• John T. Van Geffen, Esq.




    John T. Van Geffen represents clients in a wide spectrum of legal areas including commercial and business transactions, litigation and regulatory compliance. His clients include startups, land developers, insurance carriers, airlines and charter companies, management companies, claims petitioners and high net-worth individuals.

    John has extensive experience helping entrepreneurs start new businesses, everything from assisting in entity formations to designing ownership structures, capital investments, setting up operating accounts and putting in place equity incentive plans to attract and retain the best available personnel for positions of high responsibility.

    John is a highly active member of the transportation community. He is a trustee on the Board of Directors for the Oakland Aviation Museum. He is the Western-Pacific Regional Vice President of the International Air & Transportation Safety Bar Association (previously the National Transportation Safety Board Bar Association). Additionally, he is a panel attorney with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s legal services plan and an active member of both the International Society of Air Safety Investigators and the Northern California Business Aviation Association.

    John addresses all issues relating to aviation law, including liabilities and obligations arising out of the manufacture, ownership, maintenance and use of aircraft; accident litigation; coverage afforded by insurance policies; and legal issues arising from the growing commercialization of space.

    Specialties: Litigation, Commercial Transactions, NDA's, Purchasing, Leasing, Trusts, Business Entity Formation, Aviation Law, Insurance Coverage, Trademark/Copyright licensing, Liens, Contract Negotiation, Operating Agreements, Regulatory Compliance, Equity Incentive Plans, Stock Options, and Emergency Response Plans.


  • Publications and Press

    Below are links to various projects and features.

    Legal Blog Posts

    Article: What You Need to Know About Civil Liability Under PRIA.

    By: John T. Van Geffen





    The East Bay Times endorses John T. Van Geffen for Emeryville City Council


    League of Women Voters - Candidate Forum

    (Video of the Debate)



    Evilleye Candidate Questionnaire


    Firm Bio


    John T. Van Geffen's biography page at the firm Michael L. Dworkin and Associates.

    LinkedIn Page


    Legal Blog Posts








    The Avialex Law Group, LLP


    January 2018 - Present


    John T. Van Geffen has been practicing law, negotiating business transactions and litigating on behalf of his clients since 2006. John is admitted to practice before the California Supreme Court, U.S District Court for the Central District of California, the United States Court of Federal Claims, the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit and has appeared on behalf of clients in numerous superior courts throughout California.

    International Air and Transportation Safety Bar Association

    International Aviation Moot Court Director

    Aug 2018 - Present


    Started in 2018 with an anticipated 2020 inaugural competition start date, IATSBA is creating an aviation moot court dedicated to helping to empower the next generation of aviation attorneys.


    Western-Pacific Regional Vice President 

    Jan 2012 – Present


    Founded in 1984, the IATS Bar Association is comprised of attorneys that practice before the United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the Department of Transportation (DOT). While the main focus of the group is the representation of pilots and aviation businesses in regulatory, certification, and enforcement actions, many members practice in other areas of the law as well, such as air crash litigation, aviation insurance defense, taxation, and business law.


    Western-Pacific Regional Vice President and Newsletter Editor-in-Chief 

    Jan 2010 – Dec 2011


    Production of quarterly Newsletter for Bar Association catering to attorneys who practice in regulatory enforcement (transportation).



    Oakland Aviation Museum

    Board of Trustees 

    Aug 2011 – Present


    The Oakland Aviation Museum was founded in 1981 as a non-profit organization under IRS Code 501 C (3) under the name of Western Aerospace Museum.  The museum's first home was a small room at Hangar 5 at Oakland International Airport's historic North Field.  In 1988, the Museum was granted use of the historic Boeing School of Aeronautics hangar built in 1939.   The hangar serves as the primary facility of the Museum, providing indoor and outdoor exhibition space, an education room, a History Flicks room, a research library and aircraft restoration work areas. In 2007, Western Aerospace Museum was renamed Oakland Aviation Museum with the historical mission refocused on the important legacy of flight at North Field and the surrounding area.

    Michael L. Dworkin and Associates

    Associate Attorney 

    2007 – 2018


    Michael L. Dworkin and Associates is a legal services provider specializing in
    civil litigation, commercial transactions and aviation law. Based in San Francisco, we provide a wide range of legal services to airlines, insurance carriers, commercial operators, management companies, developers, fixed-base operators, manufactures, MRO facilities, and other business and high net-worth individuals who own and operate aircraft.

    Because aviation frequently involves national and international legal issues, the firm routinely represent clients across the United States and throughout the world, including Africa, Asia, E.U., and the Middle East.

    Our firm has been rated among the Top 100 Aviation Law Firms by the International Air Transport Association (IATA)’s Aviation Counsel, and been given the highest “A-V” ratings by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, the highest rating given by the publication.

    As a small firm, we are very flexible. We pride ourselves in the high quality of our work, in making ourselves available to and being responsive to our clients and in the results that we achieve on their behalf.

    Office: 415.421.2500
    Facsimile: 415.421.2560
    Email: John@Avialex.com


    Work product examples:

    - In-depth knowledge of insurance coverage, representing both plaintiffs and insurance defense. In addition to standard litigation experience (discovery, law and motion), defense of FAA, DOT and TSA Enforcement Actions involving investigation response, informal hearings, and appeals before the NTSB.

