Transport: shipping - litigation and regulation in United States

Blank Rome LLP

A ‘go-to team in the US for shipping‘, Blank Rome LLP handles the full gamut of shipping disputes, while fielding a maritime emergency response team to respond to pollution-related incidents. The firm also enjoys strong relationships with the shipping industry’s regulatory agencies. Co-chairing the ‘impressive‘ national maritime and international trade practice are William Bennett III, whose track record includes significant maritime casualties; Washington DC-based shipping regulatory specialist Jeanne Grasso; and Houston-based maritime litigator Keith Letourneau. Also integral to the practice are Thomas Belknap Jr, who focuses on cargo damage claims, and shipping contract, salvage and charterparty disputes; Houston-based shipping market expert Michael Bell, John Kimball, Richard Singleton II, Philadelphia-based Jeffrey Moller and Douglas Shoemaker in Houston, who are all widely respected litigators. Other regulatory experts to note are Matthew Thomas  and Jonathan Waldron in DC. Another highly-rated practitioners include Houston-based Jeremy Herschaft, who is ‘always on top of cases‘, and shipping litigator Lauren Wilgus. Zachary Cain in Houston and Noe Hamra are experienced senior associates, while DC’s Dana Merkel is an experienced associate. All attorneys are based in New York, unless otherwise stated.


Blank Rome has the go-to team in the US for shipping.

They have critical mass, diversity and they cover every aspect of shipping, from regulatory to claims and litigation (in both wet and dry) – and from different offices they cover the entire country. The setup is simply impressive.

Blank Rome has a great breadth of offering across many key states in the US, providing shipping, commodities, energy and sanctions expertise, which are of great interest to us and our clients.

The team comprises great lawyers, such as the legendary John Kimball and recently elected partner Lauren Wilgus – they deliver impressive work.

William Bennett III and Lauren Wilgus have provided excellent service to our trading clients. They have great procedural and legal expertise, offer incredibly prompt advice, and are extremely pleasant and easy to work with.

Richard Singleton II is a seasoned litigator, who is always able to cut through to the important parts of a dispute and focus on the important issues.

Thomas Belknap Jr is a sharp litigator, and will give you an honest answer from the very beginning.

Jeremy Herschaft works hard and is always on top of cases, providing a standout service for the cases he handles. You feel very safe when he is involved.

Key clients

Cargill Ocean Transport

Carnival Corporation



Dominion Energy

Gulf Stream Marine

Horizon Lines



Atlantic Trading & Marketing


Work highlights

  • Representing the Alnic, its owner, and vessel manager Stealth Maritime in a case that arose out of a major 2017 collision between a Navy destroyer (the USS John McCain) and the Alnic.
  • Representing a US government contractor in a breach of fuel supply contract dispute with the Government of Haiti.
  • Assisted global cruise ship operator Carnival with navigating immense Covid-19-related regulatory challenges.

Freehill Hogan & Mahar LLP

Freehill Hogan & Mahar LLP‘s New York-based practice has represented a number of P&I clubs on a long-standing basis. ‘A specialized firm that excels in maritime law‘, it routinely handles major casualties, with other areas of expertise including maritime-related personal injury defense claims, US sanctions, and maritime criminal defense work. The principal figures are Peter Gutowski, whose recent work includes defeating alleged force majeur defenses; longstanding maritime law expert Don Murnane; Wayne Meehan, who specializes in major casualties; John Karpousis, ‘an expert in his field who gets results‘; and ‘excellent attorneyMichael Fernandez. Also highly regarded are marine personal injury and death cases specialist Thomas Canevari, and William Pallas, who focuses on intermodal cargo loss and damage cases. Up-and-coming names in the team include experienced litigator Justin Nastro, Daniel Fitzgerald who specializes in marine casualties and oil spills, and large case expert Eric Matheson. Maritime litigator Will Yost was made partner in January 2022, while Tanner Honea, Yaakov Adler and Michael Dehart are key associates. Former partner Gina Venezia departed the firm in March 2021 for an in-house position.

Practice head(s):

Wayne Meehan


A specialized firm that excels in maritime law and provides great results for a reasonable price. The firm is very experienced, and works well collectively to provide the best legal defense available.

The firm stands out, even among the best law firms, because of its true dedication to clients and understanding of their business. Everyone at the firm works to ensure the best legal representation available, and it operates with integrity and client satisfaction. They don’t focus on the billing or how much money they can make, but rather the outcome.

