Transport: aviation and air travel - litigation and regulation in United States

Arnold & Porter

Arnold & Porter has a strong track record in high-stakes and sensitive litigation, and its workflow in this area reflects the firm’s wider expertise in regulatory matters of all kinds, including those affecting the aviation and aerospace industries. The group has an established reputation as a go-to firm for crisis incidents, including recent litigation resulting from the Covid-19 outbreak. The team is co-led by Kenneth Chernof and James Herschlein from the Washington DC office. In Houston, Christopher Odell represents leading aviation companies in high-profile accident litigation and related arbitral proceedings; Odell led the defense of Airbus against over 100 personal injury claims, which related to the March 2015 crash landing of an Air Canada A320 aircraft. Also in Houston, Thad Dameris represents clients in arbitrations (and jury and non-jury trials) involving complex commercial disputes and transnational litigation. David Weiner in Washington DC has significant experience in class actions and mass actions, while Houston-based Amanda Thomson is a standout senior associate in the team.

Practice head(s):

Kenneth Chernof; James Herschlein; Christopher Odell

Other key lawyers:

Thad Dameris; David Weiner; Amanda Thomson

Key clients

Airbus Group S.E.

Airbus Americas Inc.

Airbus S.A.S.

Airbus Military & Space NL

Airbus Ventures Equity Partner

Airbus Helicopters S.A.S.

Airbus Limited UK Ltd.

Airbus Operations GmbH



Work highlights

  • Defending Airbus against 100-plus personal injury claims in a class action and several opt-out personal injury actions, which relate to the March 2015 crash landing of an Air Canada A320 aircraft.
  • Representing Airbus in several cabin air contamination lawsuits filed across the US.
  • Represented Airbus and its affiliates in personal injury litigation brought by a passenger and her family members against multiple defendants, which concerned an incident on a Spirit Airlines flight.

Condon & Forsyth LLP

A go-to firm for aviation disputes, Condon & Forsyth LLP's aviation and aerospace team currently acts as outside counsel to over forty air carriers and aviation manufacturers. It is best known for its work in commercial airline accident investigations and litigation. Christopher Christensen represented Aeroflot (as US counsel) in the defense of claims arising out of the 2019 Aeroflot Flight 1492 accident at Russia's Sheremetyevo Airport; Bartholomew Banino handled all claims and litigation arising out of the crash of an aircraft in Tegucigalpa (Honduras); and John Maggio heads the firm’s Miami office, which serves as a gateway to the firm’s longstanding Latin American and Caribbean clients. Also highly rated are Anthony Battista, who acts in complex litigation arising from consumer and commercial transactions; and Los Angeles office head Scott Cunningham, who regularly acts as lead counsel in cases involving wrongful death and personal injury. Allison Surcouf and Mary Dow are recommended at the more junior level of the partnership. All attorneys are based in New York unless otherwise stated.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Christensen; Bartholomew Banino; John Maggio

Other key lawyers:

Scott Cunningham; Anthony Battista; Allison Surcouf; Stephen Stegich; Katherine Posner; Jane Sigda; Jonathan DeMay; David Harrington; Diana Gurfel Shapiro; Allison Surcouf; Mary Dow; Evan Kwarta; Andrew Johnson

Key clients

Advent Aircraft Systems, Inc.

Aer Lingus


Aerolineas Damojh, S.A. de C.V. (d/b/a Global Air)

Aerovías de México, S.A. de C.V. (d/b/a Aeromexico)

Air Charter Service

Air Lease Corporation



Air India

Air New Zealand

Airparts Company, Inc.

AJ Gallagher

Alaska Airlines


All Nippon Airways

American Airlines

Aon Risk Services

Aruba Airlines

Asiana Airlines



BAE Systems Plc

Bangkok Airways

British Airways Plc

Caribbean Airlines

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd.

Cebu Pacific Air, Inc.

China Airlines

Compañía Panameña de Aviación, S.A. (d/b/a Copa Airlines)

Croatia Airlines Ltd.

Dassault Falcon Jet

Delta Air Lines

Duncan Aviation

Eaton Corporation plc

Embraer Executive Aircraft

Embraer Maintenance Services

Embraer S.A.

Etihad Airways

F&E Aircraft Maintenance

Fly 7 Executive Aviation SA

Frontier Airlines

GE Aviation

Global Aerospace

Global SuperTanker Services, LLC


International Underwriting Association

Japan Airlines Co., Ltd.

