Transport: shipping - litigation and regulation in United States

Blank Rome LLP

Blank Rome LLP's maritime litigation practice handles all kinds of shipping disputes, both domestically and internationally. In addition to its leading shipping bankruptcy and maritime investigations practices, the firm stands out for its dedicated maritime emergency response team, which is active in pollution-related incidents. William Bennett III and Houston's Keith Letourneau ('an excellent shipping litigator with very good industry knowledge'), along with experienced shipping regulatory lawyer Jeanne Grasso in Washington DC, are the firm-wide maritime and international trade practice co-chairs. John Kimball heads the litigation practice in New York; and Michael Bell leads the shipping practice in Houston, where Douglas Shoemaker focuses on complex maritime litigation. Also highly rated are DC-based shipping regulatory attorney Jonathan Waldron, along with co-chairs of the maritime industry team, Matthew Thomas (also in DC), Thomas Belknap and Richard Singleton. At the more junior level of the partnership, Houston-based Jeremy Herschaft's litigation practice includes charterparty and terminal operator disputes, cargo claims and maritime casualties. International and maritime litigation and ADR specialist Lauren Wilgus was promoted to partner in January 2020. In Houston, associate Dana Merkel focuses on maritime regulatory work. All attorneys are based in New York, unless otherwise stated.

Practice head(s):

Michael Bell; John Kimball; Jeanne Grasso; William Bennett III; Keith Letourneau

Other key lawyers:

Douglas Shoemaker; Jonathan Waldron; Matthew Thomas; Thomas Belknap; Richard Singleton; Douglas Shoemaker; Keith Letourneau; Jeremy Herschaft; Lauren Wilgus; Dana Merkel; Gregory Linsin; Jeffrey Moller


Keith Letourneau is an excellent shipping litigator with very good industry knowledge.

Key clients

American Eagle Tankers

Carnival Corporation



Dominion Energy

Gulf Stream Marine

Minerva Marine

Seabridge Marine Services

Subsea 7

Vineyard Wind


Gulf Stream Marine


Mediterranean Shipping Company


NuStar Energy

Oceaneering International

Par Petroleum

Rand Logistics


Atlantic Trading & Marketing


APL (American President Lines)

Bouchard Transportation

Cargill Ocean Transport

Carnival Corporation

Chevron Shipping


Horizon Lines

Odyssey Marine Exploration

Pan Ocean (America)

Zodiac Maritime

Work highlights

  • Represented Dominion Energy in relation to the first newbuild wind turbine installation vessel to be built in the US, which was notable from a regulatory perspective because it represented the US’ first Jones Act-compliant offshore wind installation vessel.
  • Successfully represented COSCO, the huge Chinese state-owned shipping line, in a first-of-its-kind case in which US trade sanctions against the company’s tanker fleet were lifted.
  • Currently representing Carnival’s insurers in relation to the defense of Carnival Corporation, Princess Cruise Line and Holland-America against a large number of Covid-19 passenger claims.

Freehill Hogan & Mahar LLP

Freehill Hogan & Mahar LLP has 'a very experienced and skilled set of lawyers at all levels'. Based in New York, the practice stands out for major casualties and complex cases; it also has a broad personal injury defense practice, as well as US sanctions expertise. In addition, the maritime criminal defense group is well known for its representation of shipowners charged with maritime and environmental crimes. Among the firm's several specialist partners, Don Murnane has over 30 years' maritime law experience; John Karpousis has substantial trial expertise; Gina Venezia 'provides concise and sensible advice on the tricky area of sanctions'; and managing partner Wayne Meehan, Thomas Canevari and Peter Gutowski 'are go-to lawyers for admiralty, personal injury, Jones Act and dry shipping disputes'. Also key to the group are Daniel Fitzgerald, who is noted for major maritime casualties, regulatory matters and maritime drug cases; and Eric Matheson, who recently represented Coastal Environmental Group in relation to the loss of a construction barge during a storm. Maritime litigator Will Yost is a standout associate in the team.

Practice head(s):

Wayne Meehan

Other key lawyers:

Don Murnane; John Karpousis; Gina Venezia; Peter Gutowski; Peter Gutowski; Michael Fernandez; Justin Nastro; Daniel Fitzgerald; Will Yost; Tanner Honea


The diversity of the different lawyers, particularly as they cover different industries and issues, is refreshing.