The firm adapted to technology and COVID without missing a beat. It was creative in managing clients’ expectations, and accommodated both clients’ and employee requests so as to keep everyone safe.

We had a very positive experience working with Don Murnane on US government contracts.

John Karpousis is an outstanding lawyer who works tirelessly to ensure his clients get the best defense possible. He is very thorough in his investigation of each matter, and he collaborates with his partners, associates and clients to ensure that he is always ahead of opponents.

John Karpousis leaves no stone unturned when evaluating a case, so that he can advise on the best route to resolve it. John has an outstanding relationship with opposing counsel and many of the judges – an expert in his field who gets results.

Michael Fernandez is an excellent attorney, who is always available and very knowledgeable about the shipping business.

Associates Michael Dehart and Tanner Honea are always up to date on cases.

Key clients

West of England P&I Club

Britannia P&I Club

Maersk Line



Thomas Miller (Americas)

McAllister Towing & Transportation

Crowley Marine Corp

Standard Steamship P&I

Bouchard Transportation Co

Signal Mutual Indemnity

China Ocean Shipping

Great Lakes Dredge & Drydock Company

Stolt-Nielsen Transportation Group

Gard (North America)

Mediterranean Shipping Company

Eres NV

Liberty International Underwriters

Trevcon Construction Co


Chipolte Mexican Grill

Hornblower New York

Luzar Trading

CSX Transportation

Blackboard Insurance

CV Starr DBA Group

NYC Department of Transportation

CNA Insurance

K&L Gates

K&L Gates‘ ‘top-flight' team is routinely turned to for its US and international maritime industry and regulatory capabilities, advising clients on arrests, attachments and seizures of vessels and cargo, along with cargo claims, vessel collisions, allisions and groundings. It also covers personal injury and death matters, marine insurance claims, maritime contractual disputes, and piracy. Boston-based practice head Jeffrey King focuses on commercial litigation and arbitration involving maritime and transportation matters, while Emanuel Rouvelas has longstanding experience in advising global shipping companies’ CEOs. Also highly regarded are ‘brilliant strategistMark Ruge; co-leader of the policy and regulatory practice Michael Scanlon; William Myhre, who has over 40 years’ experience in representing maritime clients; and the ‘strategic and detail-oriented Darrell Conner. Elsewhere, New York-based George Kontakis handles both commercial and criminal matters, Boston’s Luke Reid‘s workload covers maritime investigations and litigation alongside environmental regulatory compliance, while Jorge Romero regularly assists with compliance issues. The associate pool includes Elle Stuart and Luke Steinberger, along with Ifigeneia Xanthopoulou in New York. All attorneys named are the in firm’s Washington DC office, unless otherwise stated.


I can’t say enough good things about the K&L team! They are top-flight professionals, as well as people of unimpeachable integrity and candor.

They give their profession a good name!

The K&L Gates team helps our trade association with antitrust guidance, lobbying and legal transportation issues. They act like part of our team, almost like they are our in house counsel.

The combination of skill, connections, integrity and personal qualities make K&L an easy team to work with.

The individuals we work with are responsive, dedicated, knowledgeable and very human. They really connect with our team members and manage us through difficult situations.

Mark Ruge is a brilliant strategist, forward thinker, and awesome human being with a collaborative approach.

Darrell Conner is strategic and detail oriented – he knows his stuff better than anyone. Great guy!

Key clients

SCIH Salt Holdings

Kissner Group Holdings


Global Ports Group

MostonTR Pazarlama

Ripley Entertainment

VanEnkevort Tug & Barge

American Maritime Partnership (f/k/a Maritime Cabotage Task Force)

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings


American Seafoods Company

Clyde & Co LLP

Clyde & Co LLP is widely recognized for its marine insurance sector-related litigation and arbitration credentials, with the team offering vast experience in claims involving hull, liability, cargo and pollution issues, leveraging specialisms in sanctions, insolvency, war risk, loss of earnings and environmental matters. Notable work also includes investigations concerning marine and industrial facility casualties, as well as marine-related regulatory work. Practice co-head John Woods is routinely sought out for large-value international disputes, while fellow co-lead John Keough‘s recent experience includes acting in a large P&I casualty matter. Conte Cicala in San Francisco is also a leader in the team, who focuses on maritime, transportation, commercial and insurance litigation, with sanctions and disputes specialist Corey Greenwald also a key name. Senior counsel George Cornell represents insurers in marine casualty-related claims. All named attorneys are based in the firm’s New York office unless stated otherwise.

