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Why become an aviation attorney?

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Airplanes at the Smithsonian

As a student of the law, or one who may be considering the law, maybe you have thought ahead to the particular area you would like to focus on, and develop a specialized expertise in. Whether that’s the case or not, however, I would like to ask you to consider one focus area you may not have considered before, that of aviation accident, disaster, and injury law.

Before you dismiss it out of hand as being too technical or difficult, let me just say that, yes, it can be a very technical field to pursue, and each case obviously involves an extensive set of thorny and complicated questions that must be documented, analyzed, and adjudicated. However, that shouldn’t stop you from at least considering the possibility that aviation law may be for you.

Where do aviation attorneys come from?

Where do aviation attorneys come from? Well, many of them are pilots themselves, so if you are a pilot, or if you have ever thought that you might like to learn to fly, aviation law may be a great way to combine your career as a lawyer with your passion for flight. On the other hand, some aviation lawyers are also engineers, which uniquely qualifies them to take complicated flight engineering questions posed by individual incidents and accidents, take them apart systematically, and help to determine exactly what may have caused a flight incident. So, if you’re an engineering student, or already an engineer, and you’re now pursuing the law, this is a great way to put those skills together to forge an interesting and rewarding career.

At our firm, our attorneys are also pilots and engineers, which gives us a technological edge over other attorneys in our field. Our team uses in-house aviation technology to help them reconstruct ever more complex scenarios involving small planes and modern jet aircraft. We also own our own aircraft, which allows our attorney/pilots to fly themselves to crash sites, try out the same approaches used by the pilots in the incidents, and study the airport or crash site. As you can see, the life of an aviation attorney is rarely dull!

In fact, qualified aviation attorneys are often the ones who unravel issues and causes that even the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) hasn’t dug into deeply enough. If you pursue a career in aviation litigation, you would likely be part of a dynamic team of legal experts, pilots, engineers, and applied mathematicians who pursue the truth surrounding plane a helicopter accidents and disasters across the globe. We challenge one another to apply our individual expertise each day on behalf of our clients.

Community involvement and activism

Beyond that, aviation law firms are often active in serving the community as well. They may handle complex public interest cases for little or no fee, and they frequently will evaluate, and provide opinions on, pending aviation safety legislation. It’s rarely easy determining the best interest of people seeking compensation for wrongful injury and death resulting from airplane accidents, but those are the very questions air law attorneys face daily.

Along those same lines, aviation accident lawyers often serve as spokespersons for the advancement of better safety practices in aviation, improved design of aircraft, aviation products, and aviation related infrastructure. As advocates for air safety, these lawyers have published many articles on a wide range of related topics, so if you are a writer, there’s ample opportunity for you in this field as well.

The heart of aviation law

However, all of this is really peripheral to the main reason I think you may want to consider a career in aviation law. The bottom line, when all is said and done, is that the relationship of an air accident lawyer with his or her clients often begins in the midst of great personal tragedy. When an airplane crashes, the usual result is death or serious injury, and with each occurrence, grief visits the families and extended families of the victims, bringing about terrible loss and sorrow.

The questions that arise in the midst of such events, questions like “how and why,” are the very questions you will wrestle with on behalf of your clients. How could something like this happen? Why did it happen to me? How can similar accidents be prevented in the future? Most aviation attorneys believe strongly that there is a need to search for and uncover the real, underlying cause of any aviation tragedy, while at the same time recovering fair and equitable compensation for victims and families of victims.

If any of this strikes a chord with you, and you can honestly see aviation law as a career path worth pursuing, and one for which you might just be suitable, this article has achieved its purpose.

Katzman, Lampert, and McClune Aviation Lawyers This article was authored by the partners of Katzman, Lampert, and McClune Aviation Lawyers. The partners and attorneys of KLM have been tirelessly advocating on behalf of aviation accident victims for over forty years, and have been instrumental in bringing about improvements to aviation safety legislation and aircraft design.