Kalitta Air

Kenya Airways Ltd.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (aka Koninklijke Luchtvaart

Maatschappij N.V.)

Kuwait Airways

LATAM Airlines

Lion Air

LOT Polish Airlines (aka Polskie Linie Lotnicze LOT S.A.)

Lufthansa German Airlines (aka Deutsche Lufthansa AG)

Marsh Aviation

Martinair Holland N.V.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.

Nature Air


Nippon Cargo Airlines

Northrop Grumman

Pakistan International Airlines

Pegasus Air

Philippine Airlines

Piiq Risk Partners

Pilatus Aircraft Ltd.

PrimeFlight Aviation Services

Qantas Airways

Royal Air Maroc

Royal Jordanian Airlines

Saudia (formerly known as Saudi Arabian Airlines)

Scandinavian Airlines System

Servotronics, Inc.

Singapore Airlines

Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance

South African Airways

Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA)

Spirit Airlines

Starlux Airlines

ST Aerospace Engineering

Sun Country Airlines


TAP Air Portugal

Tokyo Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Ltd.

Underwriters at Lloyd’s of London

United Airlines

US-Bangla Airlines

Volaris (aka Concesionaria Vuela Compañía de Aviación,

S.A.B. de C.V.)

Willis Towers Watson

Yaborã Indústria Aeronáutica S.A.

Cozen O'Connor

Advising clients on the full range of aviation-related regulatory licensing and compliance issues, Cozen O'Connor serves as primary regulatory counsel to aviation and aerospace clients around the world. The 'brilliant, thorough, thoughtful and strategicDavid Heffernan leads the practice alongside Jeffrey Lawrence; Heffernan has represented airline clients in numerous Department of Transportation (DOT) antitrust immunity proceedings and in establishing airline alliances and joint ventures; and Lawrence's broad practice includes transportation regulation. Also highly regarded are Mark Atwood, who is regularly involved in aviation industry developments, from airline mergers and the formation of new air carriers to developing federal rules and policies on aircraft safety, security, and airport security; and senior aviation adviser Jonathan Echmalian, who assists with the licensing and compliance requirements of the government agencies that oversee aviation activities in the US. Senior associate Rachel Welford is a former director of security and government affairs for American Airlines.

Practice head(s):

David Heffernan; Jeffrey Lawrence

Other key lawyers:

Mark Atwood; Jonathan Echmalian; Rachel Welford


David Heffernan is brilliant, thorough, thoughtful and strategic.

Key clients

Airlines for America

Alaska Airlines

Lufthansa Group

Emirates Airline

Antonov Airlines

Kalitta Air


Samaritan’s Purse

Air Atlanta Icelandic

Azur Air

Work highlights

  • Advised Alaska Airlines on compliance issues surrounding The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act that included $25bn in financial support for the airline industry.
  • Advising A4A and its individual airline members on efforts to press the DOT/FAA for deregulatory action, which has the potential to change fundamentally how the US airline industry is regulated.
  • Advising A4A and individual US airline members on a pending DOT rulemaking to redefine airlines’ obligations to accommodate service animals (including emotional support animals in the aircraft cabin).

Hogan Lovells US LLP

Hogan Lovells US LLP's 'breadth and depth of aviation expertise makes the firm stand out from other firms'. The aviation practice fields specialists in the operational rules and regulatory regimes concerning both airlines and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Clients also benefit from the team's aviation-focused colleagues in the firm's Brussels, Beijing, Munich, London, Paris, Singapore, and Mexico City offices. Senior counsel Robert Cohn, who 'may have more aviation experience than anyone practicing law in the US', heads the global aviation practice group; and Lisa Ellman is a leading light in the UAS/drone/urban air mobility market. Also key to the practice are senior counsel E (Ted)Tazewell Ellett, who has over 30 years' experience in advising aviation industry clients; and the 'always available and responsive' counsel Patrick Rizzi, who advises on business-critical regulatory, litigation and transactional matters. Matthew Clark is the senior associate to note. Named lawyers are based in Washington DC.