Other key lawyers:

Corey Greenwald; George Cornell


Great collaboration with this firm.

They have a very good understanding of the London insurance market and particularly the nuances of the Lloyd’s market.

The success we have had with the firm speaks for itself.

John Wood’s advice is always timely and well balanced. He understands our business and appreciates the tensions of a commercial environment when dealing with legal matters.

We have worked with John Woods from the inception of our company. Because of our syndicate structure, we need counsel that is sensitive to subscriber issues. It is not unusual to find ourselves in cases where a subscriber is on the opposite side, and these situations require market awareness. John possesses this and it is very valuable to us.

John Keough is a user-friendly and great collaborator.

Cozen O'Connor

Cozen O’Connor is known for its assistance with regulatory issues, maritime activity-related US sanctions, and Jones Act and other US cabotage laws. The firm also has a significant track record in major maritime litigation. Chairing the transportation and trade practice, Jeffrey Lawrence regularly acts before Washington DC-based federal transportation and trade agencies, as well as before foreign governments and international organizations. Lawrence and up-and-coming partner Robert Magovern are both praised by clients as ‘knowledgeable and highly competent‘. In New York, practice vice chair Geoffrey Ferrer is a US and non-US flag shipping expert, while Christopher Raleigh‘s practice covers maritime disputes. Other names to note are regulatory and investigations specialist Wayne RohdeJoshua Stein, and Jeff Vogel, along with associate Matthew Howell , who all handle regulatory issues. All attorneys mentioned are based in DC unless stated otherwise. Donald Kassilke retired from the practice in October 2021.


Outstanding expertise in shipping and with an excellent network.

Cozen O’Connor is a professional, proactive, assertive, well-organized and structured law firm that has a large network of resources and contacts. It is client focused and with excellent leadership.

A great brand name and reputation.

Few firms have the breadth and strength in depth that Cozen O’Connor has in shipping litigation and regulation.

A firm that continues to regard shipping as a core practice; and, unlike many, it is continuing to expand in this area, consolidating its position as one of the standout leaders in this field.

Jeffrey Lawrence and Robert Magovern are knowledgeable and highly competent. They have a positive attitude and are modest, good listeners, who are hardworking, persevere, stay focused, and are respectful to their clients.

Key clients

Consolidated Chassis Management

National Association of Waterfront Employers

West Coast Marine Terminal Operators Agreement

World Shipping Council

TOTE Services

Hornbeck Offshore Operators

Energy Transfer Partners

Evergreen Shipping Agency (America) Corp

Billybey Marina Services

Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association

COSCO Shipping Lines Co

Evergreen Line Joint Service Agreement FMC No 011982


Maersk A/S

MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company

Ocean Network Express Pte

Wan Hai Lines

Zim Integrated Shipping Services

Geodis Americas


Work highlights

  • Representing several entities, including Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association, Consolidated Chassis Management, CMA CGM and COSCO Shipping Lines Co (among others), in seeking to have the Federal Maritime Commission rule that ocean carriers’ alleged practices for their contracts for intermodal chassis violate the Shipping Act of 1984.
  • Representing TOTE Services as prime contractor/vessel construction manager for the Maritime Administration’s National Security Multi-Mission Vessel program.
  • Assisting World Shipping Council with the analysis of federal legislation and federal agency activity that are relevant to the container shipping industry.

Jones Walker LLP

Jones Walker LLP‘s New Orleans-based team is highly rated for its representation of clients from every segment of the maritime industry, including the brown water, blue water and offshore energy sectors. Clients also regularly turn to the department to assist in relation to major disasters. Scott Jenkins heads up the maritime practice group, while maritime regulatory team head Richard Bertram has great experience in admiralty and maritime law. Other key figures are George Fowler III, a widely recognized trial lawyer; Etienne Balart, who acts for terminals, shipyards and vessel operators in litigation; and Grady Hurley, who co-heads the maritime litigation and arbitration team alongside Jefferson Tillery. The up-and-coming Hansford Wogan‘s practice covers maritime litigation, while maritime disputes specialist Jennifer David and Sara Kuebel are key associates to note.

