Evidence: See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me1994
American Inns of CourtThe Lawyer As Target: Tips To Avoid Civil and Criminal Liability1994
SeminarAnatomy of a Civil Trial1993
SeminarEvidence: Use the Rules to Seize the Day1993
National Conference on Product Liability LawTrial of a Product Liability Case1993
Emerging Issues in Motor Vehicle Product Liability LitigationClosing Argument in Passive Restraint/Airbag Case1993
Annual Automobile SeminarTrying An Automobile Liability Case1993
All Star Product Liability SeminarProduct Liability1993
SeminarTrial of a Sexual Harassment Case1992
Annual MeetingEmerging Issues in Automobile Product Liability Litigation1992
SeminarTrying the Automobile Injury Case in California1991
Masters of TrialTrying a Lawsuit1991
SeminarTop Damage Arguments1990
Masters in TrialTrial TechniquesN/A
Dinner ProgramTrying A Case To The Two Minute MindN/A
Annual ProgramUsing Analogies in Closing ArgumentN/A
Annual ConventionOpening StatementsN/A
Annual ConventionTrial TechniquesN/A