Jonathan Michaels first became licensed in 1995, and since that time has created an exemplary litigation practice. Michaels has challenged some of the largest companies in the world, litigating cases in state and federal courts throughout the U.S. In these endeavors, he has received astounding verdicts and settlements for his clients – achievements that yielded him the “Attorney of the Year” award by his law school alma mater in 2012.

Michaels has also developed a particularly specialized practice in the automotive industry, having become well-known in the U.S. for litigating some of the most important cases in the industry. He is responsible for filing Ponce v. General Motors – a national class action case against GM for the fraudulent concealment of a deadly safety defect in its vehicles for 13 years; and Spitzer Motor City v. U.S. – where he represented terminated Chrysler dealers against the United States for the unlawful “taking” of their franchises in 2009, a violation of the 5th Amendment. In his tenure, Michaels has litigated cases against nearly every major auto manufacturer in the world, including GM, Audi, Maserati, Mitsubishi, Kia, Nissan, Honda, AM General, Isuzu, Toyota, Hyundai, Harley-Davidson, Ford, Chrysler, Tesla, Volvo, Volkswagen, Aston Martin, Land Rover, Mercedes and Porsche.

Michaels is also aptly skilled at structuring complex business transactions. In 2013, he was involved in taking the supercar company Saleen Automotive public, and during his career he has structured international distribution agreements, supply-chain agreements and automotive dealer networks.  Michaels has also been involved in structuring race teams that have competed in some of the most heralded races, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Indianapolis 500.

Michaels’ efforts have earned him the respect of his peers. He has received the prestigious “Super Lawyers” award every year since 2012, a distinction reserved for no more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state. Michaels is also regularly called upon by the press for relevant comment, and he has authored more than 100 articles for the prestigious Los Angeles Daily Journal. In 2015, Michaels was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in Journalism for his publications on the GM ignition switch recall.

In addition to his professional work, Michaels maintains close ties to the academic community. He is privileged to have been invited to speak at numerous law schools and business schools about effective litigation strategy and advanced business structuring.

All of this follows a strong scholastic beginning. Michaels graduated from the USC Marshall School of Business in 1992, and then attended Whittier Law School where he graduated in 1995 in the top four percent of his class. In law school, Michaels served as the Notes and Comments Editor of Law Review, he competed in several national Moot Court Honors Board competitions, and he published a winning Law Review article that is permanently housed in the U.S. Library of Congress.

Michaels is a member of the California, Colorado and Michigan state bars, and is actively involved in the Southern California community. He is the proud father of two sons, Jake and Dean.



  • Whittier Law School (J.D., 1995, Magna Cum Laude)
  • University of Southern California (B.S., 1992)


  • California State Bar
  • Colorado State Bar
  • Michigan State Bar
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court, Federal Circuit



National Association of Motor Vehicle Boards
Motor Press Guild
National Association of Dealer Counsel
California New Car Dealers Assn.
Orange County Automobile Dealers Assn.
Southland Motor Car Dealers Assn.
Specialty Equipment Manufacturer Assn.
Checkered Flag 200
Historic Motor Sports Assn.

California State Bar – Admitted
Colorado State Bar – Admitted
Michigan State Bar – Admitted
U.S. Supreme Court – Admitted
9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals – Admitted
6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals – Admitted
Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals – Admitted
U.S. District Court, Central District of California – Admitted
U.S. District Court, Southern District of California – Admitted
U.S. District Court, Northern District of California – Admitted
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan – Admitted
U.S. District Court, Federal Circuit – Admitted
Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society – Member
Super Lawyers – Blue Ribbon Panelist
Association of Business Trial Lawyers – Member
Orange County Trial Lawyers Association – Member
Robert A. Banyard Inn of Court – Member
American Bar Association – Member
Orange County Bar Association – Member
Los Angeles County Bar Association – Member
Young Entrepreneur’s Organization – President, OC Chapter
Young Entrepreneur’s Organization – Membership Chair, OC Chapter
Young Entrepreneur’s Organization – Events Chair, OC Chapter

