Education

Juris Doctor, 1996
Loyola Law School
(Dean’s List, St. Thomas More Law Honor Society)

Bachelor of Science, Aerospace Engineering, 1984
University of Texas at Austin

Legal Affiliations

  • Executive Committee of Los Angeles County Bar Association
    (Litigation Section)
  • Aviation & Space Law Committee of American Bar Association
  • Lawyer-Pilots Bar Association

Legal Experience

Before starting his own firm focusing on the needs of aviation and private spaceflight companies, Doug spent more than four years at the international law firm Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP. As part of the firm’s aviation practice group, Doug engaged in a broad-based commercial litigation practice emphasizing sophisticated contract and regulatory disputes encompassing real property transactions, operating agreements, labor and employment matters, construction projects, trade secrets and airport noise/access issues.

Prior to Paul Hastings, Doug spent four years at Kern & Wooley LLP, an aviation law firm specializing in the representation of airlines, maintenance facilities, aircraft and component manufacturers, and other members of the industry in air disaster litigation. While at Kern & Wooley, Doug litigated many aviation accidents, conducted an internal investigation for major helicopter manufacturer, and participated in numerous accident investigations and wreckage inspections.

Recent matters which Doug has handled for clients include:

  • numerous FAA enforcement actions for private pilots, commercial pilots, and mechanics;
  • advice to repair stations and FAR Part 135 operators on regulatory compliance and dealing with the FAA concerning disputed interpretations of the FARs;
  • defending the Estates of the pilots in lawsuits arising from two separate fatal Cessna 421 crashes;
  • representing various owners and lessors of small and medium-sized aircraft in purchase and sale, lease, partnership, and charter management agreements;
  • representing a large flight training operator in the recovery of its losses stemming from a mid-air collision;
  • counseling a European airline concerning its rights and obligations for Service Bulletin and Airworthiness Directive compliance under a complex lease agreement;
  • defending the operator of a helicopter in the aftermath of a fatal accident occurring during a commercial photo shoot;
  • following a disaster involving a U.S.-manufactured airliner in the Philippines, assisting the company who obtained aircraft’s export certificate in ensuing litigation;
  • representing an aviation insurance provider in its subrogation claims to recover losses stemming from the destruction of a helicopter engaged in agricultural spraying; and
  • serving as on-call legal counsel to several small-to-medium size operators in the aviation industry

Doug and co-speaker Stuart Fraenkel, Esq.
with host Kathleen O’Brien, Safety Programs
Manager, Long Beach FAA Flight Standards
District Office

As an adjunct professor at Loyola Law School, Doug teaches an aviation & spaceflight law course covering the major common law and statutory schemes affecting the aviation industry. He has also taught graduate and undergraduate level courses in rotorcraft operations, aviation insurance & risk management, and aviation law at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. As a frequent lecturer under the FAA's Aviation Safety Program, Doug has been a speaker at numerous events including the FAA's 2006 and 2007 annual maintenance symposiums in Long Beach, California, EAA's AirVenture 2007, AOPA Expo 2008, AOPA Aviation Summit 2009, and NBAA's Annual Meeting & Convention 2009. Click here to learn more about Doug’s aviation speaking engagements and availability to speak at your event.

Doug with the Cessna 182RG he flies as a
member of the Caltech/JPL Flying Club

An advocate of the emerging commercial human spaceflight industry (aka “space tourism”), Doug has presented lectures on the liability and risk management atmosphere facing entrants in the industry at such events as the International Space Development Conference 2008, the California Spaceport Authority’s “Transforming Space 2007” symposium, and the Aerospace Medical Association’s 2007 annual meeting. Doug is a legal advisor to the XTremeSpace companies, including Orbital Outfitters and SpaceDiver, has appeared as a guest on The Space Show, and is a member of the Space Frontier Foundation, the National Space Society, and the 62-Mile Club. Click here to learn more about Doug’s spaceflight speaking engagements and availability to speak at your event.

Aviation Experience

Doug studied aerospace engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in 1984. Upon graduation, Doug joined the United States Marine Corps and began training as a Naval Aviator. After completing training in the T-34C Turbomentor and TH-57 JetRanger, Doug earned his wings and reported to Camp Pendleton, California to fly AH-1W SuperCobra attack helicopters.

Doug Griffith, Captain USMC,
in Jubail, Saudi Arabia, during
Operation Desert Shield/Storm

For five years, Doug served with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 369, participating in deployments to Okinawa, Korea and the Philippines before going to Southwest Asia for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1990-91. There, Doug flew numerous combat missions in support of the Marines’ advance into Kuwait City, and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, several Air Medals, and the Navy Commendation Medal. Doug’s squadron was awarded the title Marine Helicopter Squadron of the Year for 1991 as a result of its actions during the Gulf War.

As consultant for Rockwell
during bid for redesign of
the AH-1W cockpit

In addition to his tactical flying duties, Doug was a post-maintenance check pilot, quality assurance officer, and assistant aircraft maintenance officer for a fleet of 24 AH-1W and UH-1N helicopters. He attended the Naval Post Graduate School's Aviation Safety Officers course in Monterey, California, receiving extensive training in aviation risk management and accident investigation.

Doug left the active duty Marine Corps in 1992 to begin his legal education and career, but continued to fly AH-1Ws as a reservist until 2003. During his time in the reserves, Doug was the investigator-in-charge of two major aircraft accidents, and developed a multimedia lecture series on aviation fratricide. He also worked part-time for Rockwell International Corporation during its design of an upgraded cockpit and weapons control system for the AH-1W. By the end of his military flying career, Doug had reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, amassed more than 2,500 mishap-free flight hours, and obtained numerous instructor designations.

Doug combines his passion for flying with a desire to give to the community by serving as Chair of the Board of Directors of Angel Flight West, the nation’s largest volunteer pilot organization. Angel Flight West is a charitable network of general aviation pilots throughout the 13 western states who provide their aircraft and services free of charge to persons needing transportation to far-away medical facilities. Doug holds a pilot license valid for rotorcraft at the commercial level and airplanes at the private level. He is a proud member of AOPA and EAA, and flies a Cessna 182RG with the Caltech/JPL Flying Club.