Michael Yoder is a first-chair trial lawyer who has advocated for clients in some of the most consequential litigation in America.
Across a career that spans four decades, Mike has amassed a long record of trial wins and arbitration victories for companies that include a Fortune 50 pharmaceutical manufacturer, a world-leading electronics brand, a major surfwear business, a top US law firm, and a global insurer. He has defeated claims of public nuisance, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of licensing and royalty agreements, legal malpractice, and insurance bad faith, while also successfully bringing claims for clients seeking to vindicate their trademark, contractual, and international export rights.
In what The New York Times has called “one of the most complicated and gargantuan legal battles in American history,” Mike spearheaded Johnson & Johnson’s trial defense against four California municipalities seeking more than $50 billion to “abate” the opioids crisis. The four-month bench trial, which concluded with Mike’s closing argument, resulted in a complete defense verdict for J&J—and delivered the pharmaceutical industry’s first win against government attempts to expand the reach of public-nuisance laws. In recognizing Mike’s achievement, AmLaw noted that defense wins “don’t get much bigger.”
Mike’s courtroom skill and commitment to the highest standards of trial advocacy have earned him entry to the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers. He has been listed in Best Lawyers® since 2006, and he has twice been honored by Best Lawyers® as “Lawyer of the Year” for Orange County Bet-the-Company Litigation. Mike was also named to the Orange County Business Journal’s 2022 “OC 500 Directory of Influence” list, and he has been recognized consistently as one of Orange County’s “Top 50 Lawyers” in annual surveys.
Throughout his career, Mike has played a prominent role in Orange County’s legal community, using his position to urge lawyers to take on responsibilities as leaders, volunteers, and mentors. He has served as president of the Orange County Bar Association, among numerous other positions for bar and civic organizations. Mike has also taught evidence as an adjunct professor at UC Irvine’s School of Law.