Jonathan Michaels has litigated some of the most important cases in the automotive industry. He is lead counsel on 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 numerous 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 General Motors, Nissan, Honda, AM General, Isuzu, Toyota, Fisker, Mercedes, Kia, Chrysler, Land Rover and Ford.
Michaels is also aptly skilled at structuring complex business transactions. In 2013, he was involved in taking Saleen Automotive, Inc. public, and he now serves as the company’s general counsel and on the board of directors. In his tenure, Michaels has structured international distribution agreements, supply-chain agreements, automotive dealer networks, and he has 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 nearly 50 articles for The Los Angeles Daily Journal – all of which have appeared on the front page of the respected publication.
Michaels 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 teach classes to both practicing attorneys and law students regarding effective litigation strategies.
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 4 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 and Colorado State Bars, and is actively involved in the Southern California community. He is the proud father of two sons, Jake and Dean.
Licensed since 1995
Cash, Check, Credit Card
Jonathan has an expectational legal mind and ability to win cases. While he is well known as being the leading attorney for Automotive Law, I have seen Jonathan in other arenas of law doing perfected work. His courtroom skills are beyond compare. Jonathan has a strong and likable courtroom presence and strong legal mind. Not to mention he comes prepared. He knows his case and how to win (something few do) - for me there is no higher compliment.
Dyke Huish Criminal Defense Attorney
Relationship: Worked together on matter
|Award Name||Grantor||Date Granted|
|Humanitarian Award||Orangewood Children's Foundation||2009|
|Distinguished Speaker||USC Marshall School of Business||2009|
|Founding Member||MLG Automotive Law, APLC||2007 - Present|
|Partner||Burkhalter, Michaels, Kessler & George, LLP||1997 - 2007|
|Association Name||Position Name||Duration|
|USC Marshall Partners||Vice-Chair||2010 - Present|
|Motor Press Guild||Member||2009 - Present|
|National Association of Dealer Counsel||Member||2009 - Present|
|Specialty Equipment Manufacturer Association||Member||2009 - Present|
|Association of Business Trial Lawyers||Member||2009 - Present|
|USC Marshall Partners||Member||2008 - Present|
|YEO||President||2007 - 2008|
|YEO||Membership Chair||2005 - 2006|
|YEO||Member||2004 - 2010|
|Robert A. Banyard Inn of Court||Member||2002 - 2007|
|Southland Motor Car Dealers Association||Member||2002 - Present|
|Orange County Automobile Dealers Association||Member||2002 - Present|
|California New Car Dealers Association||Member||2002 - Present|
|USC Alumni Association||Director||2001 - 2004|
|Los Angeles County Bar Association||Member||1997 - 2007|
|Orange County Bar Association||Member||1997 - 2007|
|American Bar Association||Member||1995 - 2002|
|Los Angeles Daily Journal||Will Oil Become Extinct?||2011|
|Los Angeles Daily Journal||How Many More Have to Die?||2011|
|Los Angeles Daily Journal||Do It for the Kids||2011|
|Los Angeles Daily Journal||Ethanol Still Ablaze||2011|
|Los Angeles Daily Journal||The Dirty Little Secret||2010|
|Los Angeles Daily Journal||The Killing Fields||2010|
|Los Angeles Daily Journal||Electric Shock!||2010|
|Los Angeles Daily Journal||Somebody Tell Them the Party's Over||2010|
|Los Angeles Daily Journal||Tesla Business Model: Brilliance or Impending Disaster?||2010|
|San Francisco Daily Journal||Auto Dealers Beware: Big Brother is Looming||2010|
|Los Angeles Daily Journal||Revving It Up||2010|
|OC Metro||Jonathan Michaels Named to the Supreme Court Bar||2010|
|15 Whittier L. Review 621||Johnson v. Texas: The Supreme Court’s Paradoxical Reconciliation of the Texas Death Penalty and the Constitution||2005|
|Whittier College School of Law||Law||JD - Juris Doctor||1995|
|University of Southern California||Business Finance||BS - Bachelor of Science||1992|
|Marshall School of Business||Fundamentals of Business Law||2010|
|Harvard-USC Business Growth Conference||Emerging Trends in the Automotive Industry||2010|
|USC Marshall School of Business||Business Law||2009|
|Marshall School of Business||Fundamentals of Business Law||2009|