Matthew Clarke is the chair of Kelley | Clarke’s litigation department.  Over his 25 years of practice, Mr. Clarke has obtained in excess of $150 million in verdicts and settlements as well as helping the firm structure transactions involving real estate in excess of $2 billion dollars.  Mr. Clarke actively tries cases for both defendants as well as plaintiffs in State Courts, Federal Courts, Arbitrators, FINRA, and other regulatory agencies throughout the country.

He has expertise in commercial real estate disputes, securities issues, wrongful termination, lender liability, construction defect,  bad-faith and related insurance disputes, and other complex civil litigation matters. Mr. Clarke was previously a partner at Cappello & Noel, one of the nation’s foremost complex commercial litigation firms and experts in lender liability, in Santa Barbara, California.

Mr. Clarke’s longest trial lasted 11 months and resulted in a multi-million dollar judgment in a construction defect case involving a large multifamily asset in California. He has also tried cases for plaintiffs and defendants involving catastrophic injuries, wrongful death, legal malpractice, accounting malpractice, real estate transactions, investments and intellectual property. This includes verdicts in excess of $40 million against defendants of private equity hedge fund and a wrongful death jury verdict of $16 million in compensatory damages and $2.3 in punitive damages.

Finally, Mr. Clarke has extensive experience advising and counseling businesses, large and small, in the full range of legal issues businesses regularly face. In this regard, the emphasis is always on risk management and cost-effective solutions to difficult problems.

In 2009 and in 2010, Mr. Clarke was selected a “Super Lawyer Rising Star” – recognized as one of the best attorneys under age 40. Mr. Clarke highly rated on the attorney rating website AVVO.

Mr. Clarke has been an active member of the Santa Barbara County Bar Association and served for several years on the Executive Committee.  He was a regular contributor to the Santa Barbara Lawyer Magazine, writing articles on various legal topics.  Mr. Clarke is married and has three growing boys.  Both his wife, Sofia, and he are active in their local community, church, and a number of non-profit organizations.

  • Civil litigation and trials
  • Risk management and avoidance
  • Maximizing client recoveries
  • Defending clients from meritless claims
  • Willamette University
    B.A., 1992
    Salem, Oregon
  • Lewis & Clark Law School
    J.D., 1996
    Portland, Oregon
  • Courts of the State of California, 1996
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California, 1996
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California, 2005
  • U.S. Court of Appeal, Ninth Circuit, 2008
  • Courts of the State of Texas, 2009
  • U.S. District Court, District of Idaho, 2008
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, 2011
  • U.S. District Court, District of New Hampshire, 2016
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California, 2016
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Texas, 2016
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas, 2016
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas, 2010
  • El Escorial Owners’ Association v. DLC Plastering, Inc., (2007) 154 Cal. App. 4th 1337
  • Lazy Acres Market, Inc. v. Tseng (2007) 152 Cal. App. 4th 1431
  • Strauss v. Sheffield Ins. Corp., (2008) 281 Fed.Appx. 656, 2008 WL 2229817 
  • Gottesman v. Cathedral Oaks Tennis, Swim & Athletic Club, Inc. (2008) 2008 WL 4073392
  • McDermott v. Ampersand Pub., LLC (9th Cir. 2010) 593 F.3d 950
  • Willig v. Mammoth Mountain Ski Area (2010) 2010 WL 302436, as modified on denial of reh’g
  • Goldberg v. Coggins Company (2013) 2013 WL 4743104
  • Colavincenzo v. Aloha Pool & Spa (2014) 2014 WL 6657444
  • Colavincenzo v. Corby Gould Pools, Inc. (2014) 2014 WL 6657552
  • Kelley v. Los Angeles Transition Center (2015) 2015 WL 3658153
  • Roman Catholic Bishop of Monterey v. Cota (9th Cir. 2018) 711 Fed.Appx. 428
  • Deedle v. Collectors Universe, Inc. (2017) 2017 WL 6379941, review denied
  • Mueller v. Collectors Universe, Inc. (2017) 2017 WL 6379940, review denied
  • State Dept. of Social Services v. Marin (2019) 34 Cal.App.5th 328