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Blank Rome LLP’s maritime group ‘stands out at the top of the league’. Headed by New York-based John Kimball, the litigation team handles shipping a maritime disputes nationwide and has particular expertise in maritime arbitration. In addition to representing ship owners in multiple cases of fatal crash litigation, the group has experience of maritime bankruptcies, treasure salvage cases, catastrophic environmental claims and maritime-related cybersecurity. In the Houston office, Michael Bell and Douglas Shoemaker represented Chevron in a Gulf Coast-related arbitration. Keith Letourneau is another Houston-based contact. Thomas Belknap practices in the New York office, while Emma Jones is a recommended associate in Washington DC.

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IP specialist Finnegan detail how their collaborative approach makes for a unique culture which is designed to allow them to work with clients in a way which is cognizant of the challenges facing all companies today.

William Juska heads the department at Freehill Hogan & Mahar LLP, which is among the most recognizable names in the US maritime space; the team, which handles the full range of contentious matters, acts for 13 of the world’s P&I clubs, as well as many of the leading shipowners. John Karpousis defended the New York State Thruway Authority in a case arising from the collision of a pleaure craft with a moored construction barge, resulting in the deaths of several of the passengers; the plaintiffs alleged that negligent lighting of the barge contributed to the deaths. Wayne Meehan also has experience in fatal crash litigation. Other key figures include John Walsh, of counsel Mark Muller and Thomas Canevari, who specialize in personal injury defense; William Pallas and Michael Unger, who are noted for their expertise defending criminal maritime and environmental charges; and Jan Gisholt and Eric Matheson, who were made partners in 2017.

The maritime department at K&L Gates is sought after for maritime arbitration, complex commercial litigation and collision and casualty-related disputes and investigations. Jeffrey King has considerable experience of personal injury and crash litigation and works with clients such as BestRev and Crane Co. Most notably, King is representing Tote in parallel regulatory investigations and federal liability claims following the largest US marine vessel casualty since the 1980s. Michael Chalos heads the New York team and has been involved in various arbitrations, criminal investigations and a complex cross-border ship arrest and subsequent contract dispute. Also recommended are New York-based associates George Kontakis and Michael Lignos, and Boston-based counsel Luke Reid, who is experienced in environmental disputes.

Known for ‘going above and beyond client expectations’, Clyde & Co LLP’s marine litigation group is ‘extremely knowledgeable of the industry’ and has particular expertise in marine insurance litigation and arbitration. Joe Walsh, who leads the department out of the Long Beach office and is noted for his ‘impressive knowledge and invaluable industry contacts’, is defending a group of vessel owners in a matter resulting from a fuel spill in the Port of Los Angeles. San Francisco-based Conte Cicala has ‘deep knowledge of the maritime industry’ and has a track record handling charterparty disputes and marine insurance claims. Key figures in New York include John Woods and John Keough, who has experience of marine bankruptcy. James Koelzer joined the firm’s newly opened Los Angeles office from Robins Kaplan LLP.

Cozen O'Connor is regularly called on to handle complex commercial cases, charterparty disputes, and insurance and subrogation claims. The firm is also noted for its experience in maritime-related ADR. David Loh defended a freight forwarder, Gosselin, in a $45m cargo claim following an on-board fire. The team also has experience in major accident litigation and environmental claims; Christopher Raleigh represented International Matex Tank Terminal and AIG Energy and Engineered Risks in multiple arrests and liability disputes following collisions. Christopher Kende focuses on maritime arbitration and represented Bureau Veritas in a multimillion-dollar contract dispute. All lawyers mentioned are based in New York.

Jones Walker LLP demonstrates ‘high-level expertise across a wide range of maritime disputes’, including mediation and arbitration. Based in New Orleans, the firm is uniquely positioned to handle major disputes along the Mississippi River and in the US Gulf and has deep-seated experience in oil pollution and environmental damage cases. Jefferson Tillery represented a marine towing company in a case concerning a vessel collision and subsequent oil spill along the Mississippi River. William Wynne acted for an insurer in a mass personal injury suit. Scott Jenkins heads the department, which includes Wayne Zeringue, who has experience of contract litigation, Kelly Duncan, and Robert Lemon.

From its Washington DC office Winston & Strawn LLP handles major contract litigation and regulatory proceedings for a variety of clients in the shipping industry, including terminal operators and ocean transportation companies. Bryant Gardner and Gerald Morrissey successfully represented Maher Terminals against the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey in a claim of unlawful discrimination under the Shipping Act. Department head Charlie Papavizas successfully defended Global Marketing Systems in a dispute regarding the existence of an enforceable JV contract to acquire and operate a fleet of shipping vessels. Additional clients include Schuyler Line Navigation and Santa Fe Discount Cruise Parking.

King & Spalding LLP’s transport litigation team was significantly strengthened by the arrival of Joseph Akrotirianakis, who joined the firm’s Los Angeles office from Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo in 2017. Akrotirianakis represents shipping companies and marine terminal operators in contract litigation, environmental law cases and major labor disputes. The firm also leverages its Washington DC-based antitrust department to handle shipping cartel investigations. Everport Terminal Services is among the department’s key clients.

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