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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For more than 15 years, Jason Michael Kirby has helped hundreds of clients in litigation cases throughout Southern California.  During that entire time, his primary practice area has been business litigation.  Every year since 2013, Kirby has been listed as one of the Top Lawyers for Business Litigation by San Diego Magazine.

Kirby is a plaintiff's lawyer and a defense lawyer rolled into one.  He has spent his entire career partnered with or working with some of the best lawyers in San Diego.  He is now a founder and the managing partner of KIRBY & KIRBY LLP. 

During his career, Kirby has tried numerous jury trials, bench trials, and arbitration cases as both lead counsel and co-counsel.  He remains firmly convinced that doing both plaintiff's work and defense work provides him with a deeper understanding of how evidence will be viewed by the ultimate trier of fact.  

As lead trial counsel in a plaintiff's case, Kirby obtained a $2.3 million jury verdict in the San Diego Superior Court that included more than $1.1 million in punitive damages.  As trial counsel in a defense case, Kirby and his former partner zeroed multi-million dollar damage claims against numerous plaintiffs in a wrongful death/personal injury case in the same Court.    

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  

Kirby has at one time or another been involved in every type of case listed in the Firm's practice areas section. Kirby has represented Fortune 500 companies, banks, real estate developers, business entrepreneurs, utilities, officers, directors, trustees, individuals, and every form of business.  

Kirby is a native San Diegan.  He started his legal career as an intern and then associate at Post, Kirby, Noonan & Sweat.  He then became a partner of Kirby, Noonan, Lance & Hoge in 2007, after its name change.  He remained with the firm until it was dissolved.  On July 1, 2016, Kirby and his father started KIRBY & KIRBY LLP together.  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.), an independent calendar judge assigned to a full civil litigation case load.  

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


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

Professional Memberships and Activities

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


Notable Case Achievements


  • Fraud: Arbitration

       Represented purchaser of a dental practice in La Jolla in fraud action against seller that resulted in undoing purchase              agreement and award of attorneys' fees

  • Personal Injury/Wrongful Death: Trial

Defended client in jury trial against multi-million 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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