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United States > Industry focus > Transport: shipping > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Transport: shipping
  2. Leading lawyers
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • George Kontakis - K&L Gates
    • Robert Magovern - Cozen O’Connor

Who Represents Who

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Blank Rome LLP’s ‘all-round excellent’ shipping and maritime practice combines an active litigation team with regulatory specialists and a particular expertise in shipping bankruptcies and restructuring. In one of the group’s most prominent contentious matters, New York-based John Kimball won a favorable settlement for Hyundai Merchant Marine regarding the largest containership loss ever, involving 4,382 cargo containers, all of which were lost off the coast of Yemen. Michael Bell, who works out of the firm’s Houston office, is retained by Chevron, alongside Washington DC-based Jeanne Grasso to handle all of the energy giant’s specialized shipping work. The team also handles a wide range of environmental and maritime regulatory compliance, and advised China Shipping Group on US regulatory compliance and commercial aspects relating to the transfer of its liner shipping business to China Ocean Shipping Group Company. Keith Letourneau is also recommended in the Houston office.

The lawyers at Cozen O’Connor have ‘impeccable knowledge’ of the maritime industry, and are ‘always helpful in anticipating issues and finding solutions to any impasse’ as they have extensive experience in every area of shipping and maritime law. Jointly headed by Jeffrey Lawrence and New York-based Geoffrey Ferrer, the team regularly provides antitrust and regulatory advice to international shipping and carrier companies and vessel-sharing groups. The group also handles contentious matters, and senior counsel Marc Fink defended a group of shippers and terminal operators, including Maersk Line and SSA Terminals, in a class action contesting the imposition of demurrage fees during a labor dispute between the port management and two workers’ organizations. Senior counsel Anne Mickey and Robert Magovern are also recommended; the former advised Nordea Bank Norge ASA as agent and trustee regarding a substantial senior secured term and revolving credit facility agreement. Unless otherwise stated, all named individuals are based in Washington DC.

The ‘first-class’ team at Freehill Hogan & Mahar LLP has specialized partners in nearly every conceivable area of shipping and maritime law, providing ‘outstanding legal strategy and swift results’. William Juska heads the department, which acts for all 13 of the insurance associations/P&I clubs that insure around 95% of the world’s shipping. Michael Fernandez and Gina Venezia represented Hapag-Lloyd, obtaining injunctive actions that prevented the arrest of certain vessels following the bankruptcy of OW Bunker; the team then successfully defended against an appeal by US Oil Trading in the Second Circuit. Don Murnane is representing Maersk Line in a $46m claim for damages to and loss of military cargos, which involves multiple applications of the US Carriage of Goods by Sea Act and dealing with governmental procurement agencies. Other notable members of the 16-partner team include Wayne Meehan, who specializes in accidents involving casualties, Daniel Fitzgerald and William Pallas.

With ‘deep shipping and maritime expertise, which is employed across a variety of legal issues’, Jones Walker LLP handles regulatory issues, administrative proceedings, finance matters and litigation. Department head Scott Jenkins and Bob Lemon provide advice on issues including Jones Act compliance, environmental regulations and US Coast Guard proceedings to ship-owners, operators and engineering companies. Litigators Glenn Goodier and James Wright III have represented clients such as transportation companies, vessel owners and charterers in large oil spill-related litigation and sensitive personal injury cases. Kelly Duncan advises Tri-Marine International on a range of US-flagging issues as well as title XI vessel financing. In 2016, the team also handled restructuring matters and a variety of mega-yacht-related work.

K&L Gates’ maritime department has deep regulatory experience in areas such as US vessel flagging, international trade, environmental compliance and cabotage laws. Boston-based Jeffrey King advised Tote on investigations by the US Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigations and National Transportation Board of Investigations into one of the largest marine vessel casualty accidents in recent years. In Washington DC, department head Mark Ruge acts for Matson Navigation Company in a range of regulatory and transactional matters, and advised on the client’s most recent build contract in 2016. Two highly regarded litigators, Michael Chalos and associate George Kontakis (both in New York), are representing a client involved in the international commodities space in pending arbitration. Washington DC-based Emanuel Rouvelas advises one of the firm’s longest-standing clients, the Transportation Institute, on free trade negotiations, promoting US-flagged fleets.

John Padgett leads the ‘top-class’ transportation department at McGuireWoods LLP, which is particularly active for shipping logistics companies and port and terminal operators. Indeed, the Virginia-based department head regularly advises APM Terminals of North America, and has formidable experience in Jones Act compliance and all relevant aspects of international trade, flagging and customs laws. As part of a move to focus more on technology and logistics, Lisa Ormand Taylor joined the firm from XPO Logistics, where she served as vice president, assistant general counsel. In addition to the broad regulatory offering, the team is advising on a litany of supply chain and freight agreements, financings and shipyard projects, acting, for example, for Colonna’s Shipyard in relation to the construction and transportation of a dry dock from a Turkish shipyard. The group is also poised to handle contentious work, and is currently involved in such matters as an insurance arbitration following an accident at a port, and representing a shipping group in a payment dispute.

Reed Smith LLP’s New York-based shipping practice focuses on vessel finance, restructuring and bankruptcy, and litigation and arbitration. Counsel Jane Sarma has worked closely with the firm’s London office, acting as Marshall Islands counsel for a private equity fund and an international bank regarding multiple separate secured loans and restructurings. With a specialization in international commercial shipping transactions, Greg Chase acted for a hedge fund as facility agent and senior lender in the $102.4m term loan credit facility for four platform supply vessels for use in the Mexican offshore market. On the contentious side, counsel Lars Forsberg is representing various corporates in matters ranging from vessel damages to port delays, and also advised on a DOJ investigation.

Led out of Washington DC, Winston & Strawn LLP’s maritime and admiralty team displays ‘broad knowledge’ of the ‘complex regulatory landscape’ governing international shipping. Practice head Charlie Papavizas and Allen Black have ‘sound working relationships with the regulatory agencies’, and act for clients such as Liberty Maritime Corporation, which the team represents before congressional and other agencies to promote and protect government programs, such as US flag international trade. In 2016, the group has been particularly active in litigation and arbitration; Larry Kiern, Bryant Gardner and Gerald Morrissey successfully represented Maher Terminals before the Federal Maritime Commission and the US Court of Appeals in a dispute with the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey regarding unlawful discrimination in violation of the Shipping Act. In addition to regulatory, governmental policy and contentious work, the team handles related environmental compliance, commercial contracts and vessel financing.

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