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Sidley has a long legacy of helping transportation clients navigate the complex legal challenges inherent in moving passengers and freight around the world. Our history and commitment to companies in the industry spans nearly 150 years. As advisors to the world’s largest rail, air and logistics companies, we are well situated to collaborate with transportation businesses to execute the best legal strategy. Our lawyers also harness the talents of Sidley’s practitioners across multiple disciplines and four continents. For example, we work closely with colleagues in the firm’s antitrust, environmental, finance, international trade, labor and employment practices to provide seamless advice on the many complicated issues that transportation industry clients face in conducting business.

First-Tier National Ranking in Transportation Law
– 2023 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” Survey



An integral part of Sidley’s transportation practice is its work for the aviation industry. We help the world’s largest airlines, air cargo companies, airline equipment manufacturers and air finance companies navigate and solve complex legal issues, leveraging the firm’s integrated litigation, transactional and regulatory services. This includes advising on multi-billion dollar M&A deals, international joint ventures and alliances, all aspects of the regional/mainline industry segment, financing for airline infrastructure, aircraft purchases and airport-related real estate projects. The team features seasoned litigators from the U.S. Department of Justice, who successfully represented the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in more than 30 different aviation matters. We have represented clients in litigation arising out of major airline accidents and complex antitrust disputes. The firm also advises on the spectrum of aviation regulatory matters, including counseling clients on the FAA approval process for airline terminals and new service. The practice, which has an increasingly global footprint, has handled the most complicated matters involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and other international anti-corruption laws.


At the core of Sidley’s transportation practice is its work for the railroad industry, with a diverse team of lawyers who advise clients across a multitude of legal disciplines. The firm serves all major participants in every aspect of this industry and has been a forerunner in all its relevant areas of law for decades. Our representation of rail clients dates back to 1867, when we drew up the corporate charter for George M. Pullman’s expanding sleeping car business. Our lawyers have built steadily on that historical foundation through today and now represent a wide-ranging group of high-profile clients. We represent several Class I freight railroads, and we also counsel other industry participants, such as new private companies in the emerging U.S. high-speed passenger rail industry, equipment manufacturers and financial investors in the industry. Leveraging Sidley’s integrated litigation, transactional and regulatory services, we represent railroad industry clients across the nation in rate, preemption, antitrust, environmental and employment and labor disputes. We also represent our clients before federal and state courts and regulatory agencies.


Sidley’s multidisciplinary team of transportation lawyers has for years assisted logistics clients around the world across the issues they confront in doing business. We help carriers, intermediaries and other providers of outsourced logistics services, in an array of matters—from negotiating an operating contract, pursuing or defending a cargo claim, and navigating government regulations, to developing a strategic alliance or financing an acquisition. We understand the challenges facing intermediaries in the transport chain, as well as the issues they experience in contracting between shipping lines and the owners of goods.

Recognition for the Practice

Strong leadership in advising clients has earned us acknowledgement in numerous industry publications. This includes receiving a “Band 1” ranking from Chambers USA for Transportation (Rail) every year since 2006. According to Chambers USA 2018, we have an “Esteemed transportation practice noted for its representation of a significant tranche of railroad industry clients across the USA. Offers expertise in all regulatory, financing and environmental matters and regularly represents clients before the Surface Transportation Board.” In previous editions, clients told Chambers, “They are exceedingly good, very responsive and uniformly talented. This firm is uniformly very strong in every area. They have proven themselves to be dedicated to the area of practice and have shown long-term strategic commitment.”