They are a specialized firm that specializes in maritime law and provides great results for a reasonable price.

The overall expertise the firm has in admiralty/maritime and transportation Law makes it stand out from other similar law firms in New York. They are truly a one-stop-shop boutique law firm that has enormous range of legal knowledge and experience. All of its attorneys are approachable, very intelligent, driven, and genuinely want to get the best results for their clients.

The fact that the firm is dedicated to shipping/admiralty matters makes for a very experienced and skilled set of lawyers at all levels – from the associates to the senior partners. Also, the fact that the firm does not deal with other areas of law adds to their levels of expertise, and, at least from the outside, does not dilute the maritime law boutique feel of the firm.

All of the individuals I have worked with combine their knowledge, both legal and practical, with commercial awareness, while bringing a collegiate, friendly approach to each case.

Gina Venezia provides concise and sensible advice on the tricky area of sanctions, while Wayne Meehan, Thomas Canevari and Peter Gutowski bring their expertise to admiralty, personal injury/Jones Act and dry shipping disputes – they are the go-to lawyers for these areas. Such is their legal excellence, combined with pleasant, friendly approaches, that we instruct members of the FHM team as oversight counsel to offer guidance on matters outside New York.’

Our experience working with partners Gina Venezia and Don Murnane has been extremely positive.

Key clients

West of England P&I Club

Britannia P&I Club

Maersk Line



Thomas Miller (Americas) Inc.

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) Inc.

Mediterranean Shipping Company. Inc.

Eres N.V.

Liberty International Underwriters

Trevcon Construction Co. Inc.


Chipolte Mexican Grill

Hornblower New York LLC

Luzar Trading S.A.

CSX Transportation

Blackboard Insurance

CV Star DBA Group

NYC Department of Transportation

CNA Insurance

K&L Gates

K&L Gates 'has a long-standing and deep understanding of the Jones Act, as well as significant government contacts'. The team is consistently sought out for complex matters arising from commercial disputes, international trade and bilateral investment treaties. The practice co-heads are Boston-based commercial litigation and arbitration specialist Jefferey King; global LNG and oil sector expert Steven SparlingDarrell Conner, who has 'a clear grasp of the industry and its needs'; and Michael Scanlon, who chairs the firm’s international maritime practice. Other key individuals include lobbying specialist Manny RouvelasMark Ruge, who is highly rated for federal government and policy matters; and William Myhre, 'the world's expert on Jones Act eligibility and vessel documentation'. In New York, George Kontakis assists with commercial and criminal matters, while Boston-based investigations, litigation and compliance specialist Luke Reid was made partner in February 2020. At associate level, New York's Luke Steinberger is experienced in charter party and insurance coverage disputes, and attachment and arrest proceedings. All attorneys named are in Washington DC, unless otherwise stated.

Practice head(s):

Jeffrey King; Steven Sparling; Darrell Conner; Michael Scanlon

Other key lawyers:

Manny Rouvelas; Mark Ruge; William Myhre; Jorge Romero; Ifigeneia Xanthopoulou


K&L Gates always maintains great communication, always passing on new requirements or high-alert issues to us so as to prepare in advance and give us proper assurance in regulatory compliance consultancy.

The firm has technical expertise in the legislative process, key relationships on both sides of the aisle, maritime expertise and a team of well rounded litigators.

I find them welcoming, professional and well worth the fees they charge – they deliver on the proposition.

KL Gates has a longstanding and deep understanding of the Jones Act. They also have significant government contacts, which helps in their understanding and advice with respect to maritime regulations.

Mark Ruge has very deep institutional knowledge of the Jones Act, which makes him critical to the services that we offer.

The outstanding Mark Ruge and Manny Rouvelas are hardworking, intelligent and experienced.

Excellent follow-up from Jeffrey King – you feel in safe hands.

Michael Scanlon is very professional, and will always listen to our questions very carefully and give us proper feedback.

Darrell Conner has a clear grasp of the industry and its needs.

William (Bill) Myhre is the world’s expert on Jones Act eligibility and vessel documentation.

