AHK Law Office

Phillip M. Adleson

IN MEMORIAM, 1949-2017

Phillip M. Adleson was the founder, principal shareholder and senior attorney in the law firm of Adleson, Hess & Kelly, P.C.  Mr. Adleson founded the predecessor to Adleson, Hess & Kelly, P.C. in 1977 and remained in private practice until 2017. Mr. Adleson consistently earned an AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5.0 Peer Review Rating, the highest available rating for legal ability and ethics, as recognized by Martindale-Hubbell, Inc. ("AV Preeminent" is a registered trademark of Martindale-Hubbell). He represented numerous lenders, real estate licensees, trustees, principals in transactions, trade associations, borrowers, and title companies in trial courts and appellate courts and in connection with amicus curiae briefs and class actions. Mr. Adleson provided consulting, second opinions and/or expert testimony on mortgage lending, mortgage loan servicing, foreclosures and loan modifications, as well as an array of other real estate and business issues.

Mr. Adleson has testified as an expert in courts and arbitration fora (including JAMS) in Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Alameda, and Contra Costa counties, and in Federal Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. He served as an expert in the jury trial which was the subject of the appeal in Hicks v. E.T. Legg & Associates (2001) 89 Cal.App.4th 496. Mr. Adleson has testified before the judiciary committees of both the California Assembly and the California Senate and has drafted proposed legislation that ultimately became law.

Since 1983, Mr. Adleson has served on the Board of Directors of the United Trustees Association (UTA), formerly known as the California Trustees Association, has served as two-term past President of UTA (1986-1988), and has served multiple terms as State Legislative Chairman. Mr. Adleson and the firm have been UTA's corporate counsel for over 20 years. Since the mid-1980's, Mr. Adleson has regularly presented legal and legislative updates at the UTA annual conference, as well as many other programs.

Mr. Adleson has also served as Corporate Counsel for the California Mortgage Association (CMA) since 2004. He has been a CMA member and regular seminar speaker since 1999, teaching many seminars and workshops on topics including annual legal and legislative updates, business purpose loans, usury, the California Homeowner Bill of Rights, broker agency and regulatory compliance, elder abuse, impound accounts, loan disclosures, investor disclosures, nontraditional mortgage loans, loan servicing and servicing agreements, local distressed property ordinances, the impact of the Dodd-Frank Act on making, arranging, servicing, and foreclosing mortgage loans, the impact of various deed of trust and note provisions, and nonjudicial foreclosure and agency, among others.

Mr. Adleson was a past instructor of real estate, business law and foreclosure classes at San Jose State University and De Anza Community College. He was a licensed real estate broker and has taught numerous classes throughout the world approved for continuing education credit by the California State Bar and the Department of Real Estate (now known as the California Bureau of Real Estate). Mr. Adleson has taught seminars and given speeches on real estate, business law, foreclosures, distressed sales, exchanges, sales, ethics and legal aspects of real estate transactions, mortgage lending, and state and federal regulation of lenders and real estate licensees. In addition to his regular seminars and presentations for CMA and UTA, Mr. Adleson has lectured or presented seminars for private clients and for other trade associations, including REOMAC, California Mortgage Bankers Association, California Trust Deed Broker's Association, the Mortgage Association of California, the Bay Area Investors Group, the San Jose Board of Realtors, the Saratoga-Sunnyvale Board of Realtors, the San Francisco Bar Association, and the National Business Institute.

Mr. Adleson has authored a real estate book, seminar and course materials, as well as articles on real estate, financing, foreclosure, and business law. He has been a regular contributor to the United Trustees Association's quarterly newsletter since its inception, as well as CMA's quarterly magazine called "Points of Interest."

Mr. Adleson received his Juris Doctorate from Santa Clara University School of Law in 1976 and was admitted to the California Bar that same year. From 1976-1977, Mr. Adleson served as research attorney for Justice Margaret J. Morris, California Court of Appeal (Fourth Appellate District). He received a B.A. from California State University at Northridge (1972), attended University of Southern California Graduate School in Political Science (1972-1973), and participated in Hastings College of the Law--University of California College of Advocacy in 1978.


Real Estate Law
Business Law
Litigation and Arbitration


California State Bar
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
U.S. District Court, Central District of California
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California


J.D., cum laude, from University of Santa Clara Law School, 1976
Participant, Hastings College of Law, Trial College of Advocacy, 1978
University of Southern California Graduate School, 1972-1973
B.A., California State University at Northridge, 1968-1972
United Trustees Association, Level I and II – Certified Trustees Sale Officer


Rated AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5.0 Peer Review Rating, the highest available rating for legal ability and ethics, as recognized by Martindale-Hubbell, Inc. ("AV Preeminent" is a registered trademark of Martindale-Hubbell).

Northern California Super Lawyers®, 2004 - 2006, 2008 - 2016


Member, California State Bar Association

Member, Director and Corporate Counsel, the United Trustees Association (UTA) formerly the California Trustee's Association

Member and Corporate Counsel, California Mortgage Association

Member, Santa Clara County Bar Association

Member, California State Bar Committee on Real Estate Finance and on the Joint Committee on Anti-Deficiency Laws in the 1980's

1 AV® Preeminent ™ is a certification mark of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the Bar and the Judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings fall into two categories - legal ability and general ethical standards.