Transport: rail and road - regulation in United States

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

In Washington DC, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is best known for its experience in regulatory litigation and administrative procedures, and regularly acts for automotive sector clients, railroads and industry associations. Department head Thomas Dupree Jr successfully represented the Association of American Railroads in a constitutional challenge to Amtrak’s rulemaking power over private railroad companies. Elsewhere, Raymond Ludwiszewski is involved in numerous significant civil and criminal environmental enforcement actions and represents automakers in greenhouse gas regulatory challenges. Association of Global Automakers is another of the team's key clients.

Hogan Lovells US LLP

Hogan Lovells US LLP stands out for its experience handling regulatory and emerging technology issues across the automotive, trucking and rail sectors. Department head Latane Montague regularly represents leading automotive companies in safety and emissions matters and is experienced in Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) cases. Having advised the Railway Supply Institute (RSI) on changes to the hazardous material rail transportation regulations that pertain to the shipment of crude oil, ethanol, and other flammable liquids, the team is acting for RSI’s Committee on Tank Cars in relation to an extensive tank car modification program to comply with new regulatory requirements. Further, Montague and Adam Kushner are representing Hyundai Motor Group before the US Department of Justice and the US Environmental Protection Agency regarding its Clean Air Act settlement commitment to resolve allegations that Hyundai inflated its fuel economy estimates for its fleet of light‐duty vehicles sold in America. Elsewhere, Timothy Tobin is experienced in privacy, data security, and cybersecurity law and regularly advises on matters relating to connected cars; Ari Fitzgerald acts for automobile manufacturers on new and emerging communications products and services; and Joanne Rotondi focuses on regulatory compliance, litigation and environmental permitting. Counsel Susan McAuliffe and senior associate Kathryn Lannon are also key figures. Named lawyers are based in Washington DC.

King & Spalding LLP

King & Spalding LLP is engaged in automotive regulatory matters and is particularly recommended for its experience in issues involving autonomous vehicles. Department head Jacqueline Glassman has ‘deep expertise in auto-safety issues’ and acts for clients in regulatory and policy matters, with particular experience in safety and fuel efficiency initiatives. Granta Nakayama, who is experienced in advising automaker clients in diesel-related issues and litigation, represented Volkswagen in US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), California Air Resources Board (ARB), and Department of Justice (DOJ) investigations relating to emissions from 2.0-liter and 3.0-liter diesel engine powered vehicles. Nakayama also represented Porsche in matters relating to the use of diesel engines purchased from the VW Group in Porsche vehicles. Theodore Hester, Ilana Saltzbart and counsel Christie Iannetta are also recommended. The team is jointly led by Nakayama, Glassman and Atlanta-based Philip Holladay. Named lawyers are based in Washington DC unless stated otherwise.

Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown handles a raft of rail and road regulatory mandates. On the rail side, the team represents major rail operators in the US and Canada, as well as industry associations, in regulatory proceedings; it is also noted for its experience in crafting and defeating rail sector legislation. Andrew Tauber assisted CSX Transportation with its efforts to defeat proposed legislation that would have imposed discriminatory hazardous material-transportation fees on railroads. Senior counsel Adrian Steel advised BNSF Railway Company on the implementation of its rights to access shippers in Lake Charles, Louisiana via a rail line owned jointly by the Union Pacific Railroad Company and the Kansas City Southern Railway Company. In the road sector, the team represents clients in regulatory matters involving motor vehicle safety and consumer product safety, and related litigation. Contacts in the road and auto practice include Erika Jones and Philip Recht, who is based in Los Angeles. Evan Tager and Tauber jointly head the team. Named individuals are based in Washington DC unless otherwise stated.


The ‘remarkable’ group of attorneys at Dentons are ‘well versed in the more nuanced aspects of railroad and transportation law’. The team represents rail carriers, investors and public transit agencies in matters involving freight transportation and strategic railroad issues. Of late, the team has handled STB cases examining railroad rate and service issues, rail restructuring transactions, and Department of Transportation matters involving rail safety and funding issues. Department head David Hirsh is ‘an excellent lawyer’, whose ‘knowledge of clients and the rail industry enhances his ability to provide excellent advice’. Simon Steel and Claire Maddox are also recommended, as are counsel Matthew Ludwig and associate Stacey Petrek, who are based in Chicago. Named lawyers are based in Washington DC unless otherwise stated.

Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Steptoe & Johnson LLP regularly acts for railroad industry clients in regulatory proceedings and is experienced in advising on environmental matters. Anthony LaRocca, who advises railroad clients on economic regulations and pre-emption matters, and Samuel Sipe were retained by the Association of American Railroads (AAR) to represent the freight rail industry in a major rulemaking proceeding before the federal STB, which considered circumstances wherein a freight railroad could be compelled against its will to handle freight traffic on behalf of a potential competitor. David Coburn represented All Aboard Florida in a suit filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia regarding a planned passenger railroad, which included advising on a variety of permitting and environmental review issues related to the planned construction of the rail line. Alice Loughran, senior counsel Betty Jo Christian and department head Linda Stein, who regularly represents railroads in STB proceedings, are also key figures, as is Peter Denton who joined from Mayer Brown in 2018. All lawyers mentioned are based in Washington DC.

Thompson Hine LLP

Thompson Hine LLP provides ‘timely, insightful and well-presented advice’ to shippers and freight transportation associations in regulatory, administrative and rulemaking matters. Team head Karyn Booth, who provides ‘steady and constructive advice to keep the client on a forward path’, regularly acts for The National Industrial Transportation League (NITL) in freight policy proceedings and adjudication proceedings before the STB concerning competitive access, rail service, railroad rates, and federal pre-emption. Booth is also representing Delta Troy Interests before the STB relating to the proposed Dallas-to-Houston high-speed passenger rail project, Texas Central Railway (TCR). Additionally, Sandra Brown is representing Port of Moses Lakes in an environmental review at the STB and Federal Railroad Administration relating to its efforts to construct and implement a rail line. Jeffrey Moreno, counsel David Benz, senior counsel Nicholas DiMichael and associate Jason Tutrone are also key figures. Lawyers mentioned are based in the firm’s Washington DC office.