Katie Thomson, former general counsel of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the FAA, has joined the Morrison & Foerster law firm as a partner in Washington, D.C.
Thomson will chair the firm’s Transportation Group. She will counsel transportation clients on regulatory matters, civil and criminal litigation, internal and governmental investigations, compliance issues, and cybersecurity matters.
As general counsel at the DOT, a position that she held from May 2013 to July 2016, Thomson was involved in numerous high-profile policy decisions, including setting standards for vehicle safety and recalls; improving the safety of crude oil transportation; advancing U.S. aviation priorities overseas; moving forward regulatory priorities for autonomous vehicles; forming new emissions standards for vehicle fleets, railroads, and shipping; instituting an international carbon dioxide standard for commercial aircraft; responding to the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme; and establishing pipeline safety and hazardous materials transport regulation. Throughout her time at the DOT, Ms. Thomson was the point person on interagency initiatives coordinated by the White House. She also advised senior leadership on how to respond to crises and emergency situations, including the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 accident in San Francisco.
Before her tenure as general counsel at the DOT, Thomson was chief counsel of the FAA for two years, where her principal focus was on enhancing aviation safety and the integration of drones into the national airspace. Among other things, she settled the largest air carrier enforcement matter in FAA history and provided legal advice regarding the Boeing 787 (Dreamliner) lithium ion battery matter, including the development and implementation of airworthiness directives to improve the safety of the aircraft.
Thomson is the only person ever to serve as both general counsel of the DOT and chief counsel of the FAA.
Before joining the government in 2009, Thompson practiced for 19 years in the environmental group at Sidley Austin in Washington, D.C., where she focused on civil and criminal litigation, compliance counseling, and regulatory advocacy focusing on energy generation and hazardous materials transportation.
She received her B.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.