For more than 30 years, Michael L. Kirby has been involved in civil litigation, trying more than 50 jury trials throughout his career and obtaining total recoveries valued in excess of $275 million as lead counsel.  His expertise is extensive and covers a variety of practice areas that involve business, partnerships, real estate and investor disputes. He has received multiple Outstanding Trial Lawyer awards from Consumer Attorneys of San Diego (CASD).

A founding partner at KIRBY & KIRBY LLP (and formerly a founding partner of Post Kirby Noonan & Sweat), Kirby is recognized as one of the most well-respected trial lawyers in San Diego County.

Kirby is listed in Best Lawyers® – the leading rating of U.S. lawyers – for Bet The Company Litigation (San Diego Lawyer of the Year 2015) and Commercial Litigation for multiple years.

Since 1994, Kirby has been a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) – a national organization of civil trial attorneys – and has served on its national board of directors. He is a master in the American Inns of Court – William B. Enright Chapter.  Kirby was also named one of the top attorneys in California – five years in a row – by California Super Lawyers magazine, an honor given to only five percent of attorneys in the state.

He was a founder of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers of San Diego, served four years as a Southern District of California Lawyer Representative to the Ninth Circuit and is the president of the San Diego chapter of the International Network of Boutique Law Firms.

In his spare time, Kirby enjoys golfing and traveling with his wife, fly fishing and playing with his grandchildren.


  • University of Iowa, J.D., 1970
  • University of Iowa, B.A., 1967

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • American Board of Trial Advocates
  • State Bar of California, Litigation Section
  • American Bar Association, Litigation Section, Securities Litigation Committee
  • The Association of Trial Lawyers of America
  • California Trial Lawyers Association
  • San Diego Trial Lawyers Association
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America

Litigation Practice Area

  • Commercial Litigation
  • Securities Litigation
  • Class Actions
  • Business Torts


Notable Case Achievements

  • Defamation: Trial

Represented a physician sued for defamation, seeking $3 million in damages. The physician countersued for defamation. In a trial in September/October 2014, all of the plaintiff’s claims were defeated, and Kirby obtained a verdict $250,000 in compensatory damages and $2.5 million in punitive damages for his client

  • Real Estate: Judgment

Obtained judgment for defendants after trial in 2014 in San Diego Superior Court, defeating plaintiffs’ claims for $13 million

  • Real Property: Litigation/Settlement

Successfully handled litigation that cleared a major easement and made possible the development and construction of the new regional FBI center in San Diego, which opened in 2013

  • Contract Dispute: Arbitration

Served as the lead attorney representing a Liquidating Trust for the Benefit of Creditors created by the Bankruptcy Court in San Diego to pursue claims by a major distributor who was terminated by a national direct broadcast satellite entertainment company. After a hotly contested eight-day arbitration before the American Arbitration Association, the Arbitration Panel issued an award in favor of the Liquidating Trust of more than $9.5 million. That award was confirmed by the Court of Appeal in October 2014

  • Investor Claims: Trial

Obtained more than $15 million against a developer, $1.1 million in compensatory damages and $5.7 million in punitive damages against a title/escrow company in a four-month jury trial involving a scheme to defraud elderly investors – some of whom lost their life savings. The trial focused on plaintiff’s theories of fraud, aiding and abetting, and conspiracy against the financial planner/developer and a national title/escrow company. Kirby received the San Diego Consumer Attorneys’ Outstanding Trial Lawyer Award for this case

  • Securities: Settlement

Obtained a settlement of $91 million for class action plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed against a national securities brokerage firm in a case that began in San Diego Federal Court, and was later transferred to the U.S. District Court of New Jersey. All investors, many of whom were elderly or retired, recovered their losses in full

  • Trade Secrets: Trial

Obtained a defense verdict for a national securities broker dealer in a seven-week jury trial in San Diego Superior Court, defeating all damage claims for more than $30 million

  • Contract Dispute: Dismissal

Obtained dismissal of action in 2012 by former bank CEO seeking $20 million in compensation allegedly due

  • Franchise: Trial

Represented the plaintiff, a terminated franchisee, in an action in San Diego Superior Court, which resulted in a jury verdict of $7.6 million, including $6 million in punitive damages. Kirby received the Outstanding Trial Lawyer Award for his work in this case

  • Contract Dispute: Arbitration

Recovered $500,000 for his client, a California company, in an arbitration proceeding in Tampa, Florida, and also defeated all of the plaintiff’s claims of more than $6 million against his client

  • Maritime Law: Trial

Represented a tuna boat captain against a helicopter manufacturer, which resulted in a jury verdict in excess of $3 million for his client

  • Business Tort: Summary Judgment

Obtained a summary judgment in favor of his clients, a Michigan bank and its directors, in a business tort case involving alleged damage claims of $30 million in Arizona Superior Court


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Jason M. Kirby is an experienced trial lawyer.  He is the Firm's managing partner.   

