Skip to main content

Michael J. Terhar

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Aviation & Aerospace Attorney in Pasadena, CA

Cunningham Swaim, LLP
2 North Lake Avenue, Suite 550
Pasadena, CA 91101
Phone: 626-765-3000
Fax: 626-765-3030
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2006 - 2023
Licensed in California Since: 1979
Practice Areas: Aviation and Aerospace, Personal Injury - Products: Defense, Civil Litigation: Defense
Attorney Profile

Attorney Michael J. Terhar is a partner at Cunningham Swaim, LLP, in Pasadena, California. Mr. Terhar handles many types of complex civil litigation matters in the area of personal injury and wrongful death defense. He is experienced in matters of aviation accidents, premises liability, product liability and wrongful death. He also handles general liability matters such as discrimination.

Mr. Terhar has been licensed to practice law in California since 1979 and is admitted before all California state courts. He is also licensed before the U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Central, Southern and Eastern Districts of California, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington and the Supreme Court of the United States.

Over the course of his career, Mr. Terhar has been involved in many significant cases. He has represented individuals as well as aircraft manufacturers, airlines, airports, aviation-related businesses and major companies and producers in the entertainment industry. He is AV Preeminent peer-review rated,* the highest rating, through Martindale-Hubbell because of his high-quality work and ethics.

Outside of the office, Mr. Terhar enjoys being actively engaged in his legal and professional communities. He is a member of the Association of Southern California Defense Counsel, the State Bar of California, the American Bar Association and the Defense Research Institute. He is also a founding fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.

Mr. Terhar has received community service awards from the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles and the North Valley YMCA. He has served as a volunteer settlement officer and arbitrator for the Los Angeles Superior Court since 1994. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington and earned his law degree from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles.

*AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license 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 Rating™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

Practice Areas
  • 60%Aviation and Aerospace
  • 30%Personal Injury - Products: Defense
  • 10%Civil Litigation: Defense


18 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2006 - 2023

About Michael J. Terhar

First Admitted: 1979, California

Professional Webpage:

Representative Clients

  • Allianz Aviation Managers LLC, AIG Aerospace, Markel Insurance Company, Starr Adjustment Services, Inc. and Werner Co.


  • Lewis Operating Corp. v. Superior Court. (2011) 200 Cal.App.4th 940, 132 Cal.Rptr.3rd 849
  • Martin ex rel. Heckman v. Midwest Express Holdings, Inc. (2009) 555 F.3rd 806
  • PT Airfast Services, Indonesia v. Superior Court (1983) 139 Cal.App.3rd 162, 188 Cal.Rptr. 628
  • Pesses v Superior Court (1980) 107 Cal.App.3rd 117, 165 Cal.Rptr. 680


  • North Valley Family YMCA Lifetime Achievement Award, 2011
  • AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell
  • North Valley Family YMCA Volunteer of the Year, 2007
  • Named a Southern California Super Lawyer by Thompson Reuters from 2006-Present

Pro bono/Community Service

  • AYSO Volunteer Soccer Referee
  • North Valley Family YMCA Board Chairman, 2005-2008
  • Metropolitan YMCA of Los Angeles Golden Book of Distinguished Service 2011
  • Volunteer arbitrator and settlement officer for the Los Angeles Superior Court since 1994

Scholarly Lectures/Writings

  • Guest speaker at the annual seminar of the Association of Southern California Defense Counsel on Use and Abuse of Expert Witnesses

Bar/Professional Activity

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • Defense Research Institute (Product Liability Committee and Sports Law Special Litigation Group)
  • U.S. District Courts for the Eastern Districts of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington
  • American Bar Association (Litigation, Law Practice Management, and Air and Space Law Divisions)
  • Litigation Counsel of America (Founding Fellow)
  • U.S. District Courts for the Central Districts of California
  • U.S. District Courts for the Southern Districts of California
  • State Bar of California
  • Association of Southern California Defense Counsel
  • California
  • U.S. District Courts for the Northern Districts of California

Educational Background

  • Loyola Law School of Los Angeles, J.D., 1979
  • University of Washington, B.A., Political Science, 1975

Industry Groups

  • American Bar Association
  • Association Of Southern California Defense Counsel
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Litigation Counsel Of America
Show More
Office Location for Michael J. Terhar

2 North Lake Avenue
Suite 550
Pasadena, CA 91101

Phone: 626-765-3000

Fax: 626-765-3030

Last Updated: 5/15/2022

Page Generated: 0.42421007156372 sec