• Share
  • Email
  • Print

Thomas E. Kelly

Fax +1.206.370.6100

Tom Kelly is a litigator who has represented clients in a broad range of complex litigation, including commercial disputes, class action cases, employment law litigation, trust and estates litigation, defense of professional liability claims, and litigation involving municipalities.

Tom is a member of the firm's e-Discovery Analysis and Technology (e-DAT) group. This group uses systematic processes and advanced technology to provide efficient and cost-effective discovery and document review legal services, especially with regard to electronic documents.

Tom also serves as an assistant general counsel for the firm, providing legal advice to lawyers in the firm's Pacific Northwest offices regarding conflicts and ethics issues.

Professional Background

Before joining the firm in 1981, Tom practiced for 6 years in the Criminal Division of the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, first as a deputy prosecutor and then as a senior deputy prosecutor.  Prior to that, he worked on the staff of the National League of Cities/U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Professional/Civic Activities

Tom is active in the area of legal ethics. He served on the Character & Fitness Committee of the Washington State Bar Association ("WSBA") (chair 2009-10). He was also a member of the WSBA Rules of Professional Conduct Committee and was the lawyer member of Washington's Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee.

Tom was a member of the Committee for the Evaluation of the Rules of Professional Conduct (the "Ethics 2003 Committee"), which drafted the Rules of Professional Conduct that were adopted in Washington in September 2006.

He is a frequent speaker for CLE programs on conflict issues and legal ethics.

Tom is active in the King County Bar Association. Over the years, he served as its secretary (1993), on its Board of Trustees (1994-96), as a vice president (2001-03) and then as its president in 2003-04. In June 2011, he received an award from the Association as its 2011 “Outstanding Lawyer.”

He is also a member of the Federal Bar Association of the Western District of Washington. He is a member of the Professional Liability Litigation Committee of the Section of Litigation of the American Bar Association and also a member of the Center for Professional Responsibility.

He is the author of the chapter on Washington state legal malpractice law for the 50-State Survey of Legal Malpractice Law, published by the Professional Liability Committee of the ABA Section of Litigation.

Tom has been named in The Best Lawyers in America in the area of Commercial Litigation since 2010.

Tom's pro bono activities include the representation of the Girl Scouts of Western Washington in litigation matters. Along with a number of lawyers in the firm, Tom represented a Virginia death row inmate in habeas corpus proceedings, for which work he received the 2011 Pro Bono Award from the Washington State Bar Association. He is on the Board of Directors of the Family Law CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates) of King County.

Speaking Engagements

Tom has participated as a speaker or as a panel member in a number of Continuing Legal Education programs for lawyers, including the following more recent matters:
  • “New Developments Around the Country” (Presentation for seminar on “New Developments in Discovery-Related Ethics Issues,” WSBA-CLE, October 6, 2010)
  • Panel Member for 12th Annual Program on “Ethics, Professionalism and Civility” (WSBA-CLE, September 14, 2010)
  • “Akzo Nobel v. European Commission -- A Recent Development regarding the Legal Professional Privilege in the European Union” (Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility, June 4, 2010)
  • “How to Strengthen Your Case Through An Effective E-Discovery Request” (Webinar presentation through the National Constitutional Center, April 13, 2010)
  • “Analyzing Conflicts of Interest” (Presentation at the WSBA-CLE Program on Legal Ethics,(May 13, 2009)
  • “Key Rules of Professional Conduct Related to Discovery” (Taped on-line presentation, through Reed Seminars, March 31, 2009)
  • The Sixth Annual WSBA Conference on "The Law of Lawyering" (December 2008)
  • Co-chair of the King County Bar Association's Bench/Bar Conference (November 2008)
  • The Tenth Annual WSBA Conference on "Ethics, Professionalism and Civility" (September 2008)
  • The Fifth Annual WSBA Conference on "The Law of Lawyering" (December 2007)
  • "Ethics Issues in Multi-Jurisdictional Practice," presented to a meeting in Seattle of the general counsel for a forest product industry group (September 2007)
  • WSBA Conference: "One Year Later: Confidentiality and Disclosure of Client Information" (September 2007)
  • Presentation to the Washington Public Ports Association: "Major Changes in the New Washington Rules of Professional Conduct" (December 2006)
  • WSBA Conference on "50 Ways to Lose your Client" (October 2006)
  • WSBA Conference on "The New Rules of Professional Conduct" (September 2006)
  • Defense of insurers in class action lawsuits regarding calculation of premiums
  • Defense of an insurer in an arbitration involving the termination of a senior executive
  • Representation of health care provider before the state insurance commissioner
  • Provide advice to corporate clients regarding compliance with state ethics requirements
  • Defense of companies in age, gender, race and religious discrimination cases
  • Retained to serve as a speaker, along with in-house counsel, in training programs for company managers on avoiding discrimination and other claims
  • Defense of school district in claims of alleged racial harassment and retaliatory termination
  • Representation of lawyers in disciplinary proceedings and in litigation involving claims of breach of fiduciary duty and legal malpractice
  • Represent trustees and beneficiaries in trust litigation
  • Representation of municipalities in areas such as challenges to the validity of local improvement districts; challenges to the validity of annexation ordinances; and challenges to the validity of water system and storm water system ordinances
  • Defend employees in government investigations and in internal investigations
  • Defense of software developer in class action litigation
  • Representation of physician in litigation regarding hospital privileges