Aviation attorneys or lawyers handle aviation-related cases in commercial or general aviation for private individuals, the government, or companies. An aviation attorney may represent an airline, or they may work in the Aviation Unit at the United States Department of Justice. Some aviation attorneys work for the FAA, while others may be on staff or on retainer by large corporations who own aircraft or have dealings with airlines. A private pilot may also hire an aviation attorney to represent them in a legal case. When aviation accidents occur, because of the ensuing legal issues, all of the parties involved will usually hire an aviation attorney. This means that in any given case, several attorneys may be involved, each of whom represents a different side.
Working in the airline industry is exciting and many enjoy working behind the scenes. When working for an airline, there are also travel benefits associated with this job.
Working as an attorney in any field can be stressful and require long hours, but specializing in aviation law also means possibly dealing with life and death issues. Law cases involving airlines can last several years and require tremendous patience and determination.
Many aviation attorneys are commercially licensed pilots, and some have even flown for the military. Aviation law is highly specialized, and attorneys in that field must be familiar with FAA or Transport Canada rules and regulations as well as other aviation issues that can result in litigation such as human factors and airline liability.
A law degree is necessary with an emphasis in aviation is required. Some firms may require that the aviation attorney also be a licensed pilot. The attorney should have knowledge of applicable aircraft types.
The airline may provide some training but it’s likely to be only supplemental and specific to that company, such as internal policies or procedures.
Salary and Benefits
Benefits usually include paid vacation, dental and life insurance, sick leave, retirement plan, free or reduced airfare for employees and immediate family members.