Mary F. Schiavo


A CNN Analyst and former U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General, Mary Schiavo seeks accountability and industry change from corporations, institutions and the government so that they may meet their obligation to protect the safety and security of the traveling public. View Mary's media clips.

With years of experience in transportation litigation, Mary represents victims and their families suffering from negligence of airline, automotive, commercial trucking, motorcoach and rail companies.

A leader of the firm's aviation team, Mary has represented passengers and crew of most major U.S. air crashes, as well as pilots and passengers on private or charter planes. She represents passengers, pilots, flight attendants and select owners and operators. Her experience with major, complex aviation litigation includes more than 50 cases on behalf of the family members of the passengers and crew of all the planes hijacked on Sept. 11, 2001.

Mary has held numerous government appointments under three U.S. Presidents, including that of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Transportation from 1990 to 1996. Under Mary's direction, the agency investigated air safety, crimes and disasters; secured more than 1,000 criminal convictions; and exposed billions of dollars of fraud, waste and abuse of taxpayer money. She testified before Congress multiple times on transportation safety, security, budgeting and infrastructure. In recognition of her work combating the use of bogus aircraft parts worldwide, Mary was honored by Aviation Week with its Aviation Laurel Award in 1992 and 1995 and was inducted into the Aviation Laurel Hall of Fame in 1997.

As an Assistant U.S. Attorney early in her career, Mary litigated civil cases and prosecuted federal white-collar crimes, bank and securities fraud, mail and wire fraud, drug trafficking and counterfeiting. During her appointment, she also served on the U.S. Department of Justice's Organized Crime and Racketeering Strike Force, prosecuting high-profile criminal cases of bank and securities fraud and related mail and wire fraud, including a large investigation of a bank and securities fraud scheme that resulted in the federal takeover of banks, savings and loans throughout the Midwest.

In 1987, Mary was selected as a White House Fellow and assigned to the U.S. Attorney General, where she worked as the Special Assistant for Criminal Affairs. In this role, she reviewed high security prosecutions, prepared Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Requests, attended foreign legal summits with the Attorney General and worked on international prisoner and evidence exchanges. During this time, she also taught trial technique at the U.S. Attorney General's Advocacy Institute and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Academy. Her work earned her an appointment as the Assistant U.S. Secretary of Labor in 1989, where she led the Office of Labor Management Standards, supervising union elections and investigations on election and financial irregularities.

A frequent on-air contributor or consultant for several networks, Mary has appeared on ABC, CNN, CBS, Fox News, NBC, BBC, the History Channel and Discovery Channel. Named by Glamour magazine as a 1997 Woman of the Year, 1987 Working Woman of the Year and a Top Ten College Student in 1975, she has spoken about aviation safety on 20/20, 60 Minutes, Good Morning America, Larry King Live, Nancy Grace, Nightline, Oprah, The O'Reilly Factor, Today, and Your World with Neil Cavuto, among others. Mary is the author of Flying Blind, Flying Safe, a New York Times bestseller, and was featured in Time magazine for exposing the poor safety and security practices of the airlines and the failures of the federal government to properly regulate the aviation industry. She contributed to Aviation Security Management (Volume One, 2008) and Supply Chain Security (Volumes One and Two, 2010).

The Blameless Blue Sky® Series

Mary is the author of a series of aviation books, including:

Mary received her pilot's license soon after her driver's license, and later completed private and commercial flight training at The Ohio State University. She returned to The Ohio State University as the McConnell Aviation Chair and professor from 1998-2002 and as the Enarson Professor of Public Policy from 1997-1998. She has also served as a practitioner in residence at the New York University School of Law, and is currently a member of the Board of Directors for the Lowcountry SC chapter of the American Red Cross.

* Please remember that every case is different. Any result we achieve for one client in one matter does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.



J.D., New York University School of Law, 1980 (Root-Tilden Scholar)

M.A., The Ohio State University, 1977 (University Fellow)

B.A. cum laude, Harvard University, 1976

Licensed In

  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Maryland
  • Missouri
  • South Carolina

Admitted to Practice Before

U.S. Supreme Court


American Association for Justice

American Bar Association, First Female Assembly Delegate, House of Delegates 1986–1989

International Society of Air Safety Investigators, affiliate member

International Air and Transportation Safety Bar

Association of Plaintiff Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America, Chair of Legislation

Awards and Accolades

2017 Charleston, S.C. “Lawyer of the Year”: Mass tort litigation/class actions – plaintiffs
2010–2024 Mass tort litigation/class actions – plaintiffs

2015 Outstanding Women Lawyers

2012–2013 National “Litigation Star”: mass tort/product liability
2012–2014 South Carolina “Litigation Star”: mass tort, securities, aviation
2014 Top 150 Women in Litigation list: South Carolina – mass tort, securities, aviation

1997 Inducted to the Aviation Laureates Hall of Fame
1992, 1995 Aviation Laurel Award in recognition of her work combating the use of bogus aircraft parts