Key clients

Gulf Marine Fabricators


Martin Products

Enterprise Products Partners

Southern Recycling

Alabama Shipyard

Port of New Orleans

Canal Barge Company

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation

CGB Enterprises

Cooper Consolidated

Carnival Corporation & plc


Freeport McMoRan

Seward & Kissel LLP

Praised for its ‘first-class service’, Seward & Kissel LLP represents an array of publicly-held and private shipping companies, along with shipping banks, owners and investors. The New York-based practice consistently acts in disputes arising from financings, shipping securities and governance issues, as well as vessel operations. The firm’s maritime litigators are also able to leverage the expertise of the firm’s robust US maritime corporate practice. Bruce G Paulsen co-chairs the firm’s litigation group alongside government investigations specialist Michael G Considine. ‘At the very top of his field’, Paulsen routinely handles complex maritime disputes, while counsel Brian Maloney, ‘excellent at cutting through to the detail’, litigates commercial disputes and manages regulatory investigations. Key associate Laura Miller‘s practice covers maritime litigation and regulatory inquiries.

Other key lawyers:

Brian Maloney; Laura Miller


‘Seward & Kissel are market leaders in the US, and their reputation is well deserved.’

A first-class service, with strength and depth from the bench.’

‘S&K is able to staff its teams with competent lawyers from diverse legal backgrounds (such as admiralty and maritime law and bankruptcy law) to grapple with complex problems in the transport and shipping sector.’

‘Bruce Paulsen is an industry veteran, and first class in his knowledge and performance.’

‘Bruce Paulsen is at the very top of his field – anything in this area I refer to him.’

‘Bruce Paulsen and counsel Brian Maloney are very capable, high-calibre, international admiralty attorneys, who are easy to work with, always available and deliver sound advice.’

‘Bruce Paulsen and Brian Maloney are highly competent and extremely hardworking.’

‘Brian Maloney is excellent at cutting through to the detail and focusing on the important matters – very responsive and with very good turnaround times.’

Key clients

Commodities & Minerals Enterprise


Blue Wall Shipping

Sea Justice

Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries

American Bureau of Shipping

Sargeant Bulk Asphalt

Work highlights

  • Advised ING Bank in coordinating its national strategy, in relation to several dozen maritime arrest and interpleader actions.
  • Represented Commodities & Minerals Enterprise in obtaining large-value awards in two maritime arbitrations.
  • Represented Blue Wall Shipping in obtaining summary judgment in defence of a vessel attachment proceeding.

Winston & Strawn LLP

Winston & Strawn LLP‘s Washington DC-based practice is sought out for particularly challenging maritime matters involving US government policy, regulations, enforcement work and litigation. It has longstanding experience in representing port authorities and marine terminal operators in disputes before the Federal Maritime Commission. The team also has extensive expertise in the application of Jones Act laws to cargo, passenger, and vessel movements, and investments in US companies. Maritime and admiralty practice chair Charlie Papavizas is widely regarded for his experience in the regulatory issues that impact upon the emerging US offshore wind industry. Bryant Gardner‘s recent work includes assisting ZIM Integrated Shipping Services with multiple regulatory compliance matters.

Practice head(s):

Charlie Papavizas

Other key lawyers:

Bryant Gardner


Winston & Strawn LLP is clearly an industry leader in the maritime sector.

Their overall industry knowledge, professionalism and experience are second to none.

The individuals I engage with our extremely well respected in the industry. Other carriers look to Winston & Strawn to take the lead on various initiatives, and solicit their opinions and viewpoints regularly.

Key clients

American Cruise Lines

Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile

ZIM Integrated Shipping Services

Heung-A-Shipping Co

Holland America Group

Carnival Corporation


Liberty Maritime Corporation

Work highlights

  • Representing Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile in relation to cross-border, charterparty and supply contract disputes involving issues of detention, force majeure, supply chain disruption, green new energy technologies, and decarbonization.
  • Assisting ZIM Integrated Shipping Services (and its affiliated entities Marine Shipp Fast and Ship4wd) with the development of a market-forward, end-to-end digital shipping portal.
  • Representing Pennantia in connection with the acquisition of 18 vessels (out of the Bouchard Transportation Co bankruptcy proceedings), which included formulating and executing a winning bid on valuable Jones Act vessels.

