Republicans on Capitol Hill, led by Rand Paul, are gearing up to make drone strikes again a major talking point. But this time around K Street will be ready for them. On Tuesday, the law firm Holland & Knight announced the launch of a new drone practice group, the first of its kind in Washington. The purpose of this new group will be to advise clients on the legality of using drones.
“From news reports on agriculture to tornadoes to environmental degradation, new UAS technologies can safely provide the public with valuable information from entirely new perspectives,” said Charles Tobin, chairman of Holland & Knight’s National Media Practice Team told POLITICO. “As it weighs safety concerns, the government must consider the First Amendment interest in the free flow of information through aerial news-gathering. The news media should be seated at the table as the government drafts new regulations.”
And Holland & Knight is wasting no time hitting the ground running in the uncharted world of drone law. They have already filed their first brief on behalf of Raphael Pirker, a photographer who was fined $10,000 in 2011 by the FAA for flying a drone with a camera at the University of Virginia. Holland & Knight helped organize a coalition of media organizations to sign on to the brief including the Associated Press, The New York Times and The Washington Post.