Chicago Law Firm Launches Drone Practice Group

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Upcoming FAA Regulations on Unmanned Aircraft Systems are Met with Powerhouse Legal Partnership between Antonelli Law, American Airlines 737 Pilot/Attorney Kate Fletcher, and Veteran Washington D.C. Enforcement and Rulemaking Attorney Mark Del Bianco

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“Because of the technical and regulatory challenges for drone use in the national airspace, we expect the FAA to introduce stringent licensing requirements that are similar to commercial aviation laws for large drones." -Jeffrey Antonelli

Chicago law firm Antonelli Law has formed an exclusive niche legal practice group to help drone manufacturers and commercial business users navigate the Federal Aviation Agency’s (FAA) impending licensing requirements for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). Antonelli Law’s Drone Law Practice Group has enlisted the legal and aviation expertise of attorney Kate Fletcher, an experienced commercial pilot with American Airlines, and Mark Del Bianco, a Washington D.C. attorney with substantial experience in federal administrative agency rulemakings, enforcement proceedings, and appeals, to create a unique legal practice to serve clients in the emerging legal landscape of drone law.

Drones—or unmanned aircraft—are an emerging type of technology that allows the observation of locations that are otherwise inaccessible. Privacy concerns, coupled with the possible danger of uncontrolled drones interfering with the national airspace, have brought restrictions against business and commercial use of drones. But with journalists, mapping and law enforcement agencies, and a growing list of business and government agencies yearning to utilize the benefits of drones, the FAA is drafting new proposals for drone regulations in the U.S.

“Because of the technical and regulatory challenges for drone use in the national airspace, we expect the FAA to introduce stringent licensing requirements that are similar to commercial aviation laws for large drones,” Antonelli said. “The combination of Ms. Fletcher's deep knowledge in aviation, Mr. Del Bianco's substantial administrative law experience, and Antonelli Law’s expertise in technology law results in a rare and innovative partnership to serve this niche area of the law.”

When the FAA regulations take effect, manufacturers and distributors will need trusted legal counsel to effectively navigate the complicated legal waters of drone use and development. Antonelli Law’s Drone Law Practice Group encompasses every legal aspect associated with drones, including compliance with FAA regulations, intellectual property protection and litigation, enforcement of supplier contracts, employment law, and zoning issues/ special use permits.

The FAA has not disclosed a firm date for the release of the new drone/Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) regulations, but Antonelli Law’s Drone Law Practice Group has already begun proactively developing a growing knowledge base, not only of the law, but emerging technologies associated with unmanned aircraft systems.

“We’re technology and aviation attorneys who understand the ever-changing state of the laws associated with drones,” Antonelli said. “We’re here to help give drone-users and distributors from all over the U.S. the confidence associated with being in compliance with the law.”

Antonelli Law is an exhibitor at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Conference in Orlando May 12-14 (Booth 151). The AUVSI Conference will serve more than 8,000 attendees from 55 countries with a panel of the drone industry’s top-decision makers while showcasing the most comprehensive collection of unmanned systems for every domain—air, ground and maritime. During the event, Antonelli Law’s Drone Law Practice Group will provide important insight into the many legal issues associated with the unmanned systems and robotics industry. For more information, visit the AUVSI web site.


About Antonelli Law

Located in Chicago, Antonelli Law focuses on business law, intellectual property, commercial drone/UAV law, and educational fraud. Prior to forming his firm in 2007, Principal Jeffrey Antonelli worked for several law firms including litigation boutiques in Chicago's Loop and a full service firm. His litigation experience includes hotly-contested issues in business law, intellectual property, insurance, and consumer fraud, and he is well-known for his work representing hundreds of students defrauded by improperly accredited educational institutions. His practice includes both state and federal court. Antonelli Law is committed to drawing upon skilled resources of both technical and legal talent for drone/UAV clients. For more information, visit or go to Antonelli Law’s Drone Laws Blog at

About Kate Fletcher

Attorney Katie (“Kate”) D. Fletcher is Of Counsel to Antonelli Law’s Drone/UAV Practice Group. Fletcher owns a law practice and is a 737 pilot with American Airlines with more than 10,000 hours of flight experience. She is Type-Rated in the Saab 340, Citation CE-500, DC-9, and Boeing 737, 757 and 767. Fletcher’s aviation experience includes traffic watch in the San Francisco Bay Area, Air Ambulance, flight instruction, and piloting major domestic and international-bound aircraft. She graduated from the University of Warwick with a B.Sc. (Hons) in Economics, and later attended law school at Loyola University Chicago School of Law. She graduated cum laude with a J.D. and an L.L.M. in Taxation.

About Mark Del Bianco

Attorney Mark Del Bianco is Special Counsel to Antonelli Law’s Drone/UAV Practice Group. Mr. Del Bianco has substantial federal administrative experience, having represented clients in rulemakings and enforcement proceedings (or court reviews) at the DOJ, ITC, FCC, FDA, CPSC, and NHTSA. He has litigation experience ranging from state trial courts to case briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court, and in recent years has litigated the constitutionality of state laws at the intersection of technology and privacy. He also provides transactional and regulatory assistance to a wide array of clients, including fiber networks, satellite service providers, business owners, application developers and cloud services providers. Prior to starting his own practice in 2003, Del Bianco was an attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice and at both large and small firms in Washington D.C., including more than a decade at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP.

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Jeffrey Antonelli
since: 06/2012
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Law Office of Jeffrey J. Antonelli, Ltd.

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