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  1. Transport: aviation and air travel - regulation
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Leading lawyers

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All lawyers in this section are based in Washington DC unless otherwise stated.

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Cozen O'Connor’s ‘highly responsive’ aviation group attracts praise for its ‘personalized service’ and ‘deep understanding of the client’s business and the industry’. Mark Atwood is a ‘go-to’ lawyer for FAA issues, and assisted Samaritan’s Purse with obtaining regulatory clearance from the FAA and TSA in connection with the procurement of relief flights to northern Iraq to assist refugees fleeing Mosul. David Heffernan (noted for his ‘comprehensive knowledge of DOT regulations’) is representing Alaska Airlines in DOT proceedings concerning the airline’s acquisition of arrival/departure slots following a mandatory slot divestiture by Delta and Aeroméxico as a consequence of their alliance. Atwood and Heffernan also acted for several non-US airlines on DOT enforcement matters regarding disability and consumer protection regulations.

‘Exceedingly knowledgeable’ and ‘unfailingly responsive’, the team at Hogan Lovells US LLP has ‘set a high standard’ for all-round legal advice and client service in the aviation sector. The group provides comprehensive regulatory advice to a variety of market participants and is among the leading firms advising on nascent areas such as UAS. Robert Cohn and counsel Patrick Rizzi assisted Aeroméxico with obtaining DOT antitrust immunity in relation to the airline’s alliance with Delta Air Lines. Lisa Ellman is advising household-name clients such as Turner Broadcasting on regulatory and policy developments affecting its UAS operations, while Ted Ellett is assisting Kitty Hawk Corporation with the regulatory aspects of its development of vertical take-off and landing aircraft.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP provides a ‘great combination of legal expertise and practical wisdom’ and has extensive experience in obtaining US regulatory approvals for foreign air carriers. Josh Romanow has assisted clients such as Beijing Capital Airlines and Norwegian Air International with various FAA and DOT approvals required for maiden US services. Charles Donley heads the department and is advising LATAM Airlines Group on possible antitrust immunity for an alliance with American Airlines. Additionally, Donley and senior counsel Edward Sauer have advised clients on UAS operations. Based in Los Angeles, Thomas Liu has represented China Airlines in DOJ investigations and civil litigation. Special counsel Laura Jennings joined the team from Dentons, while Kenneth Quinn and Jennifer Trock left for Baker McKenzie LLP.

Steptoe & Johnson LLP’s aviation department provides a ‘simply excellent’ service to clients including air carriers, manufacturers and trade associations, with notable experience advocating before every major regulatory agency related to the aviation industry. William Karas and Carol Gosain (both of whom are praised for their ‘indispensible’ advice) act fot Japan Airlines on issues such as the DOT’s passenger disability regulations, tarmac delays and air service between the US and Cuba; Karas and Gosain provide similar regulatory advice to TAP Portgal. Dane Jaques acts for multiple aerospace and defense companies and regularly represents clients in NTSB accident investigations. David Coburn is another key figure in the practice group. The department also has a dedicated UAS offering.

Baker McKenzie LLP recruited Kenneth Quinn and Jennifer Trock, two highly regarded partners from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, in 2017, bringing their extensive regulatory capabilities to the firm’s aviation practice. The team has hit the ground running, advising air carriers, industry associations and municipalities on a variety of regulatory disputes throughout 2017. Quinn and Trock represented Delta Air Lines in civil and regulatory proceedings regarding the City of Dallas’s obligation to accommodate the airline at Dallas Love Field airport. The group also serves as US aviation regulatory counsel to International Airlines Group and its carriers. Quinn and Trock are also experienced in handling regulatory challenges faced by the UAS industry and represented a major digital media company before the FAA and NTSB regarding its operation and development of UAS technology.

In 2017, Jenner & Block LLP launched its aviation regulatory practice with the recruitment of Thomas Newton Bolling and the Chicago-based Abby Bried, who joined from United Airlines, as well as Marc Warren and three special counsels, who joined from Crowell & Moring LLP. Newton Bolling and Bried assisted United Airlines with its application to provide service between Havana and various US cities. Warren provides regulatory advice to several corporate drone operators, and also acts for clients such as Regional Airlines Association and Cargo Airline Association. The group also provide advice to NetJets on FAA and DOT compliance.

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