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It was long and sometimes turbulent, but Lawrence Nagin‘s career as an in-house aviation lawyer ended with a soft landing. In April the former general counsel of US Airways, Inc., and United Airlines, Inc., joined the New York office of Los Angeles’s O’Melveny & Myers as of counsel.

The move came more than a year after Nagin, 62, stepped down as general counsel of Arlington, Virginia�based US Airways. Before joining the now-bankrupt airline in 1996, Nagin served six years as general counsel of UAL Corp., the parent of United Airlines. For most of the 1980s, he was the top lawyer at The Flying Tiger Line Inc., a cargo carrier later sold to FedEx Corporation.

Nagin first planned to retire at the end of 2000, when UAL had hoped to acquire US Airways, and Nagin knew that if the deal went through, he’d be out of the job. But regulators blocked that transaction, on antitrust grounds, and then the September 11 terrorist attacks hit. So Nagin’s exit was delayed until March 2002.

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