Kevin is an experienced litigator who joined Shook in 1993 and has practiced in its San Francisco office for more than a decade. His practice includes consumer-protection laws, class-action litigation, appellate practice, product liability law and e-discovery. Kevin has argued before trial and appellate judges in both state and federal court, and frequently speaks on topics such as consumer law, legal ethics and legal writing, among others.

Sample representations include:

  • numerous product liability actions and medical-monitoring class actions against cigarette manufacturers (primarily Philip Morris USA), involving complex issues such as federal preemption and punitive damages;
  • numerous product liability actions and consumer class actions against auto manufacturers, such as Ford Motor Corporation and Toyota Motor Corporation;
  • multi-district class action litigation against The Coca-Cola Company involving labeling and advertising claims brought under California’s Unfair Competition Law and similar laws in other states;
  • many other UCL class action claims cases, such as cases against Sysco Corporation, Chattem, Inc., Interstate Bakeries, Kraft Foods, S&M NuTec, Sprint/Nextel Corp. and others; and
  • substantial appellate work involving writ petitions, appeals and amicus representation in a variety of cases, as well as oral argument before federal circuit courts and the California Court of Appeals.

Kevin is also a writer whose work has been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, The Wall Street Journal, The Recorder and The Daily Journal, among others. He has been a contributor to, The Huffington Post and National Public Radio. Kevin writes about strange-but-true legal news and issues on his website, Lowering the Bar, which the American Bar Association Journal has selected for its “Blawg 100” list in each of the last four years.

Selected Publications

Kevin Underhill, The Emergency Sasquatch Ordinance (and other real laws that human beings have actually dreamed up, enacted, and sometimes even enforced) (Chicago: ABA Flagship 2014).

Kevin Underhill, A Year of Lowering the Bar, Green Bag Almanac & Reader (2009-2014).

Mark Behrens, Kevin Underhill, Cary Silverman, Erin Sparkuhl & Christine Edwards, Asbestos Litigation “Magnet” Courts Alter Procedures: More Changes on the Horizon, 27:8 Mealey’s Litig. Rep.: Asbestos 1 (May 16, 2012). 

Kevin Underhill & Ashley Cornwall, Hill v. Roll International: Labels Matter, But Some More Than Others, SHB Class Action & Complex Litigation Working Paper, Summer 2011; reprinted in iCounsel Newsletter, a Bar Association of San Francisco Quarterly Publication for In-House Counsel, August 2011. 

Victor E. Schwartz, Mark A. Behrens & Kevin Underhill, Litigation Tourism Hurts Californians, 21:20 Mealey's Litig. Rep.: Asbestos 41, Nov. 15, 2006.

Kevin Underhill, Preferential Trial Settings, Summary Judgments Clash, San Francisco Daily Journal Extra, Dec. 22, 2003, at 7.

Mark A. Behrens & Kevin Underhill, A Call for Jury Patriotism: Why the Jury System Must Be Improved for Californians Called to Serve, 40 Cal. W. L. Rev. 135 (2003).

Kevin Underhill, A Reasonable Consumer Would Know Crunch Berries Aren’t Real (and over 3,500 other posts), Lowering the Bar (2006-present).

Kevin Underhill, Can You Deduct a Pirate Ransom?,, Jan. 24, 2012. 

Kevin Underhill, Illinois Golfer Not Liable for Errant Tee Shot,, Feb. 27, 2011. 

Kevin Underhill, United States Vs. One Moon Rock,, July 8, 2010. 

Kevin Underhill, If Great Literary Works Had Been Written by Lawyers II, 4 Green Bag 2d 119, Autumn 2000.

Kevin Underhill, If Great Literary Works Had Been Written by Lawyers, 2 Green Bag 2d 449, Summer 1999.

Selected Presentations

"The Psychology of Legal Ethics, or Why Smart Lawyers Do Dumb Things," DRI's Class Actions: Latest Developments in Law and Practice, Washington, D.C. (July 23-24, 2015).

“How Did So Many Lawyers Get Involved In Something Like This?,” In-House Counsel Institute, Louisville, Kentucky (June 17, 2014) (discussing legal-ethics lessons of Watergate).

“Lowering the Bar on Ethics,” Defense Research Institute, Washington, D.C. (May 9, 2014).

“The Ethics of E-Discovery,” Electronic Discovery Institute, Santa Monica, California (Oct. 17, 2013).

“Legal Writing and Editing,” Pincus Continuing Legal Education, San Francisco, California (Jan. 24, 2013).

“Legal Ethics Update,” Association of Corporate Counsel, Orange County, California (Oct. 11, 2012).