Kirby finds home with Harris Shelton

Law Talk profile for The Memphis Daily News

Sept. 12, 2013

When he was in the second grade, Matthew Kirby’s mother was told he needed to either be a lawyer or a preacher.

“I had a loud voice,” admits Kirby, a member with Harris Shelton Hanover Walsh PLLC.

He has managed to strike a balance between the two callings as an attorney for 12 years and a deacon with Germantown Baptist Church. Kirby grew up in Memphis and attended Briarcrest Christian School. As an undergraduate at Union University, he majored in history with a minor in English.

The legal field seemed to be predetermined, not only because of his emerging personality as a 7-year-old, but also because of family tradition. His father, James Kirby, is an attorney, also with Harris Shelton, and he has had family members practicing in Louisiana and in Jackson, Tenn., as well.

With such a legacy behind him, Kirby entered The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, graduating in 2001. While there, he clerked for Harris Shelton, and took the job with them following graduation.

His areas of practice changes with the economy, he said, yet Kirby focuses primarily on civil litigation.

“In 2008 or so, when the economy went down, workers’ compensation claims went through the roof, and that took a large percentage of my practice for a few years,” he said. “I have probably tried the last of the glut of those cases that were filed a little over a year ago.”

Prior to 2008, he worked primarily on medical malpractice defense and premises liability claims. He knew from the start he didn’t want to go into criminal law but wanted to be a litigator . . . (read more)