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James E. Mackler

718 Thompson Lane
Suite 108-438
Nashville, Tennessee 37204


James focuses his practice on advising businesses, governments, and investors on the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). He works with clients on various regulatory, compliance, and litigation elements of UAS usage ("drone law") across a variety of applications including hospitality, real estate, insurance, construction, security, video production, energy, manufacturing, and surveying.

Previously, James served eight years of active duty in the U.S. Army. After spending seven years developing a successful private legal practice in Colorado, James was inspired by the events of September 11, 2001 to join the military. He spent three years as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot with the 101st Airborne Division, including a one-year deployment to Iraq. James earned his Parachutists Badge, Combat Action Badge, Air Medal and an Army Achievement Medal during his time in the Army. He also (barely) survived the Army’s rigorous Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape training.

As a former senior trial counsel for the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, James led a team of 12 prosecutors in the investigation and prosecution of cases involving financial fraud, kidnapping, rape and murder. James has tried approximately 40 highly contested court martials and countless administrative hearings.

James continues to serve as an attorney in the Tennessee Air National Guard, and he also holds a commercial helicopter pilot's certificate. In 2017, he briefly left practice to campaign for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, garnering national headlines for his Believe in Service initiative.

Reported Cases

  • Boggs v. Merideth, 3:2016cv00006, Western District of Kentucky, 2017. Represented Plaintiff in first and only Federal case involving a "drone shoot-down" incident. The case addressed private property rights as they relate to the use of airspace by unmanned aircraft.

Related Industries

Related Practices


  • B.A., Public Policy Studies, Duke University, 1994
  • J.D., University of Washington, 1997

Bar Admissions

  • Tennessee, 2006
  • Colorado, 1997