The John Marshall Law School, J.D., 1988
Moot Court Executive Board, 1987-1988
Miami University, B.S., 1984
As the aerospace industry embraces the development of unmanned aerial systems, a new set of issues will arise and so will the need for skilled aviation counselors. Brandt has been representing clients in all facets of the dynamic aerospace industry for over 25 years, matching their innovation with his own creative solutions. As the chair of the firm’s Aerospace Industry Group, he oversees a team providing services in corporate consultation, administrative and regulatory issue, insurance coverage and litigation.
Brandt provides general counsel services for a number of aviation startups. He has helped marshal inventors’ ideas from concept to implementation throughout the commercial fleet. His advice includes negotiations with regulators and corporate partners, coordination of Intellectual Property issues and drafting of licenses, service agreements, and grants. In addition, Brandt has coordinated the administrative compliance and interfaced with regulators. Brandt also serves as an advisor to aviation manufacturers and service industry entities on a wide variety of commercial matters including but not limited to aircraft transactions, leases, financing agreements and outside general counsel services.
Brandt is an experienced trial attorney, and has brought dozens of cases to trial and through appeal, representing municipalities, corporations, small businesses and individuals. Brandt also has an active administrative practice, representing clients before administrative agencies, such as the FAA, FTC, NTSB, CFTC and the Department of Revenue. Brandt has been involved in many high profile air crash cases, successfully representing airport operators, air traffic controllers, operators and manufacturers. His aviation experience includes regulatory practice and working with the FAA and NTSB. Brandt represents airmen, air traffic controllers, airports, aircraft owners and operators, and FBOs (fixed base operators). He has also represented numerous airplane and helicopter pilots in enforcement actions brought against them by the FAA.
While Brandt finds great success in the courtroom, he is often able to resolve cases early in the litigation process via motions to dismiss or by negotiating settlement. In one complex litigation case involving the crash of a passenger jet in Europe and scores of plaintiffs, Brandt was able to obtain a dismissal for his client on the basis of a lack of jurisdiction.
Outside the office, Brandt and his family work with World Relief, an organization that helps refugees assimilate to life in the Chicago area. They meet refugees at the airport, help them navigate public transportation and take them grocery shopping. He works with the Illinois 4H program, which educates city and suburban kids on the business of working farms. He also provides pro bono legal services to an organization that provides after school opportunities for children and business education programs for adults.
- Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ rated
- Selected to the Illinois Super Lawyers List: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
- Selected by the Leading Lawyers Network as a "Leading Lawyer" in aviation and transportation defense law
Memberships & Involvement
Member: American Bar Association; Michigan Bar Association; Chicago Area Business Aviation Association (Education Committee); Chicago Bar Association; Aviation Insurance Association; Cook County Mandatory Arbitration Program (Chairperson)
Adjunct Professor: Lewis University, Aviation Legislation
News & Press Releases
- SmithAmundsen, January 13, 2017
- 37 SmithAmundsen Attorneys Included on 2016 Illinois Super Lawyers and 2016 Illinois Rising Stars ListsSmithAmundsen, January 8, 2016
- WGN-TV, October 6, 2015
- Crain's Chicago Business, August 7, 2015
- January 12, 2015
- August 1, 2014
- January 3, 2013
- August 21, 2017
- SmithAmundsen Attorney Registers First Pilot's Bill of Rights Victory: Airman Back in the Air Within 60 DaysFebruary 10, 2017
- November 30, 2016
- May 13, 2016
- February 15, 2016
- February 15, 2016
- October 21, 2015
- July 31, 2015
- July 31, 2015
- USLAW Magazine, Spring 2016
Presentations & Events
- Tenth Annual McGill Conference on International Aviation Liability and Insurance; Montreal, Quebec, June 22, 2017
- Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Webinar, March 24, 2016
- SmithAmundsen, Lombard, IL, February 11, 2016
- Chicago Bar Association, Chicago, IL, April 23, 2015
- Chicago, IL, November 17, 2014
- Pilots Bill of RightsFederal Aviation Administration Seminar, Sugar Grove, IL, January 17, 2013