Practice head(s):

Robert Cohn

Other key lawyers:

Lisa Ellman; E (Ted)Tazewell Ellett; Patrick Rizzi; Matthew Clark

Key clients

WestJet Airlines

Delta Airlines

Sun Country Airlines

Frontier Airlines

Commercial Drone Alliance

AiRXOS (Part of GE Aviation)

Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

Airbus SE


Aerion Corporation

Work highlights

  • Jointly representing WestJet, Canada’s second largest airline, and Delta Air Lines, in a joint US Department of Transportation application seeking antitrust immunity for their joint venture and related agreements.
  • Advises Aerion Corporation, a civil supersonic aircraft company, on Federal Aviation Administration airworthiness and noise certification regulatory matters.
  • Assists with implementing the Commercial Drone Alliance’s advocacy strategies (which are aimed at enabling drone technology) and working with the federal government and other stakeholders to facilitate unmanned aircraft systems integration into the National Airspace System.

Clyde & Co LLP

Clyde & Co LLP‘s team provides coast-to-coast coverage for a range of international aviation clients; and, over the last 25 years, it has represented the aviation industry in nearly every major aviation loss. In addition to coverage litigation experience, the practice regularly defends clients’ insureds in both aviation mass disasters and product liability disputes. With over 25 years’ trial and litigation experience in aviation (passenger and cargo), ‘top worldwide aviation liability professional’ Andrew Harakas heads the US aviation law practice. Also recommended is Jeffrey Ellis, a go-to attorney for high-profile matters, who has longstanding experience in representing the aviation industry at trial and appellate level. Harakas and Ellis are based in New York.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Harakas

Other key lawyers:

Jeffrey Ellis; Kevin Sutherland; Christopher Carlsen


Clyde & Co as an international organisation is the premier aviation firm in the world.

Andrew Harakas is a top worldwide aviation liability professional; he has a very practical approach and will partner with the airline or insurer in finding solutions.

Jones Day

Jones Day is rated by clients for its 'professionalism and courtesy' as well as for the strength of its team ,from partner to associate level. The team has represented aviation clients for over 25 years in a wide variety of matters; it recently acted for United Airlines in a lawsuit involving a novel issue arising under the Payroll Support Program of the CARES Act. Leading the firm's worldwide airlines and aviation cross-practice initiative, Pittsburgh-based John Goetz is a licensed pilot who 'contributes a lot, thanks to his knowledge of this industry'; Matthew Papez in Washington DC is a litigation and trial attorney focused on the aviation and aerospace industries; and Detroit-based Stephen Cowen (a former senior counsel in The Boeing Company's law department) was admitted to partnership in January 2021.

Practice head(s):

John Goetz; Matthew Papez; Stephen Cowen

Other key lawyers:

Joshua Fuchs


‘Very helpful in helping summarize the key elements of the case and identifying the substantiating elements found in the discovery portion of the opponent’s material.’

Very talented in converting new engineering observations to legal themes that argue malfeasance.’

The team’s approach was very effective. The firm members shared their work product and theses with the consultants and vice versa, and there was open communication and synergy even though the main consulting team was 3000 miles away. This open communication resulted in clear roles and responsibilities among the team members.’

‘Very unique approaches to analyzing public sector data to support the defendant’s position, with a unique analysis of discovery data.

Great for the firm’s numerous offices around the globe, the depth of its litigation sector and its ability to deal with cases involving multi-jurisdictional implications.

Jones Day and its partners are highly experienced, and can integrate the legal resources of different countries and regions. The firm is highly efficient and always provide useful strategy when facing various cases.

Highly efficient, experienced and accurate – they understand the client’s needs.

Jones Day always handled our work with professionalism and courtesy, and did everything they could to help me through the process.

The partners and associates I worked with were exceptional! They completed an amazing amount of work – I would gladly work with them again.

I was impressed by the team’s efforts to resolve complicated issues. I was also impressed by their knowledge of this unique industry.

Strong skills at working with multicultural organizations.

Our case was expertly managed by John Goetz. He created a method which helped people from different countries understand the Western mentality. He has a fair, honest and dynamic mindset – really difficult to replace a professional like him.

John Goetz is very thoughtful and diligent, as well as being very practical and client minded.

John Goetz contributes a lot, thanks to his knowledge of this industry.

Key clients

Air China Limited

Champion Aerospace, LLC

China Eastern Airlines

FirstEnergy Corp.