National Association of Dealer Counsel – Speaker
California New Motor Vehicle Board – Speaker
Motor Press Guild – Speaker
Vistage – Speaker
Young Entrepreneur’s Organization – Speaker
USC Marshall School of Business – Guest lecturer
Pepperdine School of Business – Guest lecturer
Whittier Law School– Guest lecturer
Chapman Law School– Guest lecturer

USC Marshall Partners – Chairman, OC Chapter
USC Marshall Partners – Executive Committee
USC Marshall Alumni Association – Member
USC Marshall School of Business – Speaker
USC-Harvard Business Conference – Committee Chair
Whittier Law School – Dean’s Council
Whittier Law School – Guest Lecturer
Pepperdine School of Business – Guest Lecturer
Chapman Law School – Speaker

Child Guidance Center – Board of Directors
Orangewood Foundation – Humanitarian Award
Segerstrom Center – Circle Council

9/18/18– LADJ Article, “Chapter 11, Here We Come”

8/14/18– LADJ Article, “All Things 100”

7/19/18– LADJ Article, “Investor’s Paradise”

6/19/18– LADJ Article, “Driving to Recessionary Times”

5/15/18– LADJ Article, “The Long And The Short Of It”

4/24/18– LADJ Article, “A Development in Progress”

3/13/18– LADJ Article, “A Bit More Than A Coin”

2/13/18– LADJ Article, “The Future of Privacy”

1/9/18– LADJ Article, “Electrifying!”

12/6/17– LADJ Article, “Will They Make the Turn?”

11/8/17– LADJ Article, “It’s Harder Than It Looks”

10/10/17– LADJ Article, “When Will They Stop?”

9/6/17– LADJ Article, “Autonomous Fear”

8/1/17 – LADJ Article, “The Truth About Lithium”

7/7/17 – LADJ Article, “Selling Cars in Tomorrowland”

6/6/17 – LADJ Article, “Oh, Snap!”

5/2/17 – LADJ Article, “Phantom Stock”

4/4/17 – LADJ Article, “Generation Next”

3/14/17 – LADJ Article, “Drive it Like You Stole It”

2/8/17 – LADJ Article, “Mexican Standoff”

1/4/17 – LADJ Article, “Automobile Weaponry”

12/6/16 – LADJ Article, “Public Enemy No. 1: Texting and Driving”

11/1/16 – LADJ Article, “The Next Four Years”

10/5/16 – LADJ Article, “Formulas One’s $8 Billion Deal”

9/8/16 – LADJ Article, “The Exporting Enigma”

8/2/16 – LADJ Article, “The Brazilian Nightmare”

7/12/16 – LADJ Article, “Britian’s Exit and the Auto Industry”

6/14/16 – LADJ Article, “Airbag Recall Understood”

5/3/16 – LADJ Article, “NY’s Response to Texting and Driving”

4/5/16 – LADJ Article, “Autonomous Cars Have Finally Arrived”

3/8/16 – LADJ Article, “EPA’s Slams the Door on High Performance”

2/4/16 – LADJ Article, “Oil’s New Economy”

1/6/16 – LADJ Article, “What Will Become of Us?”

12/1/15 – LADJ Article, “The Harder They Fall”

11/4/15 – LADJ Article, “Generation Forward”

10/7/15 – LADJ Article, “When Will They Stop?”

9/1/15 – LADJ Article, “Gold Rush”

8/5/15 – LADJ Article, “Chrysler’s Redord-Breaking Fine Not Nearly Enough”

7/8/15 – LADJ Article, “Uber’s Worst Nightmare”

6/3/15 – LADJ Article, “War Crimes”

5/5/15 – LADJ Article, “The Tragedy of Progress”

4/8/15 – LADJ Article, “Paul Walker, Concluded”

3/3/15 – LADJ Article, “Getting It Right”

2/4/15 – LADJ Article, “Swimming in a Sea of Oil”

1/6/15 – LADJ Article, “An Uber Mess”

12/2/14 – LADJ Article, “Year of the Snake”

