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Thomas R. DeCesar

Thomas DeCesar is a partner in the firm’s Harrisburg office. He focuses his practice on the following.


Tom’s litigation experience involves matters relating to commercial litigation, contract disputes, tort and product liability claims, constitutional issues, construction disputes, Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) defense, and energy/oil and gas-related litigation. He has litigated cases before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, the Middle, Eastern, and Western Federal District Courts of Pennsylvania, the Northern District of Illinois, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, and various Pennsylvania courts of common pleas. Tom has litigated cases at both the trial and appellate level.


Tom has experience with various federal regulatory compliance, contracting, and transaction issues in the transportation and intelligent transportation fields. His experience includes Department of Transportation compliance, including matters relating to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the Surface Transportation Board (STB). In addition, Tom has assisted several clients on aircraft and aviation-related acquisitions and sales, along with Part 91 compliance matters.

Unmanned Aircraft

Tom has provided legal counsel to a variety of clients on regulatory, legal, and contract-related issues involving the burgeoning unmanned aircraft industry (also known as UAS or “drones”). He has assisted clients on unmanned aircraft issues in the oil and gas, utility, telecommunications, unmanned aircraft-delivery, transportation, and retail sectors.

Prior to joining the firm, Tom was a law clerk for Judge Samuel G. Wilson for the United States Federal District Court in the Western District of Virginia. He also worked as a SLIP Intern for the Land Acquisition Section of the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, and for the United States Attorney’s office in Anchorage, Alaska.

  • Transportation Research Board, Emerging Technology Law Section (Young Member, 2017-2022)
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association, Aeronautical and Space Law Committee (Vice Chair, 2018-Present;Treasurer and Secretary, 2016-2018)
  • Marcellus Shale Coalition, Pipeline and Midstream Committee, Unmanned Aircraft System Working Group (Chair)
  • Dauphin County Bar Association
  • The Hon. William L. Lipsitt American Inn of Court (Former Member)
  • Opportunities and Pitfalls of State Drone Policies, Transportation Research Board Annual Workshop on Transportation Law (July 2018) (Moderator)
  • Drones, Commuter Planes and Helicopters – Drone Law Update, Midair Collisions and Other Advanced Drone Law Topics, PBA Annual Meeting (May 2018)
  • Legal and Regulatory Implications of Emerging Aviation Technologies, Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting (January 2018)
  • Drones and Disruption in the Health Care Field, K&L Gates Triage Podcast (November 2017)
  • Using Drones in Medicine, K&L Gates Triage Podcast (October 2017)
  • States and New Transportation Technologies: The Deployment and Regulation of Unmanned Aircraft, Transportation Research Board Annual Workshop on Transportation Law (July 2017)
  • Drones, Methane Detection Devices, and Other New Technologies: Legal Overview, PBI 9th Annual Oil and Gas Colloquium (June 2017)
  • 2016 Associated Pennsylvania Constructors/PennDOT Fall Seminar, Drones: Legal, Industry, and Insurance Aspects (November 2016)
  • Shale Insight 2016, The Sky’s the Limit: Unmanned Aircraft in the Natural Gas Industry (September 2016) (Moderator)
  • Reaching New Heights: An Overview of the Unmanned Aircraft Atmosphere for 2016 (June 2016)
  • FutureFlight Conference, The Regulation of Unmanned Aircraft – Present and Future (April 2016)
  • Aviation’s Next Frontier: UAS Outlook for 2016 (February 2016) (Moderator)
  • The Law of Commercial Unmanned Aircraft Systems, K&L Gates Webinar (October 2014)
  • Legal and Regulatory Issues related to Intelligent Transportation Systems and Automated Vehicles, Intelligent Transportation Systems & Automated Vehicle Summit, ICCVE 2013 Conference (December 2013)
Additional Thought Leadership Pages
Additional News & Event Pages
  • A Pennsylvania Law360, Real Estate Law360, and Tax Law360 article notes Harrisburg partner Thomas DeCesar is representing Pennsylvania American Water Co. in a tax suit.
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