Global Medical Response, Inc.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries

Parker Hannifin Corporation

Philippine Airlines

Nixon Peabody LLP

Routinely acting as national litigation counsel for aviation manufacturers, Nixon Peabody LLP is sought out for advice in National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), FAA and foreign accident investigations. It also assists manufacturing, aviation and other transportation clients with regulatory matters and with establishing risk-management and product integrity procedures. New York-based practice head Joseph Ortego handles aviation industry-related litigation, regulatory, and compliance issues. Deputy aviation leader Brian Dalrymple in San Francisco, rated for 'his sharp technical skills and great human touch', has over 30 years' experience in representing corporations, airlines, type certificate holders, parts manufacturer approval holders, drone manufacturers and airports.

Practice head(s):

Joseph Ortego; Brian Dalrymple

Other key lawyers:

Vivian Quinn; Thomas Mealiffe; Tracey Scarpello; Erik Goergen; Domenico Perrella


Brian Dalrymple is rated both for his sharp technical skills and great human touch.

Key clients



Airbus Helicopters

Avions de Transport Regional


MGM, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Secured an unanimous defense verdict for French aircraft company Daher-Socata Aerospace, in relation to the crash of single-engine TBM 850.
  • Defense counsel for Avions de Transport Régional in the investigation and litigation arising from the December 2017 accident of West Wind Aviation’s Flight #280 at Fond-du-Lac, Saskatchewan, Canada.
  • Defense counsel for Avions de Transport Régional in hull subrogation litigation arising from the March 2014, landing accident of Calm Air International’s Flight MO515 at Churchill, Manitoba.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP has one of the US' largest and oldest aviation practices. Advising on the full range of regulatory legal issues that confront the aviation industry, the practice group represents over 60 airlines in the US and around the world. The team is led by Washington DC-based Charles Donley and Josh Romanow. Donley's wide-ranging practice encompasses aviation regulatory matters and litigation; and Romanow advises airlines from around the world on licensing and traffic rights. Thomas Liu is the key contact in Los Angeles for cross-border labor and employment litigation, and special counsel Laura Jennings is also recommended in Washington DC.

Practice head(s):

Charles Donley; Josh Romanow

Other key lawyers:

Thomas Liu; Laura Jennings

Key clients

LATAM Airlines Chile


LATAM Cargo Chile

LATAM Cargo Colombia

LATAM Argentina

LATAM Brazil

American Airlines

Xiamen Airlines

Vietnam Airlines

Norwegian Air Shuttle

Norwegian Air International

Norwegian Air UK

Air France

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Air China Limited

China Southern Airlines

Air China Cargo

Bamboo Airways

LATAM Airlines Colombia

LATAM Airlines Ecuador

Hainan Airlines

Work highlights

  • Representing a major Chinese air carrier in an ongoing Department of Transportation investigation, which concerns advertising, refund and marketing policies and website compliance.
  • Acted in a Department of Transportation enforcement proceeding, which alleged the airline discriminated against certain types of cargo.
  • Assisting with obtaining the approvals required for US service.

Reed Smith LLP

Routinely acting in sensitive, high-stakes cases, Reed Smith LLP serves as counsel for commercial airlines and aviation manufacturers in defending complex litigation, ranging from commercial disputes to wrongful death and property damage cases. The practice also has a strong name for defending passenger injury claims, commercial air crash cases and aviation-related business disputes. Patrick Bradley in Princeton and New York-based Oliver Beiersdorf are the practice co-heads. Bradley focuses on product liability defense and aircraft accidents, advising corporate flight departments on regulatory matters, and defending pilots against Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certificate actions; and Beiersdorf is recommended for high-stakes litigation. Aviation disputes specialist Kenneth Broughton is the Houston office managing partner, while Princeton-based defense litigator Gregory Speier was recently made counsel.

Practice head(s):

Patrick Bradley; Oliver Beiersdorf

Other key lawyers:

Kenneth Broughton; Marilyn Moberg; Gregory Speier; Justin deBettencourt; Catherine Kiernan

Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP

Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP's sizeable and 'exceptional' national practice covers aircraft product liability, military and civilian aircraft accidents, commercial airline defense work and aviation insurance disputes. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia-based Robert Williams heads the aviation group, and Barry Alexander, who works from the New York and Philadelphia offices, serves as vice-chair. Other key Philadelphia contacts include Denny Shupe ('second to none in aviation'), a senior partner with decades of litigation and accident investigations experience; and Stephen Shapiro, who regularly defends large commercial airlines against claims by passengers. In DC, counsel Jonathan Stern 'balances the protection of his client with a deal-making mentality'; Lee Schmeer and Stephanie Short are experienced associates in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, respectively.

