Lisa Ellman

"During her time in government and now in private practice, Ellman has served as an eloquent and passionate conduit between technology companies and government in furthering the creation of sensible policies for integrating drones into the National Airspace System."

Dan Gettinger, Center for the Study of the Drone

Widely recognized as one of the nation’s “top legal minds” in emerging technologies and advanced aviation, Lisa Ellman offers a unique perspective and vast experience, helping clients push policy boundaries forward safely in the regulatory environment governing national airspace.

As chair of the firm's Uncrewed Aircraft Systems (UAS) practice and co-founder and Executive Director of the Commercial Drone Alliance, Lisa is focused on helping businesses succeed in the dynamic drone marketplace. She also focuses on UAS security efforts and enabling Advanced Air Mobility (AAM). Lisa founded and hosts the Domestic Drone Security Series, bringing national security agencies together with industry insiders to explore collaboration opportunities around drone security.

As a member of the firm’s broader Transportation and Aviation practices, Lisa has a broad understanding of policy issues and advises crewed aviation organizations, self-driving car companies and other transportation clients as they implement emerging technologies across the transportation sector.

Throughout her career, Lisa has worked to bridge government policymaking and business innovation. She has held a variety of positions at the White House and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), including leading the DOJ's effort to develop policy to govern the use of UAS in the United States. Lisa also has extensive federal advisory committee experience, including service on the NASA Advisory Council Aeronautics Committee and as a leader on the FAA Beyond Visual Line of Sight Rulemaking Committee.

Lisa is a highly sought-after thought leader and regularly appears on television to discuss new developments. Her opinions have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Fortune and other publications.  She was recognized in Fortune's "Most Powerful Women" series for her efforts to develop policy to govern drone use in the United States. 

Awards and recognitions


Transportation: Aviation: Regulatory (Nationwide), Rank 3
Chambers USA


Transportation MVP


Technology Law Trailblazer
The National Law Journal


Transport: Aviation and Air Travel - Litigation and Regulation, Leading Lawyer
Legal 500 US


Government: Government Relations
Legal 500 US


Media, Technology, and Telecoms: Technology: Transactions
Legal 500 US


Media, Technology, and Telecoms: Telecoms and Broadcast: Transactional
Legal 500 US


Government: Government Contracts
Legal 500 US


Rising Star
National Law Journal D.C.

Education and admissions


J.D./M.P.P., The University of Chicago Law School and Harris School of Public Policy, 2005

B.A. History, University of Michigan, 2000

Bar admissions and qualifications

District of Columbia

Court admissions

U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

U.S. Supreme Court

Representative experience

Assist UAS companies with participation in federal government experimental programs to push UAS policy boundaries forward around safety and security.

Help companies navigate UAS/AAM regulatory processes.

Represent Commercial Drone Alliance on advisory groups such as NASA Advisory Council Aeronautics Committee and FAA Beyond Visual Line of Sight Aviation Rulemaking Committee.

Assist businesses and trade associations to craft public policy strategies to move innovation forward safely.

Assist companies entering the dynamic UAS/AAM marketplace to craft a business strategy for success.

Assist non-profit organization focused on enhancing crewed flight safety. 

Provides counsel on legal and policy issues around drone security, including counter-drone technology. 

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