Holland & Knight LLP

Holland & Knight LLP‘s New York-based practice is increasingly sought out to handle global maritime incidents that have a US-related impact. The team includes experts in the full range of maritime issues, ranging from antitrust, to sanctions, energy, environmental law and tax. It also assists with shipping regulatory issues on an ongoing basis. National co-chair of the transportation and infrastructure industry sector group, Christopher Nolan, is ‘a standout maritime lawyer‘; and Michael Frevola‘s track record includes maritime arbitrations and court proceedings. Former national maritime practice leader, James Hohenstein, left the firm in July 2021.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Nolan


Hands-on advice, very responsive, and an eye for detail.

Efficient, responsive and user friendly.

Christopher Nolan is a standout maritime lawyer.

Christopher Nolan has a sharp legal mind and is very good with clients.

Key clients

Tatiana Akhmedova

Hapag Lloyd

Fujairah International Oil & Gas Corporation

Seawolf Tankers

Fluence Energy


New York Terminal Conference

Tacoma Marine

Cruise Lines International Association

Work highlights

  • Represented Seawolf Tankers as time charterer in relation to oil tanker Ridgebury Progress suffering a series of mechanical issues, breakdowns and delays.
  • Representing Duron in a multi-party and multi-jurisdictional dispute.
  • Representing an international cruise line association in relation to Federal Maritime Commission rulemaking on passenger fare refunds for cancelled cruises.

McGuireWoods LLP

McGuireWoods LLP advises on the resolution of regulatory challenges for the operation of transportation assets, as well as the securing of government permits for maritime infrastructure projects. It also offers expertise in Jones Act compliance, along with recently enacted federal government trade regulations that impact on shipping practices. Norfolk-based maritime sector chair John D. Padgett consistently acts for tug boat and shipping companies, in addition to handling litigation involving cargo damage, charter disputes and transportation issues. In Pittsburgh, transportation industry team chair Bryan Brantley is an all-round litigator who has transportation sector experience at national level.

Practice head(s):

Bryan Brantley; John Padgett

Key clients

United Launch Alliance

Continental Tire

Work highlights

  • Assisted United Launch Alliance with structuring the acquisition of a vessel  to comply with Jones Act ownership thresholds.
  • Advising Continental Tire in addressing customs regulations that govern the international supply chain for goods imported into the US.

Thompson Hine LLP

Thompson Hine LLP routinely represents shipping companies and intermediaries in relation to policy and rulemaking matters concerning the Shipping Act of 1984, including Federal Maritime Commission regulations. The team has also been heavily involved in efforts to reform US statutes governing cargo loss and damage at sea. Washington DC-based practice leader Karyn Booth assists multinationals, trade associations and transportation intermediaries with both domestic and international issues involving multimodal transportation and logistics services. In Columbus, senior counsel Dan Ujczo‘s workload covers ocean and barge transportation, while transportation specialist Jason Tutrone was elevated to the partnership in January 2022.

Practice head(s):

Karyn Booth

Other key lawyers:

Dan Ujczo; Jason Tutrone

Key clients

Costco Wholesale Corporation

Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries

National Association of Chemicals Distributors

The Coalition for Fair Port Practices

The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company

The National Industrial Transportation League

Work highlights

  • Advising the National Industrial Transportation League in relation to major port congestion and supply chain disruptions occurring in the US.
  • Advising a big box retail store in relation to global supply chain disruptions, lack of adequate vessel capacity and port congestion.
  • Assisting a home appliance company with resolving a dispute with various vessel operating ocean carriers, non-vessel operating ocean carriers and Class-I railroads, in relation to demurrage, detention and storage charges.

Zeiler Floyd Zadkovich

Zeiler Floyd Zadkovich‘s New York-based practice acts across the full range of shipping contract disputes, cargo claims, general average issues, collisions, and allisions. It also assists with sanctions compliance, personal injury and wrongful death defense, insurance, and vessel arrests and asset seizures. Edward Floyd focuses on international disputes involving the shipping and commodities trading industries, and fellow founding partner Luke Zadkovich is a maritime and international commodity sector specialist. In Chicago, Timothy McGovern has notable maritime and transportation expertise, while commercial disputes partner Joseph Johnson joined in New York from Dunnington, Bartholomew & Miller in 2021.

Practice head(s):

Edward Floyd; Luke Zadkovich