Practice head(s):

Robert Williams; Barry Alexander

Other key lawyers:

Denny Shupe; Jonathan Stern; Stephen Shapiro; Lee Schmeer; Stephanie Short


The team is very responsive and resolution minded, and it is dedicated and knowledgeable about aviation law practice.’

All of the aviation team is very approachable and knowledgeable, and its experience in litigating matters in the US is one of the reasons why we instruct the firm.

They are very exceptional attorneys, who have a very good work ethic.

‘The team is well-rounded, with several attorneys who have vast experience in aviation law. The attorneys use both their legal expertise as well as their background as active and former pilots to help defend our claims. They are timely and professional, and most important very easy to work with.’

Barry Alexander is very helpful, well informed, and always very good at structuring and deciding our next steps on a case.

Barry Alexander has been particularly helpful in terms of seeking creative solutions to litigated matters in order to bring the case to an expedited resolution.

I have worked on claims with Barry Alexander and found him to be a very good lawyer. His knowledge around contracts and the aviation law is outstanding. In one case, we had a particularly difficult insured and third party, and Barry played a crucial part in resolving the matter as there were delicate issues to resolve. His personality and persona worked very well with all the parties involved.

Jonathan Stern balances the protection of his client with a deal-making mentality, and always achieves the best of both worlds for us. He mitigates our risk while at the same time bringing business acumen to our management team, enabling us to continue to make deals to bring in more aircraft, so we can continue to expand our business. He has become a crucial and valued member of our management team – everyone on the team respects him and enjoys working with him.

Jonathan Stern is a genuine pleasure for us to work with and to have as a trusted advisor. His methodical poise is important to our making good decisions. He researches every issue properly and diligently, and offers sound alternatives. When he has represented us in litigation, the right course of action has been recommended every time, without exception. For all of the litigation for which Jon has represented us, and the litigation we have avoided as a result of his sound advice, the outcome could not have been any more favorable.

Denny Shupe is second to none in aviation. His historical knowledge of the field, as well as his ability to work with the most difficult adversaries and co-defendants provides his clients with an upper hand in dealing with aviation suits. In fact, most co-defendants would prefer Denny take the lead in handling multi-defendant suits because they also recognize his abilities. This alone speaks volumes.

Denny Shupe and Robert Williams are aviation attorneys that you want to have representing your company in any product liability case. They are able to comprehend very complex cases and explain it in a very simple terms that are helpful for juries and judges who may not comprehend the technical aspects.

Key clients


Global Aerospace (US & UK)

Rolls-Royce Corporation

Rolls-Royce North America and related entities

Textron Inc

Textron Aviation

Southwest Airlines

Great American Insurance Company

AVStar Fuel Systems


Starr Companies


Work highlights

  • Defending Southwest Airlines in lawsuits arising from a high-profile 2018 aviation incident, which involved the engine failure, rapid depressurization and emergency landing of Southwest Flight 1380.
  • Defending litigation stemming from the fatal crash of a sightseeing helicopter into the East River in Manhattan in 2018.
  • Defending the Collings Foundation in litigation stemming from the fatal crash of a B-17 Flying Fortress during a local sightseeing flight In 2019.

Baker McKenzie LLP

Baker McKenzie LLP's aviation team assists aviation industry clients with regulatory compliance issues, investigations, enforcement proceedings, licensing and transactions. It also represents unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) developers and manufacturers in myriad regulatory matters. Washington DC-based Jennifer Trock heads both the firm's global aviation group and the UAS focus team; Trock's recent highlights include advising Airglades International Airport on a public-private partnership to develop an all-cargo, perishable goods airport in Hendry County (Florida) under the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Partnership Program.

Practice head(s):

Jennifer Trock

Other key lawyers:

Clyde Rankin III


Jennifer Trock was critical to our successful execution of the deal.

Key clients

Airglades International Airport

Work highlights

  • Advised Airglades International Airport on an innovative public-private partnership to develop an all-cargo, perishable goods airport in Hendry County (Florida) under the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Partnership Program.

