Alumni Spotlight

Ann Thornton Field ‘84
UHLC alumna parlays her passion for flight into successful aviation practice

A licensed pilot who has flown solo and cross-country, Ann Thornton Field ‘84 has turned her life-long love of flying into an impressive legal career in aviation that has spanned more than two decades. Using her success as a vehicle to give back, she is dedicated to educating and mentoring other women in the aviation industry.
“My father was an Air Force pilot during WWII,” Field said. “That is what initially sparked my interest in aviation and led me to Air Force ROTC as an undergrad.”

After earning her undergraduate degree, cum laude, from Samford University in 1977, Field came to the University of Houston Law Center at the age of 23. “My time in law school was a very special period in my life,” Field said. “I had so many wonderful experiences. The Law Center started me on a great career path with a quality education and started some lifelong friendships.”

Field joined Cozen O’Connor in 1988. She is currently vice chair of the firm’s Commercial Litigation Group in Philadelphia. “Early in my legal career, I began handling aviation cases,” Field said. “I found that due to my background I was uniquely suited to handle these cases. Now most of my legal career revolves around aviation litigation.

Field’s aviation practice has covered the full scope of the aviation industry, including aircraft and component part manufacturers, fixed base operators, airlines, municipal airport owners and operators, industrial aircraft owners and the estates of persons killed in aircraft accidents.

“I have handled cases in both state and federal courts across the U.S.,” Field said. She has been involved with the defense of death claims arising from the bombing and crash of PanAm Flight 103 in Lockerbie, Scotland, the defense of claims arising from the U.S. Navy experimental V-22 Osprey Tilt Rotor Aircraft, the 1996 ValuJet accident, the 1996 TWA 800 accident, and the 2006 Brazilian Midair Collision in which 154 people died.

Outside of the courtroom, Field has dedicated much of her life to mentoring young lawyers. She is co-founder of the Women's Initiative of Cozen O'Connor, which is the firm's mentoring program. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Women in Aviation, a worldwide group of women in the aviation industry dedicated to educating and mentoring of other women in the field.

“My work as a mentor is very important to me,” Field said. “It’s important to give back and to help where you can. Mentoring young women has been extremely rewarding.”

In recognition of her many years of mentoring young women, Field received the Lynette Norton Award in 2011. Presented by the Pennsylvania Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession, the annual award recognizes a woman attorney who excels in litigation and is devoted to mentoring female lawyers.

Currently, Field is serving as chairwoman of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania Board of Directors and as a member of the board for the Philadelphia Police Foundation. She is a former member of the board of directors for the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce's Arts and Business Council, the Freedom Valley Girl Scouts and the Literacy Action Project.

Field is also a member of the board of the National Judicial College, a member of the Aviation Litigation Committee of the American Bar Association's Litigation Section and is co-chair of the Aviation and Space Law Committee of the ABA's Tort Insurance Practice Section. She is a member and former chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association's Aeronautical & Space Law Section and the Civil Litigation Law Section.