Skip to main content

John Tobin Van Geffen

Aviation Attorney at San Francisco, CA

5.0   5 reviews
  • Licensed for 17 years
    State CA
    Acquired 2006
    Active No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About John

Learn John’s areas of practice.

Practice areas
  1. Aviation
    Aviation Litigation; Acquisitions & Disposition; Maintenance Repair; Airport matters; 'through-the-fence" agreements; Financing Leasing; Environmental Impact Studies; Insurance; Tax; Registration; Defense of FAA enforcement actions; HAZMAT violations and certificate actions against carriers, MROs, pilots and mechanics. Proprietary business data protections; trademarks, copyrights and patent infringement; bankruptcy proceedings.

    18 years, 70 cases

  2. Business

    13 years

  3. Commercial real estate

  4. Litigation

    13 years

  5. Employment and labor

    13 years

I am a partner at the Avialex Law Group, LLP, specializing in business litigation, commercial transactions and regulatory compliance in the transportation industry.

While the firm generally handles matters within the field of aviation, our clients’ needs, and thus my practice, is extremely broad and I have extensive experience in a myriad of areas including, but not limited to, corporate governance, intellectual property, product development, issues surrounding start-ups, asset protection and lien prosecution, commercial transactions involving multimillion-dollar products and related service plans, and the creation and implementation of corporate Emergency Response Plans.  

As for me personally, I used to play guitar, practice martial arts and enjoy City league sports. I read two science fiction books a month, ride anything shaped like a board, enjoy the art of cooking and love boardgames. I've traveled six continents, met Fidel Castro, repeatedly summit Half Dome in Yosemite, jumped out of a perfectly good plane, dived with Great White sharks in South Africa and was mugged in India, twice.

Even with all the things I've done, being a good husband and father is still my greatest accomplishment.

Photos and videos


Avialex Law Group, LLP
465 California St Ste 210
San Francisco, CA, 94104

Aviation lawyers nearby


5.0 / 5.0
  5 customer reviews
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Posted by anonymous | September 23, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Thorough AND efficient
John is an expert well beyond aviation law. He helped me set up my LLC and has been a constant source of insight and expertise on other legal matters. I've referred many people to him and will continue to do so moving forward.
Posted by Robert | September 19, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Consistently Achieved Desired Results
I hired Mr Van Geffen for services in several areas of need. Over time, my expectations were met or exceeded by both the results and his performance. Most of that work involved favorable lease negotiations and successful contract disputes. More recently, his litigation strategy proved to appropriately patient, though I disagreed with it early in the process. I'm just glad it worked out. Overall, I was completely satisfied with the results and would recommend him.
Read less
Posted by Adam | September 19, 2019
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Outstanding, Clear Communication, Made Life Easier
I worked with John on a number of projects, mostly some consulting around setting up my business. John was clear about how different filings would impact my day-to-day and advised me on setup and execution of my LLC. He also went above and beyond in reviewing contracts I had with a number of media partners and made the process of operationalizing my consulting practice very easy. Would absolutely recommend and plan on working with him regularly going forward.
Read less
Posted by anonymous | June 5, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
When specialized aviation experience is needed look no further
I have been working with Mr. Van Geffen on a very specific aviation employment issue for over a year now. As a licensed aircraft mechanic my number one priority was to find an attorney who had the experience to understand not just employment law but the intricacies of aviation law as well. Those attorneys are hard to come by. Mr. Van Geffen has exceeded my expectation of professionalism and knowledge. He has made me feel comfortable throughout the entire case. Not more than a few weeks would pass that he would update me on something, or he would just check in to make sure nothing had changed. Working in a multijurisdictional environment has been confusing for someone without any law experience, but Mr Van Geffen has always had an answer to my question and knew exactly how to plot our course of action. I would not hesitate to recommend him to anyone, and I will always consult with him on aviation issues in the future.
Read less
Posted by Dan | November 23, 2011
Priceless guidance on small business liability!
Mr. Van Geffen assisted me in the operational overhaul of my small web design firm in 2010, ImageMC, Inc. Having incorporated nearly 10 years ago and seeing changes both to the industry and my business model as a result, I felt that there were new risks; I needed experienced guidance on how to proceed in regards to my corporate setup, appropriate legal representation, client contracts and general business operations. Mr. Van Geffen was an invaluable asset in defining our new course, and I *highly* recommend him for any legal consult.
Read less


  • Free Consultation 30 minutes
  • Hourly Rates $ 250-500 per hour
  • Contingency 15%-40%
  • Retainer Sometimes
Payment methods
Cash, Check, Credit Card


AVVO RATING 9.0 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Partner
  • Avialex Law Group, LLP
  • 2018 - Present
  • Associate
  • Michael L. Dworkin and Associates
  • 2007 - 2018
  • Associate Attorney
  • Hanna & Brophy
  • 2006 - 2007
  • Certified Law Clerk
  • Santa Clara Public Defender's Office
  • 2005 - 2005
View all work experience


  • Santa Clara Univ SOL
  • law
  • 2006
  • Penn State Univ
  • BA - Bachelor of Arts
  • 2003

Sample of Legal Cases

  • Bosnian Wand Airlines v. LLFC Aircraft Fund I, LLC, et al
  • Obtained a judgment against Defendant
  • Commissions Import Export S.A. v. Republic of the Congo
  • Case removed to different District Court.
  • Pepper NA, Inc. v. Netpartnering Limited, et al.
  • Obtained an $860,000 verdict against Defendant
View all legal cases


  • International Air Transportation Safety Bar Association
  • International Aviation Moot Court Director & Subcommittee Chair
  • 2018 - Present
  • Emery Unified School Dist. Citizen Oversight Committee (Parcel Tax)
  • Chair
  • 2017 - Present
  • Oakland Aviation Museum
  • Board Member
  • 2011 - Present
  • International Air & Transportation Safety Bar Association
  • Western-Pacific Regional Vice President
  • 2010 - Present
  • The International Society of Air Safety Investigators (ISASI)
  • Affiliate Member
  • 2009 - Present
  • National Transportation Safety Board Bar Association
  • Newsletter Editor-in-Chief
  • 2008 - 2009
  • Santa Clara High Tech Law Journal
  • Technical Editor
  • 2005 - 2006
  • Phi Alpha Delta
  • Justice (Chapter President)
  • 2005 - 2006
  • Santa Clara School of Law
  • Emory Law Scholar
  • 2003 - 2006
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English

Honors and Awards

  • Best Brief
  • Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition
  • 2006

Speaking Engagements

  • San Francisco Bar Association
  • Drafting and Implementing Emergency Response Plans for Aircraft Disasters
  • 2014
  • Luncheon keynote speaker.
  • The Dos and Don’ts of Responding to FAA Enforcement Actions
  • 2012
  • AOPA - Pilot Safety Seminar
  • Defending against FAA enforcement actions
  • 2007
View all speaking engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (3)
Given (1)
Endorse John
Litigation Attorney | Jun 05
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"Mr. Van Geffen is a superb attorney. He is a true advocate for his clients. I would have no hesitation recommending clients to him."
Aviation Attorney | Sep 26
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Excellent attorney. I recommend his services to anyone in need."
Unknown Attorney | Aug 08
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Top-notch attorney. Highly respected in the legal community."
Criminal defense