Cooley LLP

Cooley LLP's 'dedication and dynamism is second to none'. The team is a go-to adviser for aerospace manufacturers in relation to accident litigation, including fatal air-crashes and wrongful death claims; the practice also acts in high-profile airport disputes and regularly represents freight carriers as liability and emergency response counsel. A 'go-to lawyer for aviation matters', practice head William O’Connor in San Diego is recognized for his 'deep industry knowledge'; O'Connor represented Columbia Helicopters in connection with the 2016 crash of a Sikorsky S-61 helicopter during a maintenance check flight. Associate Andrew Barr  in Denver is 'undoubtedly someone to watch'.

Practice head(s):

William O’Connor

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Barr; Parker Erkmann


Dedication and dynamism that is second to none.

‘Very well versed in aviation, with good pre-dispute analysis and a wide net of resources to get you answers in all domestic and international jurisdictions.

The Cooley aviation team has broad capabilities that span jurisdictions (they have an international reach) and practices (from regulatory to litigation and arbitration).

William O’Connor has deep industry knowledge and a profile on the market (in terms of peer recognition) which makes him a go to lawyer for aviation matters.

Associate Andrew Barr impressed me with his drafting and communication skills, and is undoubtedly someone to watch.

Andrew Barr made himself available during a true time of crisis for the company, and was always there to bounce off ideas with. With his background in litigating within our industry, he not only takes the legal aspects under review but also the business ones.

Key clients

MD Helicopters

Columbia Helicopters

Town of East Hampton


Spirit Aerosystems


Universal Avionics


Work highlights

  • Represented MD Helicopters, Inc in litigation in the US, Canada and Turkey, which concerned various crashes (all of which led to fatalities).
  • Acted for Textron and Textron Aviation in a fleet-wide dispute involving Cessna TTx aircraft and over 250 aircraft owners (as plaintiffs) in several countries.
  • Represents the Town of East Hampton, which owns the East Hampton Airport, in legal and administrative proceedings arising from the use of airport revenues for legal fees.

Holland & Knight LLP

Holland & Knight LLP's 'well-connected' practice is regularly sought out by US and foreign airlines for major litigation arising out of high-profile airline crashes; it also handles disputes over aircraft leases, passenger claims and class actions, and has a robust regulatory practice. In New York, Christopher Kelly is the firm-wide section leader of the 490-lawyer litigation section, and Washington DC-based Anita Mosner, whose 'knowledge and experience have been valuable many times', is the aviation team deputy chair. Former practice co-head Randal Craft retired from the firm in December 2020.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Kelly; Anita Mosner

Other key lawyers:

Gary Halbert; Judy Nemsick; Sarah Passeri; Steven Raffaele


H&K has a very well-connected team, with contacts throughout the aviation industry and regulators, which gives them useful insights and credibility within the sectors.

Anita Mosner is exceptionally well connected with the top tier of airlines, as well as the relevant people in government. Her knowledge and experience have been valuable many times.’

Key clients

Societe Air France

American Airlines

JetBlue Airways

Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty


Air Canada

SkyWest Airlines


Condor Flugdienst GmbH

Qatar Airways

Singapore Airlines

Etihad Airways


Northern Air Cargo

Virgin Atlantic Airways

Work highlights

  • Acting as national counsel to JetBlue Airways in state and federal litigation throughout the US, in relation to commercial disputes, breach of contract, turbulence, passenger rights and injury, discrimination and class actions.
  • Acts for Volaris in regulatory and litigation matters.
  • Representing Air France in multiple personal injury actions, including wrongful death claims.

Jenner & Block LLP

'A trusted partner' in the eyes of its clients, Jenner & Block LLP's Washington DC-based aviation and aerospace group regularly handles bet-the-company matters that require the firm's hands-on FAA experience; it is also at the forefront of regulatory developments in the UAS space. With experience of a wide range of aviation matters, 'exceptional' practice chair Marc Warren assisted Xcel Energy with optimizing its flights for beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) infrastructure inspection. Grant Schweikert is a key associate in the firm's aviation and aerospace and government contracts practices. Former practice co-head Abby Bried left the firm for a position at Panasonic Avionics Corporation.

Practice head(s):

Marc Warren

Other key lawyers:

Grant Schweikert


Jenner & Block’s aviation regulatory team has demonstrated the expertise, solution-orientation and credibility we needed to navigate very challenging and uncertain regulatory terrain.

