JONATHAN MICHAELS | Managing Partner
- 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
Jonathan Michaels has litigated some of the most important cases in the automotive 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 represents terminated Chrysler dealers against the United States for the unlawful “taking” of their franchises in 2009, a violation of the 5th Amendment. He has also 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, Mercedes, Chrysler, Volkswagen, Aston Martin, Porsche, Land Rover and Ford.
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 tenure he has structured international distribution agreements, supply-chain agreements and automotive dealer networks. Michaels has also been involved in numerous venture capital money raises.
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 frequently called upon by the press for relevant comment, and he has authored more than 80 articles for the Los Angeles Daily Journal. In 2015, Michaels’ journalistic work on the GM ignition switch recall earned him consideration for a Pulitzer Prize in Journalism.
Michaels also maintains close ties to the academic community. In 2012, he was named “Attorney of the Year” by his law school alma mater, and he is frequently asked by some of the nation’s most prestigious universities to lecture to both practicing attorneys and law students regarding effective litigation strategy.
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.
PAST AND PRESENT ASSOCIATIONS AND AWARDS
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
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