Remembering Linda Morgan


Linda Morgan, former Chair of the Surface Transportation Board (STB) and a giant in the North American transportation world, passed away November 4, 2015.

Ms. Morgan was a highly respected Partner at Nossaman LLP. In 2011, she joined the Firm’s Infrastructure Practice Group, and her practice focused on freight and passenger railroad policy, legislative and regulatory matters, and dispute resolution. Recently, Ms. Morgan served on Amtrak’s blue ribbon panel of transportation leaders tasked with identifying ways to address rail traffic gridlock in Chicago. The panel’s report, which was received with great acclaim, was published October 2015.

Ms. Morgan  was named a 2015 Washington, D.C. "Lawyer of the Year" for Transportation Law by Best Lawyers and a 2015 Regulatory and Compliance Trailblazer by The National Law Journal.  In addition, Ms. Morgan was ranked in the top tier of lawyers nationally in the area of railroad law by Chambers USA for every year she was in private practice.

It would be hard to identify a single individual who had a greater role than Linda in shaping the current regulatory framework of the rail industry, said George Joseph, Nossaman’s Managing Partner. She was a phenomenal lawyer, and an even more phenomenal person.

Before joining Nossaman in 2011, Ms. Morgan led the Transportation Practice Group at Covington & Burling.
In 1995, President Clinton appointed Ms. Morgan as the last Chair of the former Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC), which became the STB in 1996.  As Chair of both agencies, Ms. Morgan presided over numerous transportation regulatory proceedings, including rail rate and service matters and railroad merger cases of unprecedented national scope and complexity. In 1999, the Senate confirmed Ms. Morgan for a second term, and in 2001, President Bush asked for her continued service as Chair until he designated a new Chair in December 2002.

Before her tenure with the ICC/STB, Ms. Morgan served for 15 years as Counsel with the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, including serving as the first female General Counsel of the Committee‒a role she held for seven years. She worked very closely with the Committee’s Chair, Senator Ernest Fritz Hollings (D-SC), and was responsible for much of the legislation establishing the framework for today's surface transportation system.

She received her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1976, and her A.B. from Vassar College in 1973. In 1991, she completed the Program for Senior Managers in Government at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. She served on the Board of the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Board of Visitors for the Georgetown University Law Center and the Business Advisory Committee for Northwestern University’s Transportation Center. 

Ms. Morgan is survived by her husband, Michael Karam–who served as a senior trial attorney for the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice for nearly three decades--and a daughter, Meredith Karam. Mr. Karam  and Ms. Morgan met while both were students at Georgetown University Law Center, and were heavily involved with the school after their graduation, establishing two endowed scholarship funds for students attending the Law Center.

Linda’s contributions to the transportation industry were far-reaching and we were privileged to have her as a member of the Firm and our Infrastructure Practice Group.  She inspired us not only with how she approached her work, but also with how she lived her life, said Simon Santiago, the Leader of the East Coast operations for Nossaman’s Infrastructure Practice Group. Her presence will be missed, but the values she shared with us will remain.

Donations in Ms. Morgan’s memory can be made to Cancer Research at Sibley Memorial Hospital and Montgomery Hospice.

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