    - Asset management experience includes representation in the acquisition and disposition (sales/leasing/financing) of various business assets with a combined value exceeding 100 million ($US). Asset protection includes lien enforcement, prosecution and defense of writs of possession and slander of title actions. Trust Formations to register Foreign-Owned aircraft in U.S.

    - Company risk management experience includes the design and implementation of Emergency Response Plans for scheduled service providers.

    - Business formation experience includes drafting and negotiating management agreements, operating agreements, fractional ownership, though-the-fence agreements, and stock option plans. International consulting and market analysis experience--e.g. African MRO facility creation; UAV/Drone importers/manufacturers; Bay Area "Startups"; and experimental aircraft certification.

    EZ Tax Credits, LLC

    Managing Member and Director of Business Development 

    2009 – Oct 2013


    EZ Tax Credits, LLC helped California businesses located in EZs to take advantage of the state tax hiring credit program. We would conduct in-house reviews of employee and company information; process and file vouchers with local agencies; prepare Enterprise Zone Applications and Forms; and compute the Hiring Tax Credit amount. Upon providing our services, the employer was prepared with all the necessary documentation to report the hiring tax credit on their tax returns.

    "It’s cheap, it’s EZ and there is No Upfront Fee!"

    (NOTE: Unfortunately, Governor Brown passed legislation effectively eliminating the credit in 2013.)

    Hanna Brophy

    Associate Attorney 

    Jan 2007 – Jun 2007


    Specialized in workers' compensation defense and employment-related litigation .

    Hanna & Brophy has represented insurance companies, permissibly self-insured employers and governmental entities in all litigation before the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board of the State of California.

    Biggam Lawrence P Biggam Christensen & Minsloff

    Santa Cruz Public Defenders Office

    Certified Law Clerk -

    May 2006 – Dec 2006


    As a Certified Law Clerk I researched and drafted motions and assisted attorneys in trial. As a certified law clerk I provided supervised representation during arraignments.


    Plans are nothing; planning is everything. 



    Emergency Response Planning

    Commercial Litigation and Contract Negotiation

    Corporate Governance

    Asset Management

    Regulatory Analysis

    Non-Profit Trustee

    Tech Start-ups



    Santa Clara University School of Law

    Juris Doctorate Law 2003 - 2006


    International Law Concentration. Program stressing the growth of business in International Markets. Studied in Singapore and interned



    -Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, President
    -Certified Law Clerk, Santa Cruz Public Defenders Office
    -Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competitor, Placed 1st Written, 3rd Oral.
    -ABA Negotiation Competitor, Placed 4th

    Santa Clara Computer & High Tech Law Journal

    Technical Editor

     2005 - 2006




    B.A Advertising and Public Relations 1999 - 2003


    Minor: Business. 


    Semester at Sea

     2001 - 2001



    St. Mary's

     1995 - 1999





    Dan McCabe

    Portfolio Analysis Manager at GSK

    John provided legal advise during a key development period of ImageMC, Inc. His insight was invaluable; his fervor was unmatched; and his style: unmistakable.

    Nicholas Vrabel

    FAA Certified Airline Mechanic

    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. VanGeffen 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.



    San Francisco Bay Area


  • Admissions

    John has been admitted to practice in the following Courts: 

    U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit

    February 2016

    Federal Court of Claims

    November 2011

    United States District Court, Central District of California

    September 2007

    Supreme Court of the State of California

    December 2006

    Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California

    December 2016

  • Projects / Accomplishments / Publications

    The following are a few select exploits of John's

    The four modules in this MOOC cover a variety of aspects of the AAI process, from the initial field investigation to publication of the final accident report. Emphasis is placed on human factors and survival investigative techniques and the application of accident investigation findings in industry and research. A critical analysis of selected aircraft accidents and an evaluation of causal factors are addressed.

    From the UpCounsel.Com Blog: When a business wants to grow it usually starts to look at strategic partnerships to bring in outside expertise, whether in the form of contractors, third-party vendors or R&D partnerships. Once such discussions begin, it is extremely important to have a plan in place for protecting each business’s confidential proprietary information. This information can include almost anything—e.g., IP, patents, trademarks, financial information, designs, client lists, business strategies or concepts for future projects. The decision to grow a business beyond its core competencies usually materializes first in the form of a Non-Disclosure Agreement or NDA. Because the parties to an NDA do not yet know exactly how the ultimate affiliation will function or what form it will take, the NDA allows limited usage of proprietary information without the risk of transferring or limiting the company’s ownership rights in such data. In other words, the NDA sets the stage for later formal… UpCounsel Blog

    From the UpCounsel.Com blog: The news is full of stories about drones. For even the most seasoned aviation lawyer, the subject of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) is something that is completely foreign. Whether because of the bad press or the obvious market waiting to be opened at home, nearly everyone is rushing to get some sort of legal framework in place for when the FAA ultimately allows commercial UAVs to be operated across the National Airspace System...Upcounsel Blog