William L. Godfrey

Area of Emphasis

Will Godfrey is Director, Mobility, Automation and Safety in the Firm’s Washington, D.C. office. He is a member of the Mobility, Transport and Safety Group, Transportation Safety Group, and Energy and Natural Resources Group.

A former General Motors vehicle engineer, production manager and senior U.S. federal regulatory chief at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)/U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Mr. Godfrey is a uniquely qualified senior technical and strategic advisor, integrated with our best in class mobility, transport and safety team to deliver full-stack solutions to clients’ problems – solutions that integrate technical and engineering know-how with legal insight to expand business opportunities.

Mr. Godfrey helps clients achieve their business goals and navigate obstacles by applying a current and detailed understanding of the federal government’s approach to transportation safety regulation (particularly motor vehicles), including its programs, processes, and personnel, having spent nearly a decade at NHTSA/DOT in various leadership capacities, including serving as Chief of NHTSA’s Trends and Analysis Division, Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) and as a senior advisor to the NHTSA Administrator.

Recognized within the industry for effectively working with corporate executives, senior officials and fellow engineers, Mr. Godfrey provides manufacturers, suppliers, start-ups, emerging market entrants, technology companies, and government entities with strategic leadership and advice to promote safety, innovation, product quality, competitive analysis, streamlining and cost-savings. He works with clients in critical motor vehicle safety and related regulatory matters, certification standards, homologation, legislative activities, compliance, importation, policy advisement, enforcement actions, defect investigations, remedial action, recall management, automated driving systems, cybersecurity, product execution strategies, innovative safety approaches, best practices, organizational development, and risk management strategies.


As NHTSA’s Trends and Analysis Division Chief, Mr. Godfrey led the oversight, analysis, and investigation of more than 1,100 vehicle, equipment, tire, motorcycle, and child car seat manufacturers globally, including TREAD Act/Early Warning Reporting Program and the integration of new, data-driven techniques. As a senior policy advisor to the NHTSA Administrator, he led the agency’s comprehensive reorganization of the NHTSA Office of Defects Investigation (ODI). He was tapped to represent the NHTSA Administrator in a host of high-profile matters with industry, associations, and foreign governments. Mr. Godfrey collaboratively led some of the largest enforcement actions involving the two largest product recalls totaling over 10 million vehicles affected. Across DOT Mr. Godfrey also led teams in matters involving multimodal operations, including the Federal Motor Carrier Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Highway Administration, and as well as work with the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Prior to his federal service, Mr. Godfrey worked at General Motors as a vehicle engineer and production manager for various vehicle and equipment platforms. Among other things, he led programs in quality control, research and development, production, distribution, licensing, sales and service.  

Mr. Godfrey received a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Engineering and Technology cum laude from Southern Illinois University. He earned a certificate from the Graduate School USA, Washington D.C. for the Federal Senior Executive Leadership Development Program in Management.

Mr. Godfrey is not an attorney.

  • Presenter (Scheduled), “Automated/Autonomous Driving Systems (ADS) Innovation Boot Camp for Automotive Product Liability Litigators,” ACI National Advanced Forum on Automotive Product Liability Litigation, Chicago, IL, July 18, 2018.
  • Panelist, Automated Driving Systems Conference, Washington, D.C., June 2018.