San Diego's Law Firm


San Diego


phone 619.881.1303 (Direct)

fax 619.232.3264

Paul V. Carelli, IV


Mr. Carelli has been named a Super Lawyer by Thomson Reuters for the past five years. He zealously represents his clients, whether helping them with their legal problems outside of court, or arguing before a jury or appellate court. Just as importantly, he excels at helping his clients understand the law, so that they can make informed decisions.

He obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana in 1989, and graduated cum laude from California Western School of Law in San Diego in 1997. In between college and law school, he taught math and science at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Nevada. While at California Western, he served as the Associate Notes and Comments Editor for the California Western Law Review/International Law Journal.

Admitted to the California State Bar in 1997, Mr. Carelli is an active member of the San Diego County Bar Association, and is a Barrister in the San Diego Appellate Inn of Court. He is also an active member of the Southwest Riverside County Bar Association. His practice focuses on appellate law, civil litigation, and general counsel, with an emphasis on employment, constitutional, public entity, and education law.

Besides his substantial trial experience, Mr. Carelli is certified by the Legal Specialization Board of the California State Bar as a specialist in Appellate Law.

Mr. Carelli has handled hundreds of civil appeals and writs in both the federal and state court systems. He briefed the California Supreme Court in the case of Shirk v. Vista Unified School District (2007) 42 Cal.4th 201, 164 P.3d 630, 64 Cal.Rptr.3d 210. In that case, Mr. Carelli, representing the School District, successfully argued that an adult plaintiff’s lawsuit was time-barred where the plaintiff claimed the District negligently permitted sexual molestation by a teacher over 25 years ago.

Mr. Carelli also has briefed the United States Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit in the important First Amendment school case of Harper v. Poway Unified Sch. Dist., 445 F.3d 1166 (9th Cir. 2006), cert. granted and judg. vac., Harper ex rel. Harper v. Poway Unified Sch. Dist., 127 S.Ct. 1484, 167 L.Ed.2d 225 (2007). In Harper, the Ninth Circuit held that the First Amendment did not prohibit school administrators from preventing a student from wearing a shirt with an anti-gay message on campus. The case was later vacated by the Supreme Court on mootness grounds because the plaintiff had graduated from high school.

Published cases from the California Court of Appeal that were briefed and argued by Mr. Carelli include:

Manderville v. PCG&S Group, Inc. (2007) 146 Cal.App.4th 1486, 55 Cal.Rptr.3d 59 [reversing summary judgment, holding that language in real estate contract did not provide immunity to real estate brokers alleged to have misrepresented aspects of a real estate lot to the buyers]

Carter v. Escondido Union High School District (2007) 48 Cal.App.4th 922, 56 Cal.Rptr.3d 262 [reversing $1.3 million dollar jury verdict, and holding that whistleblower’s statement to school officials warning that a coach had recommended a weight-gain supplement to a student does not provide a legal basis for termination in violation of public policy]

Austin B. v. Escondido Union Elementary School District (2007) 149 Cal.App.4th 860, 57 Cal.Rptr.3d 454 [upholding jury verdict finding that teacher did not abuse autistic students]

Guerrero v. South Bay Union School District (2003) 114 Cal.App.4th 264, 7 Cal.Rptr.3d 509 [holding that school liability for off-campus injuries to students after school hours is limited]

Authored Articles
The E-Discovery Rule

  • Certified Specialist, Appellate Law (Legal Specialization Board of the California State Bar)
  • Member, San Diego County Bar Association
  • President, Notre Dame Club of San Diego (2005-2006)
  • Barrister, San Diego Appellate Inn of Court
  • California Western School of Law, cum laude, 1997
  • University of Notre Dame, 1989

Bar Admissions

  • U.S District Court: SD Cal., CD Cal., ND Cal.
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit
  • United States Supreme Court
  • State of California
  • Certified Appellate Specialist, State Bar of California

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