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J. Kelly Carley
  • Litigation Attorney






"I find being a trial attorney both challenging and satisfying. Most individuals feel they have little chance of success in a lawsuit against a large hospital or corporation, but through education, experience, and skill the trial attorney can level that playing field. To me, there is nothing more satisfying than to see the look on a client's face when they realize they have prevailed." J. Kelly Carley

J. Kelly Carley is a senior trial attorney at McKeen & Associates. He has more than 30 years of experience as a litigator. He started his law career representing physicians and hospitals. This experience has given him invaluable insight for his role representing victims of medical malpractice and the negligence of others for the past 20 years.

Mr. Carley joined McKeen & Associates in 2013, and since that time has been involved in numerous highly complex medical malpractice cases resulting in multi-million-dollar settlements and verdicts. Notable verdicts include a $3.9 million verdict in St. Clair County for the failure to diagnose and treat a dissecting aorta which resulted in the death of a 47-year-old wife and mother; a $3.5 million verdict in Wayne County for the death of a 15-week old infant for failure to diagnose and treat Hirschsprung’s disease; and a $2.7 verdict in Alpena County for damage done during a hernia surgery. He obtained a verdict in 2016 for $871,500, which is one of the largest podiatry verdicts in state history. He has also obtained verdicts for injured clients in vehicular, construction, employment, products, and admiralty cases.

In addition to his trial practice, he has successfully argued in the Michigan Supreme Court, the Michigan Court of Appeals and the Sixth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals.

Mr. Carley graduated from University of Michigan and the Michigan State University College of Law. He participated in the American Bar Association Moot Court competition; was a Moot Court Scholarship recipient; a coach for the National Moot Court Team and a director of the Moot Court Executive Board. He has also received the American Jurisprudence Award for the study of Equity and was a Michigan Association for Justice Pacesetter.

In 2020, he was elected to the prestigious American Board of Trial Advocates.

When he is not practicing law, Kelly enjoys studying WWII, golf and participating and following sports in general.

Year Joined Firm

  • 2013

Areas Of Practice

  • Maritime Accidents
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Podiatric Malpractice

Litigation Percentage

  • 100% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Bar Admissions

  • Michigan, 1986
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Michigan, 1986
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Michigan, 1986
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Ohio, 2000
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit, 1987


  • Detroit College of Law (Michigan State University), Detroit, Michigan
    • J.D.
    • Honors: Moot Court (1985-1986)
  • University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), Ann Arbor, Michigan
    • B.G.S. - 1982
    • Honors: Dean's List

Representative Cases

Honors and Awards

  • American Bar Association Moot Court Competition
  • American Jurisprudence Award Study of Equity
  • Coach National Moot Court Team
  • Moot Court Scholarship Recipient
  • Director Moot Court Executive Board
  • Michigan Association for Justice Pacesetter

Past Employment Positions

  • Schureman, Frakes, Glass & Wulfmeier, 1986 to 1992
  • Ferriby & Houston, 1993 to 1993
  • Law Office J. Kelly Carley, 1994 to 1998
  • Jaques Admiralty Law Firm, 1998 to 2013

Practice Areas