James & Hoffman is one of the country’s preeminent firms specializing in the Railway Labor Act (RLA), the federal statute governing labor relations in the rail and airline industries. Our founding and current partners have decades of experience handling a broad range of RLA and related matters affecting pilots and other professionals in courts, administrative bodies, arbitral boards and legislative forums, as well as extensive background in complex national collective bargaining negotiations and mediation.


Our airline labor activity has included a wide range of complex and precedent setting matters, including the largest airline merger and seniority integration ever accomplished and the first Presidential Emergency Board held in the Airline industry in the past thirty years.


For many years we served as general counsel to the pilots’ association at the largest air carrier in the world, providing comprehensive representation within the United States as well as participation before international tribunals. Our airline labor activity has included a wide range of complex and precedent setting matters, including the largest airline merger and seniority integration ever accomplished and the first Presidential Emergency Board held in the Airline industry in the past thirty years. In addition, James & Hoffman’s lawyers handled the largest single employer proceeding ever decided under the RLA, consolidating the four American Eagle carriers over management opposition. The firm successfully defended union and concerted activity against nationwide state and federal litigation that had threatened the Garmon preemption doctrine of federal labor law and the exclusivity of federal processes governing airline industry job actions. The resulting U.S. Court of Appeals decision, Kaufman v. Allied Pilots Ass’n, 274 F.3d 197 (5th Cir. 2001), cert. denied, 122 S. Ct. 1790 (2002), established that airline passengers may not pursue state-law tort claims against an airline union based on a peaceful work stoppage, even where the job action was prohibited by the RLA and by a federal court injunction.

James & Hoffman provides a wide range of training, negotiating, litigating and public affairs services to airline unions and other professional organizations involved in the industry. Three of the firm’s members are Editors of the sole authoritative treatise on the RLA, published by BNA. Members of the firm regularly speak and write for rail and airline industry conferences.