11/11/14 – LADJ Article, “A Failed System”

10/7/14 – LADJ Article, “Twenty Years Out”

9/4/14 – LADJ Article, “The Shocking Truth”

8/6/14 – LADJ Article, “There’s No Honor in the System”

7/8/14 – LADJ Article, “The Company Without a Soul”

6/3/14 – LADJ Article, “Moments of Atrocity”

5/8/14 – LADJ Article, “Tesla’s Federal Showdown”

4/1/14 – LADJ Article, “GM’s Day of Reckoning

3/4/14 – LADJ Article, “What Evil That Men Do”

2/4/14 – LADJ Article, “Rock Bottom”

1/7/14 – LADJ Article, “Success Redefined”

12/4/13 – LADJ Article, “Life Interrupted”

11/5/13 – LADJ Article, “Dodging a Bullet”

10/1/13 – LADJ Article, “Head Rush”

9/4/13 – LADJ Article, “Pop the Champagne”

8/6/13 – LADJ Article, “The Deadliest Weapon”

7/2/13 – LADJ Article, “So You Think You’re Safe”

6/4/13 – LADJ Article, “Eliminating All Doubt”

5/7/13 – LADJ Article, “The Fallen Angel”

4/2/13 – LADJ Article, “The Root of All Evil”

3/6/13 – LADJ Article, “Chasing the Seven Percent”

2/5/13 – LADJ Article, “The Electric Car Myth”

1/8/13 – LADJ Article, “Chrysler Dealers Bring Suit Against U.S. for the Fifth Amendment”

12/4/12 – LADJ Article, “Oh, What A Tangled Web We Weave”

11/2/12 – LADJ Article, “Obama and the Automotive Industry”

10/3/12 – LADJ Article, “Could GM Be At It Again?”

9/5/12 – LADJ Article, “Market Forces Challenge Electric Car Industry”

8/7/12 – LADJ Article, “The Grand Ol’ Plan”

7/3/12 – LADJ Article, “Theft, Hiding and Restitution.”

6/6/12 – LADJ Article, “Chrysler Dealers Get Rejected Once Again”

5/1/12 – LADJ Article, “An Industry Lost”

4/3/12 – LADJ Article, “The Love of All Things Ferrari”

3/6/12 – LADJ Article, “Fisker’s Power Outage”

2/7/12 – LADJ Article, “Porche’s Billion Dollar Blunder”

1/5/12 – LADJ Article, “Up in Smoke”

12/6/11 – LADJ Article, “Spend it Like You Got It”

11/1/11 – LADJ Article, “Basking in the Ferrari Sun”

10/4/11 – LADJ Article, “The Pain is Far From Over”

9/6/11 – LADJ Article, “Troubles with the New Fuel Regulations Sure to Come”

8/8/11 – LADJ Article, “The $1 Million Question”

7/5/11 – LADJ Article, “Will the Real Team Lotus Please Stand Up”

6/7/11 – LADJ Article, “Winning at All Costs”

5/3/11 – LADJ Article, “How Soon We Forget”

4/4/11 – LADJ Article, “Will Oil Become Extinct?”

3/7/11 – LADJ Article, “How Many More Have to Die”

2/8/11 – LADJ Article, “Do it for the Kids”

1/12/11 – LADJ Article, “Ethanol Still Ablaze”

12/6/10 – LADJ Article, “The Dirty Little Secret”

11/4/10 – LADJ Article, “The Killing Fields”

10/8/10 – LADJ Article, “Ghost in the Machine”

9/7/10 – LADJ Article, “Electric Shock”

8/2/10 – LADJ Article, “Somebody Tell Them the Party’s Over”

7/6/10 – LADJ Article, “Tesla Business Model: Brilliance or Impending Disaster?”

5/13/10 – LADJ Article, “Auto Dealers Beware: Big Brother is Looming”

2/10/10 – LADJ Article, “The Appropriateness of Toyota’s Gas Pedal Recall”

1994 – Whittier Law Review, “The U.S. Constitution and the Texas Death Penalty”

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