Longtime aviation expert Lisa Ellman has been tapped by Apple for their aviation-focused lobbying efforts. That’s according to a report from Bloomberg, which stated that Apple retained Ellman — who leads the Unmanned Aircraft Systems practice at law firm Hogan Lovells— to conduct the Apple lobbying efforts.
According to a December 2019 filing, Ellman has been representing Apple for a couple months now. The filing is otherwise light on details, simply stating that Ellman is lobbying for “issues related to the use and regulation of unmanned aerial vehicles.” Apple began selling DJI drones back in 2015, starting with the DJI Phantom 3. And the company in the past reportedly used drones to improve its mapping data.
Hogan Lovells is one of the leading law firms in the drone industry. Ellman’s teammates at Hogan Lovells include Laura Ponto, former head of public policy and regulatory affairs at Google X’s Project Wing.
Ellman has held a variety of positions at the White House and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). She has worked closely with President Barack Obama — or as Ellman used to call him, “Professor Obama.”
“He was my constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago,” Ellman said in a 2015 interview with The Drone Girl. “I got to know him really well.”
She graduated law school in 2005 and joined Obama’s first presidential campaign in 2007, working on technology policy and innovation. And in 2013, after Congress mandated the integration of drones into the national airspace, she joined the Department of Justice to lead its drone policy. Ellman also co-founded the Commercial Drone Alliance alongside former AUVSI Executive Vice President Gretchen West, who also at one point worked for Hogan Lovells.