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Michael Albert Kelly

Personal injury Attorney at San Francisco, CA

5.0   8 reviews
Virtual consultation available
Virtual consultation available
  • Licensed for 47 years
    State CA
    Acquired 1976
    Active No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About Michael

Learn Michael’s areas of practice.

Practice areas
  1. Personal injury

    48 years, 500 cases

  2. Wrongful death

    48 years, 100 cases

  3. Defective and dangerous products

    48 years, 150 cases

  4. Medical malpractice

    48 years, 200 cases


Mike Kelly is one of the nation’s top personal injury attorneys. For four decades he has protected consumers from corporate greed, medical mistakes, dangerous household products, unsafe medical devices and motor vehicle accidents of every kind. He has tried, arbitrated or settled hundreds of cases where the recovery by his client exceeded $1 million. In 2020 he helped negotiate the multibillion dollar resolution of the 2017 California wildfire lawsuits brought against utility giant PG&E. Prior to that his $8.341 million verdict in the first DePuy ASR/Johnson & Johnson metal-on-metal artificial hip trial helped produce a $2.5 billion national settlement for all victims.

Kelly is consistently listed among the top tier of lawyers in the country. In 2020 he was the top vote-getter in the Northern California Super Lawyers polling. A member of the prestigious Inner Circle of Advocates, he has been selected by Super Lawyers as a “Top Ten” honoree annually since 2017 and selected by “Best Lawyers” for 18 consecutive years.

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.


AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating
Client's Choice 2012,2011
Client's Choice
2012 2011


Walkup Melodia Kelly Wecht & Schoenberger
650 California Street 26th Floor
San Francisco, CA, 94108


5.0 / 5.0
  8 customer reviews
5 Star
4 Star
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1 Star
Client's Choice 2012
Client's Choice
Client's Choice is an Avvo award granted to attorneys with a significant number of client reviews over 4 stars in a given year.
Posted by anonymous | February 14, 2011
Legal Representation, Personal Injury
I met Mr. Kelly approximately two years ago after experiencing an event in my life, which required legal representation. Not knowing exactly where to turn I consulted with friends and family. One of my friends suggested that I contact the Walkup Law group as they represented one of her family members in a wrongful death case. Long story short their family was very pleased with the outcome, more then the awarded damages they received additional satisfaction as Mr. Kelly was able to positively impact the defendants manufacturing process which should safe guard other families from having to endure such a tragic episode. My personal legal needs were less dramatic, however I felt I was more then adequately represented. Mr. Kelly and the Walkup team made me comfortable from day one. Mike always made me feel that I was his top priority; this in my opinion cannot be overstated given the natural insecurities I felt associated with litigation. Mike kept me updated and well informed. Not to mention he fielded dozen of calls to answer my questions and discuss any concerns. In short Mike helped me achieve a more then fair award, which has propelled my family past this mini life crisis. I have nothing but the deepest admiration for Mr. Kelly and the entire Walkup legal team. Thanks Mike!
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Posted by Michael | March 5, 2011
Legal representation, personal injury case
Mike Kelly was very upfront and honest about what I could achieve during the litigation process and kept me informed throughout. My particular injury was one that the risk/reward factors for many lawyers was not worth taking. He was always accessible by phone and able to address my questions and concerns. Unlike many personal injury lawyers, Mike Kelly has a very strong moral compass. He was honest, forthcoming and tenacious in achieving a favorable outcome with my case.
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Posted by Frank Passaglia | July 11, 2015
The Best Plaintiff's Personal Injury Lawyer in the Bay Area
I recently referred a personal injury case that involved serious injuries, liability issues, and defendants that were well funded (a municipality and a large construction firm) to Michael Kelly. Mike Kelly and his firm (Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Echevarria) not only met the challenge, "they blew the opposition away". Mike treated the client and his family with respect and compassion throughout the litigation process. Not intimidated by the opposition's constant "low ball" offers throughout the litigation process, Mike settled the case on the eve of trial for an astonishing settlement amount. The client was elated with the settlement amount, knowing that he would have financial security for the rest of his life. Mike kept me informed throughout the litigation process and was receptive to my suggestions and help. Furthermore, Mike was extremely generous with the referral fee.
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Posted by Sheryl | November 19, 2014
Excellence from an amazing Attorney!
Mike Kelly is amazing! I was a pedestrian hit by a car in the middle of a crosswalk. I was referred to Mike by a friend who highly recommended him. I was in extreme crisis when we contacted Mike. Since I was bedridden, he made a house visit on the weekend a couple of days after the accident. That alone shows what a caring, sensitive person he is. He sensed how distraught I was and made every effort to calm me. At that time, he took over the worries of getting financial justice and allowed me to focus on healing. That was major for me! Mike worked at making sure I was able to get the full amount of insurance from both the drivers insurance company and my insurance company. He was extremely empathetic throughout this whole matter and was always available. My words to describe Mike are kind, caring, trustworthy, confident, professional and just plain wonderful! I can't say enough about what a pleasure it was to work with Mike and his staff.
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Posted by Gerard | November 14, 2014
What an amazing law firm.
From the initial interview through the various information gathering phases I felt confident with Michael Kelley's personal connection and professional representation. Follow up was always responsive and thorough . Even the assistant lawyers were knowledgeable and professional. They filmed me at my home and prior to my operation. Partners were never too busy to take my call! This is the most comfortable I have ever been in a legal matter. Would and have highly recommended this firm!
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Posted by Tom | November 14, 2011
Great work from a lawyer & former client
Mike and Emily Wecht of his firm represented me after I survived a fall out a 4th floor hotel room window. He and Emily were referred to me as the "Bay Area Gold Standard" for PI lawyers. I'm a lawyer by training myself. They worked me through the often complicated and sometimes confounding procedures and explained some of California's quirks to me. They knew how to ride herd on a smart client prone to saying too much. They brought together a great team of expert witnesses and visited me in a local hospital and injury rehab center and stayed in close touch by phone and e-mail after I returned home to Florida. They were ready and prepared to go to trial but did everything right to work out a settlement that worked for everybody. I have a few friends in the Bay Area and wouldn't hesitate to recommend this firm to any of them.
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Posted by anonymous | November 2, 2011
Legal Representation, wrongful death
Mike Kelly represented our family in the wrongful death a family member. I was introduced to Mike's firm (Walkup) by referral from an associate who called them the preeminent personal injury firm in Northern California. In our experience Mike and his associates more than lived up to that discreption. They were always sensitive to our feelings and were very concerned with providing excellent service in every way. Their degree of due diligence was unbelievably complete. We were always kept informed on what was happening in our case. They were highly knowledgeable in specifics of our type of case and the best approach to an effective resolution. I would highly recommend them!
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Posted by anonymous | February 7, 2011
Excellence in Legal Service
Mike is knowledgable, dependable and dedicated. He is truly passionate about his clients and his work. He kept me informed and was honest about his opinions and expectations throughout the litigation process. I know that people often make fun of personal injury attorneys but Mike is no ambulance chaser, he is one of the most astute and capable legal minds in the bay area and I was lucky to have him on my side.
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AVVO RATING 10.0 (Superb)


