What Does an Aviation Lawyer Do?

An aviation lawyer can help you with commercial aircraft issues such as purchasing or selling a plane and may also be engaged in accident litigation.

What Does an Aviation Lawyer Do?

Aviation attorneys specialize in handling cases that involve aircraft and any related ground facilities, such as airports or hangars. Aviation attorneys may assist clients, pilots, airlines, manufacturers, flight schools, and other persons in the aviation industry as both civil and criminal lawyers. If your legal case has anything to do with aviation, you will save yourself a lot of hassle by hiring an aviation attorney as they will have more in depth knowledge in this industry.

Types of Cases Aviation Lawyers Deal With

An aviation attorney can assist you with issues such as product liability claims, lawsuits for compensation for plane and helicopter accidents, and wrongful death allegations against airlines and private operators in civil cases. Aviation attorneys are well-versed in the legal issues relating to these situations and can represent plaintiffs or defendants in such circumstances. An example of a situation where an airline is sued after an accident has happened, they hire the help of an aviation attorneys.

Aviation-related criminal cases can encompass a broad scope of potential legal violations. A criminal aviation attorney represents defendants accused of violating criminal statutes or ordinances, such as failing to follow FAA regulations. It is possible for plaintiffs to bring both criminal and civil claims in connection with the same issue. An example of this could be if an airline was fined by a court for failing to adhere to FAA regulations it could be penalized in criminal court.

Many aviation attorneys are on retainer for or work within the legal department of companies such as airlines, aviation manufacturers, flight schools, charter companies, and so forth. Attorneys in this field work to advance and protect the rights of their clients in court, give legal counsel when issues arise, and are involved in the formation of policy for the organization with the goal of ensuring that policy helps the organization follow the law.

When not working for on retainer for legal departments at airlines, flight school and other aviation places, aviation attorneys also choose to work independently. They primarily represent people who are on the other side of the law suit and wish to help individuals sue members of the aviation industry. Some lawyers work for disaster-related law firms, often specializing in maritime disasters or other personal injury lawsuits. Rather of going with a general-practice lawyer, individuals involved in an aviation catastrophe or other aviation-related issues might want to seek the assistance of an aviation attorney as they will understand the FFA Regulations and which ones the company may have neglected. Having an aviation lawyer who is familiar with the relevant laws in aviation can often result in a more effective case and a larger settlement for the client. Often times, by involving an aviation lawyer in your case, you can easily intimidate the defendant into agreeing to a quick out-of-court settlement.

What is the Average Aviation Lawyer Salary

Not only may you be wondering what does an aviation lawyer do. But you probably also want to know what is the average aviation lawyer salary in the USA.

The short answer to this is $109,000 but long answer depends on a few main factors such as:

  • Experience
  • The size of their law firm
  • State or city
Starting Salary$22,0000
More than 3 years$223,000
More than 6 years$495,000

The aviation lawyer’s salary may be as low as $19,000 per year and as high as $496,000. The huge difference is the result of expertise, skills, and experience. The better you are at your work, the more you get paid. Beginners who are interning before passing the bar are paid less; however, a lawyer that has enough experience will be given high salaries. FAA attorneys who are also a kind of aviation lawyers earn more on average than regular aviation lawyers. The FAA attorney salary ranges between $104,000 and $186,000 annually, with an average of $140,000 per year.

How to Become an Aviation Lawyer

There are generally 6 steps involved in becoming an aviation lawyer but depending on a few factors such as school, part time vs full time schooling, LL.M degrees etc.. These are the general steps on how to become an aviation lawyer:

  1. Graduate from an Undergraduate degree: This 3-4 year degree can be in anything but aviation related would be beneficial.
  2. Pass your LSATs: In order to apply to law school, you need to pass your LSATs. It’s important to get high marks on this test as it will help or hinder you getting into a good law school.
  3. Graduate Law School: Law school usually takes 3 years to complete. This is often times a general law degree and doesn’t have much specialization.
  4. Pass the Bar Exam: After you graduate law school you must pass the dreaded 2 day test called the Bar Exam. This tests your general competency in law related questions.
  5. LL.M in Aviation Law: If you are serious about aviation law, you will want to obtain your Masters of Laws in Aviation (LL.M). This will allow you to take specialized courses geared towards aviation law and will help you get more knowledge on all aviation related matters.


Aviation lawyers deal with a lot of big and important law suits from individual matters to big corporate airline issues. An aviation lawyer can help you with commercial aircraft issues such as purchasing or selling a plane. An aviation lawyer may also be engaged in accident litigation. They handle cases in both civil and criminal court making them well verse in both areas. There are many varieties that an aviation lawyer deals with and thats why they are paid well and require extra schooling after general law school.