Key clients

MostonTR Pazarlama Ltd., Turkey

Tote, Inc.

Ripley Entertainment Inc.

MID-Ship Group LLC

Crane Co.

American Roll-on Roll-off Carrier, Inc.

SCIH Salt Holdings

Millennium Bulk Terminals

Hatteras Yachts, Inc.

St. Lawrence Seaway Pilots Association

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended MostonTR of Turkey against a turnover action brought in Quincy (IL) by the Roller Bearing Company Inc.
  • Acted for Tote in a US Coast Guard Marine Board of investigation into the 2015 sinking of SS EL FARO, as well as the resulting civil penalty action and parallel National Transportation Safety Board investigation.
  • Representing Ripley in connection with the sinking of a duck boat in Missouri in 2018, which resulted in 17 deaths and various injuries and other claims.

Clyde & Co LLP

Boasting one of the largest shipping legal practices in the world, Clyde & Co LLP 'always provides fast, efficient advice, which is essential for very urgent matters'. The US team is widely praised for its expertise in marine insurance, litigation and arbitration, as well as marine-related regulatory sanctions. The 'extraordinarily bright' John Woods handles both high-value international disputes and matters that shape the law; John Keough is recognized by clients for having 'built an excellent practice'; and Corey Greenwald has 'a terrific command of shipping, commodities, marine pollution and marine insurance issues'. Conte Cicala in San Francisco litigates maritime, transportation, commercial and insurance disputes; and at senior counsel level, George Cornell represents insurers in marine casualties and other insurance claims. All named attorneys are based in New York unless stated otherwise.

Practice head(s):

John Keough; John Woods

Other key lawyers:

Conte Cicala; Corey Greenwald; George Cornell


There is an outstanding depth of knowledge within the team, and the international reach of the business is important given the cross-jurisdiction nature of the issues it is often asked to advise upon.

Clearly their expertise is very important (and second to none in their field) but they are also very responsive and appreciate their clients needs in a time-pressured environment.

Clyde & Co’s time-tested team is the first that comes to mind when I think of international trade.

Great for subject matter expertise, attention to detail and thoroughness.

The sanctions and compliance team is very experienced and well connected.

This practice group commands top-tier knowledge of maritime and shipping law, and demonstrates an ability to respond quickly to urgent matters when needed.

The team always provides fast, efficient advice, which is essential for very urgent matters. It also has key contacts with the the relevant authorities which is incredibly useful.’

The maritime team is very competent, attentive and responsive, and gives the impression that I am their only client when we have a matter underway. They are available at all times of day and night, and provide advice with confidence which is very comforting to clients. The team also has a deep understanding of the business of its clients and is flexible in finding ways to provide solutions while taking account of the sometimes inflexible.

Very strong maritime and transportation law practice, including litigation.

Connected and knowledgeable – especially John Keough in the NY office.

John Keough has excellent abilities as a litigator, negotiator, innovator, draftsman and business counselor.

John Keough and John Woods are extraordinarily bright, knowledgeable, responsive, diligent and hardworking.

John Keough has built an excellent practice, utilizing over 30 years of experience litigating in the federal and state court systems throughout the US. His knowledge of traditional maritime disputes and issues is second to none in the New York market.’

‘John Keough is very efficient, knowledgable, diligent and friendly!’

John Keough and Corey Greenwald go above and beyond their competitors in terms of availability, communication and personal touch.

John Woods in the New York office stands out.

John Woods is a trusted advisor and a superior litigator, who has navigated us through perilous cases. He has assembled a team that works together to bring outstanding results.’

Corey Greenwald is an excellent communicator, who is very thorough and responsive.

Corey Greenwald is extremely responsive and provides tailored, accurate and quick answers. We resort to him mostly in pre-litigation, and constantly rely on his input to strengthen our position at the negotiation table to avoid costly disputes.

Corey Greenwald exhibits impeccable client service and a terrific command of shipping, commodities, marine pollution and marine insurance issues.

Corey Greenwald and senior counsel George Cornell are both excellent draftsmen.

Conte Cicala has been a loyal and reliable representative for many years, and has obtained excellent results throughout.

