International law firm Dentons named Jim Williams, formerly manager of the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Office, as a principal in its public policy and regulation practice. Based in McLean, Va., Williams will advise clients on “aviation technology, regulatory and compliance issues with particular emphasis on the military, consumer and commercial use of unmanned aircraft,” said Dentons on July 27.
In March 2012, the FAA appointed Williams to lead the newly created UAS Integration Office, which for the first time combined the unmanned aircraft units of its Air Traffic Organization and Aviation Safety branch. He spearheaded the FAA’s effort to open the national airspace system to drones, a requirement of Congress in theFAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. Williams retired after 28 years with the agency on June 1.
The FAA now plans to appoint two executives to manage its unmanned aircraft program: a director of the UASIntegration Office, who will report to associate administrator for Aviation Safety Peggy Gilligan; and a senior advisor for UAS integration, reporting to Deputy Administrator Michael Whitaker. It has not yet made those appointments.
On July 1, Dentons completed a merger with Washington, D.C.-based law firm McKenna Long & Aldridge, which had an existing UAS practice group. Dentons now employs 1,100 lawyers at 21 U.S. locations.
“Federal, state and local policy surrounding unmanned aircraft is still in its infancy and represents one of the most significant changes in aviation since the development of the jet engine,” said Gordon Giffin, chairman of Dentons’U.S. public policy and regulation practice. “Jim’s unique perspective and insight in this emerging area will be critical to clients across the firm as regulation of this powerful technology takes shape in the years to come.”
Source: AIN Online