Michael R. McKinstry


Email: mmckinstry@elmlaw.com
Phone: 206-682-0565
Fax: 206-625-1052
Direct: 206-224-6688



Mike is a partner and senior trial lawyer. He pursues justice and tries cases with integrity. For over 40 years he has been doing this with passion in state and federal courts in Washington and across the country.

As a trial lawyer, Mike has handled hundreds of lawsuits and arbitrations in complex litigation, including business, major injury and death, product liability, maritime, construction, securities, constitutional, and trust and estate cases. As a Judge Pro Tem he has presided over civil and criminal jury and bench trials. His experience and decades of successful practice give him the necessary litigation judgment. He also has the relationships with leading experts and consultants necessary to build and present complex cases. Starting from his earliest practice years at the Schweppe Law firm, his experience has honed his instincts and judgment so that he confidently navigates the court system and achieves just, successful, and efficient results for his clients, individuals and businesses alike. He brings wisdom and judgment to the table. Courtesy, respect, and professionalism are a part of his code. And his compassion for his clients never allows him to back down from a fight when justice is at stake. His opponents and insurance companies know this well. If he can’t achieve a fair negotiated settlement, he’ll take the fight to trial, as he did in his 2010 case against the Washington Department of Transportation for defective highway design. That trial (Hu v. WSDOT) ended in a $30.2 million jury verdict.

His experience and compassion have prepared him to take on the risks and intense pressures of high stakes cases, whether representing individuals or businesses. Justice for victims of catastrophic injuries and death means pursuing major corporations, the government, and insurance companies in order to obtain fair compensation for wrongs done. Mike is not afraid to take the fight to these modern day Goliaths. His passion and calling is to pursue the cause of justice for the individual against the powerful. He cares and worries about his clients. He gets to know them very well. In the case of injured clients, he joins them on their journey as they grapple with their tragedies and work toward recovery. He keeps them informed and involved; works to shield them from the pressures of litigation; and sees that they are treated with respect and dignity along the way.

Mike is rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell, the top attorney rating available, and the online legal services marketplace Avvo gives him “10.00 out of 10.” He has been consistently rated “Super Lawyer” by his peers, is a member of The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 organization, and is a Washington State Association for Justice EAGLE.

Michael R. McKinstry selected by his peers 26th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America© for Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs.


Injury Litigation Areas

Brain Injury
Highway Design
Maritime Injuries
Medical Malpractice
Pedestrian/Auto, Bus, Truck
Premises Liability
Product Liability
Sexual Assault
Spinal Cord Injuries
Sports Injuries
Trucking Injuries
Wrongful Death

Business Litigation Areas

Trusts and Estates


Washington State Bar Association

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington

Professional and Community Involvement

Mike joined ELM in 1990 as a partner and Litigation Chair, and has continued in that role to date. He served as the firm’s managing partner for over six years. As Litigation Chair, he serves as lead counsel on many of the firm’s complex and major litigation matters. He also mentors the firm’s trial attorneys and passes on the traditions, ethics, and approach of those that mentored him.

Outside of his law practice, Mike enjoys travel and time with his wife and family. He and his wife have three adult children, eight grandchildren, and have been foster parents to many troubled youth, including street and gang kids and parolees. Mike also serves as a board member and speaker for East-West Outreach, a nonprofit that since the fall of the Soviet Union has served and provided relief in Romania, including work among the poor, gypsies, orphans, and prisoners, and in Mexico, through an orphanage in Monterrey.

Representative Matters

Million Dollar Results

Other Litigation Matters Over the Last 30 Years


University of Washington, B.A., 1971

Seattle University School of Law, J.D., 1975