George Cornell demonstrates a strong command of maritime contracts, marine insurance principles and the rules of procedure. His responsiveness, technical knowledge and dedication to client service will no doubt serve him and his clients well in the years to come.’

Cozen O'Connor

Successfully acting in critical maritime litigation for decades, Cozen O'Connor's shipping litigation attorneys are highly regarded for marine casualty claims and shipping-related commercial disputes, as well as coverage disputes on behalf of marine insurers and insurance syndicates. The practice is chaired by Jeffrey Lawrence in Washington DC, who advises Hoegh Autoliners on US regulatory matters, while New York-based vice chair Geoffrey Ferrer focuses on both US and non-US flag shipping matters. Also in DC, Wayne Rohde regularly acts in regulatory matters, adjudicatory proceedings, and fact-finding investigations; Donald Kassilke is an expert in economic sanctions, export controls and regulation; and Robert Magovern assists with regulatory, antitrust and trade regulation issues. In New York, Christopher Raleigh, has litigated hundreds of disputes arising from vessel casualties.

Practice head(s):

Jeffrey Lawrence; Geoffrey Ferrer

Other key lawyers:

Wayne Rohde; Donald Kassilke; Robert Magovern; Christopher Raleigh; Anne Mickey; Joshua Stein; Jeffrey Vogel

Key clients

Consolidated Chassis Management (CCM)

Hoegh Autoliners

West Coast Marine Terminal Operators Agreement

World Shipping Council

Digital Container Shipping Association

Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association

TOTE Services, LLC

Asia Shipowners Association

Airstrike Firefighters, LLC


Maersk Line A/S

A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S

Billybey Marina Services, LLC

Center Navigation LLC

Geden Holdings, Inc.

European Shipowner

Work highlights

  • Advises Consolidated Chassis Management on regulatory issues, including federal maritime matters.
  • Represented TOTE Services, LLC in its role as the prime contractor/vessel construction manager for the Maritime Administration’s National Security Multi-Mission Vessel program.
  • Assists World Shipping Council with the analysis of federal legislation and federal agency activity, in relation to the container shipping industry.

Jones Walker LLP

Jones Walker LLP's New Orleans-based attorneys routinely handle vessel casualties, as well as matters involving personal injury, deaths and Jones Act seamen claims. The team also assists with commercial disputes and insurance issues, while on the regulatory side it advises on governmental agencies' regulations and directives. Scott Jenkins leads the maritime practice, which also includes head of the maritime regulatory team, Richard Bertram; and George Fowler III, whose experience includes trying hundreds of cases. Also highly regarded are maritime litigation and arbitration team leaders Jefferson Tillery and Grady Hurley. At the ore junior level, Hansford Wogan is a maritime litigation expert, while associate Jeanne Amy is experienced in both maritime litigation and regulatory matters.

Practice head(s):

Scott Jenkins; Grady Hurley; Jefferson Tillery; Richard Bertram

Other key lawyers:

George Fowler III; Hansford Wogan; Jeanne Amy; Etienne Balart; Barrett Rice

Key clients

Gulf Marine Fabricators

Carnival Corporation & PLC

Hornbeck Offshore Services, Inc.

Diamond Offshore Drilling

Pacific Drilling

CGB Enterprises, Inc.

Seward & Kissel LLP

According to one client, Seward & Kissel LLP 'delivers practical advice that puts it ahead of other firms in this space'. The New York-based maritime litigation practice focuses on shipping business disputes, along with disputes arising from financing transactions, shipping securities, governance matters and vessel operations. Bruce Paulsen, whose 'knowledge of this complex industry is unparalleled', and government investigations expert Michael Considine are the practice co-heads. Paulsen is consistently involved in high-stakes commercial and maritime disputes. Notable growth in the practice includes the promotion of the 'extremely capableBrian Maloney to counsel in January 2020; Maloney has approximately 15 years’ experience in litigating commercial disputes and managing regulatory investigations. At associate level, Andrew Jacobson has carved out an excellent sanctions practice in the US', and Laura Miller 'has fantastic organizational skills'.

Practice head(s):

Bruce Paulsen; Michael Considine

Other key lawyers:

Brian Maloney; Andrew Jacobson; Laura Miller


Excellent ability to combine knowledge of the applicable sanctions laws with industry expertise and to deliver practical advice that puts it ahead of other firms in this space.’

