PASSING OF THE QUINTESSENTIAL CAREER GOVERNMENT LAWYER

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ARTICLE: John H. Cassady III

John H. Cassady III
The ideal career government employee approaches his job with integrity, interest and intelligence. That job description defined the 26 years of performance of John Cassady at the FAA. John was a very bright man, as demonstrated by having completed the demanding academic tests of his undergraduate and law studies at the University of Virginia and by his exceptional career within the FAA. His pronouncements on the complexities of the aviation laws immediately commanded respect. On the rare occasions that a debate ensued, John demonstrated great tact and respect for his fellow counselors. He was, indeed, a gentle man.

Starting in 1971, he demonstrated judgment and knowledge of the law in a progression of difficult assignments, having achieved the highest career position as the Deputy Chief Counsel in 1989. There, it was his job to advise a series of political appointees (the Chief Counsels) on THE LAW. This is not an easy task; because, in contrast to the Deputy’s job, the Chief Counsel’s job is to assess the FAA’s legal position through the policy prism of the Administration’s agenda. John never flinched in his duty to tell his boss what his considered judgment, honed over many years in the regulations and enforcement practice, as to what the statute means. Having received John’s counsel on a number of difficult issue, I can say that I never doubted his interpretation.

More than a lawyer, John was a good guy-always greeted everyone with a warm smile, added his wit to the frequently contentious atmosphere of the practice of law, cared deeply for his daughters and always there to be of assistance when needed. The way John led his life, on both personal and professional levels, provided an excellent example to the men and women lawyers whom he led.

John will be deeply missed and the aviation legal profession can ill afford to lose an able counselor like John.

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