Career Pathways: Transportation Law

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Transportation and Railroad Law is an area of law that involves the legal issues affecting the transportation industry.  Transportation and railroad law concerns the movement of passengers and cargo.  The primary focus of the transportation industry is public safety.  An attorney who works with clients in the transportation industry may handle a variety of matters, including matters related to insurance, licenses, oversight, personal injuries, employment, hazardous materials, piracy, security, and safety.  Railroad law is a field within transportation law that involves the laws and regulations that apply to the railroad industry.

For additional information on Transportation and Railroad Law, see: National Safety Council and Section of Public Utility, Communications and Transportation Law (ABA).

Job Types Typical Duties
Federal Agencies
  • Work towards preventing crashes and reducing costs, both human and financial.

  • Establish national policy, set and enforce standards, educate, and conduct research to prevent incidents.

  • Improve public health and safety by reducing transportation-related deaths and injuries.

  • Advance environmentally sustainable policies and investments that reduce carbon and other harmful emissions from transportation resources.

State Agencies
  • Coordinate the planning and development of a safe, viable, and balanced transportation system. 
Local Government
  • Ensure the safety of the highways and roads.
Private Law Firms
  • Advise clients in matters involving railroad safety and security issues.
  • Represent clients in complex merger and acquisition proceedings.

  • Represent railroad carriers in complex commercial disputes before the Surface Transportation Board in federal and state courts and in arbitration proceedings.

  • Defend national companies facing personal injury, wrongful death, property damage and employee lawsuits.

  • Advise and inform clients of changing federal and state regulations governing railroad operations. 

Student Organizations

Other Activities


  • Obtain an internship with an attorney or firm who practices railroad or transportation law.
  • Periodically check the Symplicity Job Board for opportunities in this area of law.

Curriculum Considerations

For courses and faculty to talk to about a future career in transportation law, please take a look at the Law Curriculum Mapping Guide.