Whether tackling the specifics of aircraft and operational certification processes, helping us meet community needs in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, or advancing big picture regulatory strategies we need to launch and scale our business in the US, Jenner & Block has been a trusted partner for quite some time now.

I’d been told by several folks that Marc Warren at Jenner & Block was the best. When we finally turned to the firm, it was eye-opening; and on a comparative basis to what came before them, simply spectacular. We look forward to having Jenner & Block’s support as we continue to grow and scale our business.

Marc Warren has been exceptional. Marc came highly recommended and has lived up to those recommendations; he is encyclopaedic about the law and the way the government agencies work, pragmatic about how to solve very challenging problems, and creative in adapting traditional frameworks and concepts for novel uses in an innovative industry. Among all 12-15 external firms we use, I can honestly say that Marc is the most exceptional single partner we work with at any firm.

Key clients

United Airlines, Inc.

Xcel Energy



O'Melveny & Myers LLP

O'Melveny & Myers LLP’s aviation group has deep regulatory knowledge and broad litigation experience, and is recognized in particular for its nationally esteemed Railway Labor Act practice. Other areas of expertise include antitrust, ERISA litigation, consumer class actions and personal injury. The practice is co-chaired by Los Angeles-based Robert Seigel, a highly rated airline labor lawyer who is outside labor counsel for most of the US' passenger airlines.

Practice head(s):

Eric Richards; Robert Siegel

Key clients

Alaska Airlines, Inc.

American Airlines, Inc.

Atlas Air, Inc.

Hawaiian Airlines

Republic Airways Inc.

Southwest Airlines Co.

Spirit Airlines, Inc.

US Airways Group, Inc.

United Airlines, Inc.


Work highlights

  • Achieved a significant appellate victory for American Airlines, obtaining a unanimous decision by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals that decertified three wage and hour subclasses of American employees based at Newark Liberty International Airport.
  • Acted for FedEx and American Airlines in securing dismissals of two separate Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) class actions in the federal court.
  • Secured an industry impacting victory for United Airlines before the California Supreme Court, when it held that California wage statement law applies to pilots and flight attendants only if they work principally in California.

Paul Hastings LLP

Paul Hastings LLP's experienced aviation litigation team consistently acts as lead counsel to corporate clients facing high-stakes litigation relating to airline disasters. The aviation litigation practice is led by Sheila Sundvall, who has extensive experience in representing commercial airlines, manufacturers, aircraft lessors and other defendants in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. Based in the firm's Chicago office, Sundvall has been lead counsel in major airline accident litigation for General Electric Company for over three decades.

Practice head(s):

Sheila Sundvall

Key clients

General Electric

CFM International

Work highlights

  • Representing CFM International (jointly owned by GE and Safran Aircraft Engines) in litigation arising out of the engine failure and emergency evacuation of Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 at Philadelphia International Airport in 2018.
  • Represented GE in 20 personal injury lawsuits (pending in Cook County, Illinois), arising out of engine failure on Singapore Airlines Flight 368 and emergency evacuation at Singapore Changi International Airport in 2016.
  • Serving as lead counsel for GE in personal injury lawsuits (pending in Cook County, Illinois), arising out of a 2016 engine fire incident on American Airlines Flight 383 at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

Thompson Hine LLP

Regularly liaising with multiple federal regulatory agencies, Thompson Hine LLP is sought out for advice on the navigation of complex federal rules, including bilateral aviation agreements and FAA rules and regulations. The aviation and international logistics group is also experienced in international air transportation law, including the operation of the sector's governing treaty system. Washington DC-based Karyn Booth acts as transportation practice group leader.

Practice head(s):

Karyn Booth

Other key lawyers:

Jason Tutrone

Key clients

Aer Lingus

American Airlines

APL Logistics, Ltd.

Continental Tire


FedEx Express

Middough, Inc.

Precision Aviation Group


Zodiac U.S. Corp.

Toyota Tsusho America

Work highlights

  • Advised a major US domestic airline on rights for air service operations under US air transport services agreements (or treaties) between the US and other countries.
  • Advised a global aircraft parts manufacturer on proper commodity classification and appropriate governmental jurisdiction issues, as well as compliance policies and procedures.
  • Advised a construction company on transactional matters involving regulatory issues.