About Us

Cunningham & McLean (C&M) combine over 50 years of legal experience representing injured workers throughout the State of California with their primary practice in San Diego California. C&M’s sound legal advise and aggressive representation are the hallmarks to their successful practice. With hundreds of trials and extensive litigation experience C&M bring a wealth of knowledge and a track record of significant success to every case they handle. Labor Unions and Associations throughout the State have sought their representation for their members. From one of the largest Peace Officers Unions in the State, the Professional Peace Officers Association ( Los Angeles ) to the one of the most respected Associations in the nation, the San Diego Firefighters Association Local 145 , many Unions and Association trust C&M to deliver great results for their members in their time of need. In addition C&M provide educational assistance and guidance to Association Boards to help them better understand the complexities of Workers Compensation and Disability Laws. This full service firm also represents members in disability retirement claims and related labor matters.

With offices in San Diego and Los Angeles C&M stands ready to offer their assistance whenever, and wherever, the need exists.

Our Lawyers

James J. Cunningham

Bar Number 128974

Attorney Jim Cunningham, has been protecting the rights of public employees and their families in California since 1987.  Born in New York City, he is the son, grandson and great-grandson of New York City Firefighters. His father, Jim Cunningham was a Tillerman on Ladder 2 Midtown Manhattan, along with his mother, who worked with special needs students, instilled in him early on that work in the service of others is the noblest calling a person can have.  Jim’s father, who was seriously injured on the job during a three-alarm fire, was forced to retire and raise his family of six partially on a firefighter’s pension. That set in motion one of Jim’s life missions to help firefighters, public employees and their families in times of need.

After Jim graduated from the University of South Florida, with a Bachelors degree in criminal justice, he came to San Diego to go to law school to pursue his goal of making sure those in public service would be protected and provided the best possible legal service.  After graduating from law school, Jim became a member of the California Bar.  He joined the firm of Georgiou and Tosdal, a prominent labor firm in San Diego representing Firefighters, Deputy Sheriff and other public employee unions throughout Southern California. During that time, Jim served as co-chair of the San Diego County Bar Association Workers Compensation section, becoming a State Certified Specialist, authoring a number of publications on Workers Compensation Law, and becoming a statewide lecturer on Workers’ Compensation and related labor issues.

Jim went on to form his own firm, Law Offices of James J. Cunningham expanding his representation of Public Safety employees throughout the State.

He has represented clients before the California Supreme Court, the United States Department of Labor in Washington, D.C. California Appellate Courts, California Superior Courts, State Workers Compensation Appeals Boards, Retirement Boards and Civil Service Commissions throughout California.

Over the past 15 years Jim has been retained as Executive Director and General Counsel for some of the largest Public Safety and Public Emplee Associations in the State negotiating labor contracts, litigating grievances and labor issues.  Jim has litigated hundreds of disciplinary appeals.  He lectured and provided training to Boards of Directors throughout Southern California.

Jim is one of the founding partners with Lisa McLeaan, of one of San Diego’s premier workers compensation firms, Cunningham & McLean, A.P.C.

Jim is also an avid volunteer for various charities having served ten years on the Board of Directors for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society (“LLS”) San Diego/Hawaii Chapter, with one year as its Chair. Since 1996, Jim has participated in several fundraising events for LLS, including running eleven marathons with the Team in Training running team, and two century rides with the Team in Training cycling team. Jim has worked as a volunteer emcee and auctioneer for charities throughout California, including the San Diego Burn Institute, San Diego Rady’s Children’s Hospital, the Los Angeles Emerald Society, St. Jude’s Hospital, the Museum of Making Music, numerous veteran groups and other community non-profits such as the Elk’s and Kiwanis Clubs.

Jim served as both Councilman and Deputy Mayor for the City of Poway since being first elected in 2008. Jim was selected to be on the Board of the Metropolitan Transit System, as member of its Executive Board, Chair of the Public Safety Committee and member of the MTS Budget and Audit committee. Jim also acted as Chair of the San Dieguito River Park Board of Directors where he was recognized for being the first Chair to have ever hiked the seventy-five mile Coast to Crest trail from Julian to Del Mar.

Lisa G. McLean

State Certified Workers' Compensation Specialist.
Bar Number 199045

Lisa G. McLean is a founding Partner in the law firm of Cunningham & McLean, A.P.C.  During her more than two decades of legal practice, Ms. McLean has had great success in representing a wide variety of clients, including firefighters, police officers, teachers, county and city employees. She works tirelessly balancing an empathetic ear and an aggressive case handling approach on behalf of injured workers.

Lisa, who was raised in Tucson, AZ,  earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley and her Juris Doctorate from the University of San Diego.  Lisa was admitted to practice in the State of California and the United States District Court, Southern District of California in 1998.

In addition, Lisa meets regularly with union and association Board members to educate and train them on the intricacies of Workers’ Compensation and labor laws. She trains Association Boards about the full range of benefits to which workers are entitled should they be injured on the job.

Lisa is a member of the California Applicant’s Attorney Association.  She is a member of the State and San Diego County Bar Associations.  She is a Board Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist for over 10 years. She has served as a Judge Pro-Tem of the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board in San Diego.


Workers Compensation Injury Claims
Death and Disability Retirement Claims
Labor and Employment Law
Corporate and Board Governance Law

Our Clients

Cunningham & McLean represent clients from many varied industries and businesses as well as referrals from past clients , law firms and professionals who know of C&M's reputation.The following represent some of the Unions and Associations that count on C&M to provide their members with the best possible representation in their times of need:

• San Diego Firefighters Association Local 145
• San Diego Firefighters Relief Association
• Oceanside Firefighters Association
• San Bernardino Sheriffs Association (SEBA)

• Vista Firefighters Association
• Association of San Diego County Employees
• San Diego County Public Defenders Association
• San Diego City Deputy City Attorney’s Association

• Carlsbad City Employees Association
• San Diego County Court Employees Association
• Los Angeles Professional Peace Officers Association