A first class team with first class industry knowledge.

 Best in class – the go-to firm for this industry.

Able to cut to the heart of the issues quickly and relentlessly outcome focused. I have used many NYC firms and Bruce Paulsen and his team, including Brian Maloney and Laura Miller are by far the best.

Bruce Paulsen is in my experience the best in class in NYC.

Bruce Paulsen has strong cross-practice area experience and an unusually strong ability to anticipate and successfully implement litigation.

Bruce Paulsen is a great litigator who achieves excellent results for his clients and he knows this area extremely well.’

Bruce Paulsen is an industry leader and the go-to partner for all shipping-related litigation in the US.

Bruce Paulsen and associate Andrew Jacobson are experts in their craft. Both are skilled at providing carefully-considered and thoughtful advice that can be easily understood and implemented by the client. Bruce’s knowledge of this complex industry is unparalleled, while Andrew leverages his extensive experience as an enforcement attorney to provide critical insights into the application of the law. As a team, they are very responsive and easy to work with. Highly recommended!

Counsel Brian Maloney is ice cool under pressure.

Brian Maloney is extremely capable and diligent.

Andrew Jacobson has carved out an excellent sanctions practice in the US.

Associate Laura Miller has fantastic organisational skills and is frighteningly on top of the detail.

Key clients

Commodities & Mineral Enterprise Ltd.

ING Bank N.V.

Blue Wall Shipping Ltd.

DryShips Inc.

Star Bulk Carriers Corp.

I.M. Skaugen SE.

Scorpio Tankers, Inc

Work highlights

  • Co-ordinated the national strategy, on behalf of the security agent to a $700m credit facility, in several dozen maritime arrest and interpleader actions, which sought the recovery of secured receivables for bunker fuel supplied.
  • Obtained awards in excess of $200m in two maritime arbitrations, which were (reportedly) the largest dollar-value arbitrations in the history of the Society of Maritime Arbitrators.
  • Obtained summary judgment for a shipowner defending a vessel attachment proceeding, dismissing a novel alter ego theory that sought to merge the vessel owner’s obligations with that of its contractually-retained ship manager.

Winston & Strawn LLP

Winston & Strawn LLP is widely known for its expertise in handling litigation and other challenging maritime problems involving US government policy, maritime regulations and enforcement, and transactions. The team has particular expertise in representing port authorities and marine terminal operators in wide-ranging disputes before the Federal Maritime Commission. Charlie Papavizas chairs the Washington DC-based maritime and admiralty practice; he focuses his practice on administrative, legislative, and finance matters, and also has experience in the US offshore wind industry. Providing key support is Bryant Gardner, who led Schuyler Line Navigation Company's successful defense of a bid protest of a $44m Defense Logistics Agency contract for the supply of liquid natural gas.

Practice head(s):

Charlie Papavizas

Other key lawyers:

Bryant Gardner

Key clients

Liberty Maritime Corporation

BP America, Inc.

Centerline Logistics Corporation (formerly Harley Marine Services)

Schuyler Line Navigation Company

Holland America Group

Carnival Corporation

American Cruise Lines

American Petroleum Institute

The Mosaic Company

Liberty Global Logistics

Work highlights

  • Served as counsel to BP in connection with the reshaping of its participation in the Alaska North Slope crude oil market and sale of three large Alaskan-class, Jones Act-qualified tankers (among others), which included regulatory issues.
  • Successfully brought and defended bid protests challenging a $140m United States Transportation Command contract to provide for the ocean movement of Department of Defense fuels on the East Coast and Caribbean.
  • Successfully defended the bid protest of a $44m Defense Logistics Agency contract award for the supply of liquid natural gas to the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station in Cuba.

Holland & Knight LLP

Holland & Knight LLP's New York-based team has been active in matters arising from high-profile incidents, including many relating to the Covid-19 impact on the shipping industry. The team is also sought out by offshore, shipping, and supply chain services providers for regulatory assistance. National maritime practice leader James Hohenstein has extensive commercial and maritime trial and appellate experience, including international bankruptcy actions. Other key figures include Christopher Nolan, the national co-chair of the firm’s transportation and infrastructure industry sector group; and Michael Frevola, who is recommended for maritime arbitrations and court proceedings and was singled out by one client as the 'go-to' New York lawyer for matters demanding creative solutions.