For more than 15 years, Kirby has represented hundreds of clients in cases and arbitrations throughout California.  Uniquely, he is both a plaintiff's lawyer and a defense lawyer.  He has obtained millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for his plaintiff clients, including a $2.3 million jury verdict that included over $1 million in punitive damages, and has successfully defended his defendant clients against millions of dollars in damage claims, including multiple complete defense verdicts.    

Kirby is rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbel®, which reflects the highest level of professional excellence.  His rating is measured by those lawyers in San Diego that have worked with him and against him on his cases.  His rating and lawyer feedback about him is publicly available at  He has also been consistently listed as one of the Top Lawyers for Business Litigation by San Diego Magazine. 

Kirby has at one time or another been involved in almost every type of case that is handled by a Court's civil division.  He has been involved in cases involving all of the Firm's listed practice areas.  His clients have included Fortune 500 companies, financial institutions, banks, utilities,  partnerships, corporations, officers, directors, trustees, and individuals.  

Kirby is a native San Diegan.  He joined Post, Kirby, Noonan & Sweat in 2001.  He then became a partner of Kirby, Noonan, Lance & Hoge in 2007, where he remained up until July 1, 2016.  While in law school, he served as a full-time law clerk at the San Diego Superior Court for the Honorable J. Richard Haden (Ret.), who was assigned a full civil litigation calendar.

His wife, Jill E. Kirby, is an employment litigator in San Diego.  Kirby enjoys surfing, skiing, snowboarding, playing music, and being home with his family. 


  • California Western School of Law, J.D., 2001
  • University of Arizona, B.S., 1995

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • Consumer Attorneys of San Diego
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • American Inns of Court
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers
  • Federal Bar Association, San Diego Chapter


Notable Case Achievements


  • Personal Injury/Wrongful Death: Trial

Defended client in jury trial against multimillion dollar personal injury and wrongful death claims that resulted in a complete verdict for the firm’s client

  • Real Estate: Settlement

Represented national real estate developer in resolving an easement dispute that threatened to derail the construction of San Diego’s new FBI building in Sorrento Valley

  • Employment: Arbitration

Represented former CEO in claims against corporation for breach of executive employment agreement, resulting in a six-figure arbitration award

  • Investment: Trial

Successfully tried investment fraud case resulting in jury verdict in excess of $2 million, including more than $1 million in punitive damages

  • Banking/Lending: Trial

Represented private lender in jury trial against private borrower that resulted in jury verdict in excess of $500,000

  • Commercial Goods: Settlement

Defended plastic card manufacturer against breach of contract claims

  • Personal Injury/Wrongful Death: Settlement

Represented family in wrongful death action against trucking company that resulted in a multimillion settlement

  • Real Estate: Arbitration

Represented real estate developer in arbitration that resulted in an award granting hundreds of thousands of dollars in impact fees for a build-to-suit project in Carlsbad

  • Employment: Settlement

Defended former CEO of golf company against multimillion indemnification claims by former employer

  • Real Estate: Settlement

Successfully recovered client’s investment funds in real estate deal


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Heather W. Schallhorn joined Kirby Noonan Lance & Hoge shortly after she was admitted to the California bar in 2014, and she is enthusiastic to continue working with Mike Kirby and Jason Kirby at Kirby & Kirby LLP, beginning July 1, 2016.  Heather has experience representing plaintiffs and defendants in various practice areas including commercial litigation, intellectual property, professional liability, probate, and landlord/tenant litigation. She has performed legal research, engaged in various stages of discovery, and drafted pleadings and dispositive motions.

In 2016, Heather was an associate on a case in which Mike Kirby took over the defense of a trades secret/breach of fiduciary duty case involving a prominent international wireless voice, messaging and data services provider. The original contracts at issue were executed in 1999 and the case had a long and complicated procedural history. The firm negotiated a favorable settlement for the client.

In 2015, Schallhorn was the associate on a case where a small business was sued by its insurance company to reform an insurance contract. She contributed to the brief opposing a motion for summary judgment that was filed by the insurance company.  The firm successfully avoided summary judgment and subsequently negotiated a favorable settlement for the client.

During law school, Heather gained experience in several practice areas at the federal and state level. Heather performed legal research and drafted orders and opinions while externing with the Honorable Larry A. Burns in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California and for the Honorable Thomas E. Hollenhorst at the California Court of Appeals. She prepared a defense for a Skelly hearing, researched health care legislation, and drafted and reviewed contracts while interning at a local health care district. Heather also served as a law clerk at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, where she researched issues for Affirmative Civil Enforcement cases and contributed to a Ninth Circuit Appellate Brief for an employment discrimination case.

Heather earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of California, Los Angeles, and she received her J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of San Diego School of Law. Graduating in the top 5 percent of her class, Heather was recognized with an Academic Achievement Award and was made a member of the Order of the Coif. While completing her J.D., Heather was a member of the San Diego Law Review and volunteered with Pro Bono Legal Advocates.



  • University of San Diego School of Law, J.D., (magna cum laude), 2014
  • University of California, Los Angeles, B.A., 2009

Professional Memberships and Activities 

  • Lawyers Club of San Diego
  • State Bar of California
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • The Honorable William B. Enright American Inn of Court

Litigation Practice Areas

  • Commercial litigation


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