Timothy Cohelan was named a “California Lawyer of the Year” by California Lawyer Magazine (Clay Award) in 1996. As the author of Cohelan On California Class Actions (Thompson-West 1997-2020 ), Cohelan is often consulted regarding class action practice by other lawyers. Cohelan Khoury & Singer lawyers help update the book each year identifying and explaining recent California class action developments. Mr. Cohelan has been AV rated since 1990 and is currently rated AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5 on Martindale-Hubbell's® Peer Review Ratings. Mr. Cohelan was selected to Southern California/San Diego Super Lawyers for the years 2012-2019. Over 45 years of active practice Tim has had significant trial and arbitration experience.
Son of the late Jeffrey Cohelan, former California Congressman, Tim graduated from the University of Arizona in 1967, after which he completed U.S. Naval Officer Candidate School. Cohelan thereafter served on active duty as an officer in the U.S. Navy from 1968 to 1971, including Vietnam service.
Tim graduated from California Western School of Law, where served as a law review editor in 1974. Following admission to the California Bar., he served as a Field representative for one of California’s United States Senators until 1976. After leaving the Senate staff, Tim, ran for the California State Assembly from a San Diego district, narrowly missing the election in November 1976.
Tim was appointed to the San Diego Regional Coastal Commission by the Speaker of the California State Assembly and later elected Chairman by his fellow commissioners. Tim’s Chairmanship continued until regional commissions were legislatively merged into the structure of the State Commission in June 1981. During this critical time period the developmental pressures following the passage of proposition 20 in 1972, the California Coastal Act’s legislative successor of 1976, required a balance of environmental concerns with property right’s during individual applicant permitting, as well as land use issues raised by local governments, processing their “Local Coastal Programs”. The Regional Commissions often highly charged weekly meetings required the Chairman to fairly and respectfully attempt to reconcile the often divergent opinions of the other 11 commissioners.
From 1982 to 2006 Cohelan served the San Diego Superior Court as a Judge Pro Tem, hearing and ruling on hundreds of matters during his service.
An advocate for the homeless, Cohelan received San Diego County Bar Association honors for community service in connection with the prosecution, with the San Diego Volunteer lawyer program, of an important class action case, impacting homeless shelter location.
A long-serving member of the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Board of Directors, Tim served as SDVLP President / Chair from 2015-2018.
Cohelan is admitted to practice law in California and in the District of Columbia. An experienced civil trial litigator, Cohelan has served as a former member of the Board of Governors of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers for San Diego County, the American Bar Association, the Consumer Attorneys of California, and the San Diego County Bar Association. His main areas of practice include class actions, civil and anti-trust cases including trial of such matters.
- San Diego Coast Regional Commission – Chairman 1978 to 1981
- San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program – 1994 to Present
- San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program, Secretary 2013-2014
- San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program, President / Chair 2015-2018
- Judge Pro Tem of San Diego Municipal and Superior Courts 1982-2006
Accolades & Achievements
- California Lawyer of the Year - California Lawyer Magazine, 1996
- Honors for community service - San Diego County Bar Association, 1995
California State Bar License
- American Bar Association
- Consumer Attorneys of California
- San Diego County Bar Association
- Board of Governors of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers for San Diego County