Practice head(s):

James Hohenstein

Other key lawyers:

Christopher Nolan; Michael Frevola; James Power; Michael Cavanaugh; Julia Haines; Vincent Foley; Marie Larsen; Robert Denig


Deep industry expertise and experience that provides value beyond mere legal input, and which comes to the fore on complex multi-jurisdictional matters requiring co-ordination.

Michael Frevola is my go to when I need a creative and solutions-focused NY lawyer. He has a good sense for predicting how the matter will progress, which is invaluable with determining strategy.

Michael Frevola is good at taking the emotion out of the situation and getting a client to focus on the issue and solution instead. I consider him exceptionally reliable and when I have a complex issue that I am charged with resolving, he is at the top of my list of NY lawyers to instruct.

Key clients

Castleton Commodities Shipping Co. Pte. Ltd.

Gard P&I Club

Garex War Risk Insurers

Höegh Autoliner A/S

Navig8 Inc.

Nordisk Legal Services

North America Export Grain Association

North Of England Protection & Indemnity Association


Steamship Mutual P&I Club

Work highlights

  • Advised shipping organizations (INTERTANKO, BIMCO and INTERCARGO) on the US Supreme Court victory on safe ports.
  • Advised Offshore Equipment on whether an owner of an entirely unique and one-of-a-kind vessel can be held strictly liable for damages caused to third parties.
  • Successfully acted for A/S Klaveness Chartering, asserting that Covid-19 China coal market delays did not support a force majeure argument to delay payment.

McGuireWoods LLP

McGuireWoods LLP represents a range of clients in relation to shipping regulatory issues, including Jones Act compliance matters and the regulations that control the interaction between shippers and carriers. Norfolk-based maritime sector chair John Padgett routinely represents shipyards and tug boat companies, and has an administrative practice before the US Coast Guard; he is also experienced in Jones Act and general maritime law cases, and regularly handles charter party disputes. In Pittsburgh, Bryan Brantley chairs the transportation industry team.

Practice head(s):

Bryan Brantley; John Padgett

Key clients

Colonna’s Shipyard Inc

Work highlights

  • Assisted Colonna’s Shipyard with negotiating the construction of and transportation of a dry dock from a Turkish shipyard.

Thompson Hine LLP

Thompson Hine LLP is best known for its representation of shippers and intermediaries in relation to policy and rulemaking matters involving the Shipping Act of 1984, including the regulations of the Federal Maritime Commission (which regulates the US international ocean transportation system). Washington DC-based practice head Karyn Booth serves as the general counsel to the National Industrial Transportation League, which represents the interests of US importers and exporters shipping goods around the world; and associate Jason Tutrone advises on domestic and international matters involving ocean and barge transportation.

Practice head(s):

Karyn Booth

Other key lawyers:

Jason Tutrone

Key clients

Costco Wholesale Corporation

The Coalition for Fair Port Practices

Hasbro, Inc.

Health & Personal Care Conference

The Dow Chemical Company

The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company

The National Industrial Transportation League

Zeiler Floyd Zadkovich

Floyd Zadkovich and merged equally to form Zeiler Floyd Zadkovich (a Swiss Verein) in September 2020. The practice acts in the full range of claims involving shipping contracts, cargo and general average, along with collisions, sanctions, and personal injury and wrongful death; the team also stands out in insurance matters, vessel arrests and asset seizures. The principal names in New York are name partners Luke Zadkovich and Edward Floyd; Zadkovich has a strong focus on the maritime and international commodities sectors, while Floyd focuses on international disputes involving the shipping and commodities trading industries. Chicago office head Timothy McGovern is a maritime and transportation specialist.

Practice head(s):

Edward Floyd; Luke Zadkovich; Timothy McGovern

Work highlights

  • Advised a major US shipowner on alter ego vessel attachment proceedings in Louisiana.
  • Defended a Fortune 25 energy company against a major delay claim, which related to impermissible storage allegations.
  • Acted for a European bank in attachment proceedings against vessel interests in Texas, which included lifting the corporate veil.