  • University of California, Hastings College of the Law
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 1976
  • St Mary's College of California
  • BA - Bachelor of Arts
  • 1973

Sample of Legal Cases

  • Northern Californai Wildfire Litigation
  • 13.5 billoin dollar bankruptcy sttlement payablr to victims of PG&E's negligence.
  • Kemp Malone v. Kaiser
  • $2,430,000 - Verdict in favor of Plaintiff
  • Kransky v. Depuy
  • $8,200,000 Jury Verdict for Plaintiff
View all legal cases


  • Law Dragon 500 Hall of Fame
  • Member
  • 2021 - Present
  • Inner Circle of Advocates
  • Member
  • 2012 - Present
  • International Academy of Trial Lawyers
  • Fellow
  • 2011 - Present
  • American Board of Trial Advocates ( San Francisco Chapter )
  • Past President
  • 2010 - Present
  • UC Hastings Foundation
  • Board Member
  • 2010 - Present
  • Judicial Council, CACI Advisory Committee
  • Member
  • 2005 - Present
  • National Institute for Trial Advocacy
  • Board of Trustees
  • 2003 - Present
  • International Society of Barristers
  • Past-President
  • 2002 - Present
  • American College of Trial Lawyers
  • Fellow
  • 1999 - Present
  • San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association
  • Past President
  • 1995 - Present
View all associations

Honors and Awards

  • Northern California Top Ten Super Lawyer
  • Super Lawyers Magazine
  • 2021
  • Trial Lawyer of the Year
  • Cal-ABOTA
  • 2014
  • Trial Lawyer of the Year
  • San Francisco Trial Lawyers
  • 2010
  • Best San Francisco Personal Injury Attorney
  • The Recorder
  • 2009
View all awards


  • Trial, July 2014, Vol. 50 No. 9
  • "Once Upon an Opening,"
  • 2014

Speaking Engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (3)
Given (9)
Endorse Michael
Personal injury Attorney | May 07
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I have hired Mike Kelly several times including cases for wrongful death, personal injury and wrongful termination. Mike is truly a lawyer's lawyer - I know if I ask him to look at a case for possible referral he will provide a knowledgeable and realistic assessment not only based on his extensive experience but input from consulting expert professionals in the subject field. I don't know that there aren't other great attorneys out there but I do know that if Mike commits to provide representation he is in 110%. In addition, that commitment coupled with his compassion and capability are a formula for providing the best legal representation possible for your client. In short, if something happened to me, I would want him to represent me."
Wrongful death Attorney | May 05
Relationship: Co-worker
"I endorse this lawyer."
Personal injury Attorney | Nov 16
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"This past year, I had the honor of going to trial with Michal Kelly in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is outstanding! He cares about his clients, about their past, what they have been through, what they go through, and what they will go through in the future. When he goes to trial, he is prepared and ready. He takes command of the courtroom. He can handle a lay (regular witness) or expert witness in pre-trial depositions and during their testimony at trial. He is an outstanding trial lawyer in every way. There is no greater tribute a fellow trial lawyer can say about another trial lawyer. When you research Michael A. Kelly, know this, his accolades do not do him justice! In real life, he is so much better! My wish is that all fellow trial lawyers can go to trial with him. If and when you do, get ready, be ready, and be prepared. Mike will be! More importantly, he has a "Heart of Gold." He is a wonderful person and human being!"
Personal injury
Personal injury
Personal injury
Medical malpractice
Personal injury
Personal injury
Personal injury

Avvo Contributions

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San Francisco Personal injury Lawyer Michael Albert Kelly
Michael Albert Kelly
Personal injury Attorney
San Francisco, CA
Licensed for 47 years
Virtual consultation available