Areas of Practice
Practice-Specific Experience
  • Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., 1976, Editorial Staff, Law and Policy in International Business
  • Brandeis University, B.A., 1973, Phi Beta Kappa
Bar & Court Admissions
  • District of Columbia

David H. Coburn

1330 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20036
TEL: +1 202 429 8063
FAX: +1 202 429 3902

David H. Coburn is a partner in Steptoe & Johnson LLP, where he is a member of the Regulatory & Industry Affairs Department. He has specialized in transportation, environmental and administrative law for his entire career and has an extensive transportation practice with the firm, with a focus on surface transportation and aviation law.

Surface Transportation/Infrastructure Matters:
Mr. Coburn has been engaged in recent years in advising with respect to other major transportation infrastructure projects, including the proposed construction of two new international vehicular bridges between the United States and Canada. Mr. Coburn has worked closely with a variety of agencies on the regulatory permitting and environmental aspects of such projects, including the US Department of State, US Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration and the US Coast Guard.

Mr. Coburn also regularly represents clients in connection with rail, motor carrier, and freight forwarder matters involving regulatory and commercial issues. In the rail area, Mr. Coburn has been actively involved in addressing the environmental aspects of various rail proceedings, including major rail line construction proceedings.  Mr. Coburn has extensive experience in the application of the National Environmental Policy Act, the National Historic Preservation Act and other laws to rail infrastructure projects.  Mr. Coburn also advises clients with respect  to issues associated with the federal funding of rail infrastructure projects.

In the motor carrier/forwarder area, where he has over twenty years of experience, Mr. Coburn has been actively involved in drafting and reviewing transportation contracts.    He also represents clients in regulatory proceedings involving motor carriage before the Surface Transportation Board and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, including proceedings relating to carrier safety, operating authority and the preemption of state laws.  He also represents a major bus holding company and a rail passenger carrier in connection with regulatory and other matters of interest to motor passenger carriers, including compliance with the transportation-related requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Hazardous Materials Transportation:
Mr. Coburn regularly advises clients on matters pertaining to the transportation of hazardous materials, including compliance with the US Department of Transportation hazardous materials regulations.  He has worked on the preparation of regulatory exemption applications addressed to the Department and has participated in rulemaking proceedings on behalf of several clients.  Mr. Coburn also has represented surface and air carriers, as well as shippers, in administrative enforcement proceedings arising from the transportation of hazardous materials.

Aviation Matters:
Mr. Coburn handles all types of regulatory proceedings before the Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration. His DOT experience encompasses contested international route proceedings, airline citizenship issues, exemption and permit applications, charter operations and code sharing and wet leasing issues.  At the FAA, he has represented clients in [natters involving drug/alcohol testing of aviation workers, the carriage of hazardous materials, aircraft noise rules, security issues, and Anti-Head Tax and passenger facility charge matters, among many others.  Mr. Coburn also counsels a large CRS vendor on regulatory and commercial matters and is conversant in the CRS regulatory rules and the range of issues relating to the marketing of airline services.

Mr. Coburn is a past president of the Association of Transportation Law Professionals and a regular contributor of articles to the Association's Highlights transportation newsletter.  He also serves as vice chair of the Transportation Committee of the ABA Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice.