Shipping: litigation and regulation in United States

Blank Rome LLP

Fielding one of the largest shipping practices in the US, Blank Rome LLP has enviable experience in maritime arbitrations, while housing a go-to team for shipping clients facing catastrophic events. It also stands out for its experience in issues involving the Jones Act and other coastwise trade laws. Other specialisms cover ballast water, offshore compliance, oil spill liability, and maritime immigration and visas. The national maritime and international trade practice is co-chaired by Washington DC-based shipping regulatory expert Jeanne GrassoWilliam Bennett III, who is a senior litigator in the New York shipping team, and highly-regarded maritime litigator Keith Letourneau in Houston. The practice also showcases John Kimball, who acts in maritime casualty, charterparty and insurance coverage disputes, maritime litigator Douglas Shoemaker and the ‘greatJeremy Herschaft in Houston, and Thomas Belknap Jr, a key maritime emergency response team member. Also in DC, Matthew Thomas has longstanding maritime regulatory experience, while senior counsel Jonathan Waldron is a shipping regulatory specialist. Lauren Wilgus is a noteworthy shipping disputes partner, and the senior associates to note are Houston-based Zachary Cain, along with Stefanos RoulakisDana Merkel and Emma Jones in DC. All attorneys are based in New York, unless otherwise stated.

Practice head(s):

Keith Letourneau; Jeanne Grasso; William Bennett

Other key lawyers:

John Kimball; Douglas Shoemaker; Jeremy Herschaft; Thomas Belknap Jr; Matthew Thomas; Jonathan Waldron; Lauren Wilgus; Zachary Cain; Stefanos Roulakis; Dana Merkel; Emma Jones; Kierstan Carlson


No 1 in the US!’

Blank Rome’s national reach, given the number of states it operates in, is impressive. The leading firm for shipping and commodities work. Clients work a great deal with their New York and Houston offices, but the Washington DC office is also very important as it has provided a great deal of sanctions advice in this ever-busier sector.

They all stand out really, but Jeremy Herschaft is great.

Key clients

American Queen Steamboat Company

Carnival Corporation


COSCO Shipping

Dominion Energy

Gulf Stream Marine

Seabridge Marine Services

Subsea 7

Vineyard Wind



Bergshav Shipping

Oceaneering International

Par Petroleum

Fracht FWO

Horizon Lines

P&I clubs (International Group, Steamship Mutual, North of England)



Zodiac Maritime

Work highlights

  • Acted as maritime counsel to Dominion Energy in a financing, which from a regulatory perspective represented the (reportedly) first Jones Act-compliant offshore wind installation vessel.
  • Represented Preble-Rish Haiti in a dispute with the Government of Haiti for breach of a fuel supply contract.
  • Representing Univar in a dispute that arose after Univar’s shipping cargo was contaminated.

Freehill Hogan & Mahar LLP

Freehill Hogan & Mahar LLP‘s New York-based team acts for a broad range of clients, including international insurance companies, shipowners, domestic marine operators, and numerous New York harbor ferry and cruise boat operators, as well as marine construction and dredging operators; it also has longstanding experience in acting for P&I clubs. Other notable areas include advising on major casualties, defense-side maritime personal injury claims, US sanctions, and the representation of shipowners charged with maritime or environmental crimes. Among the firm’s experienced partners, Peter Gutowski is a highly rated litigation and arbitration specialist, Don Murnane is an expert in the investigation and litigation of chemical product tanker disputes, Wayne Meehan acts in major casualties involving collisions, fires and explosions, and John Karpousis has substantial trial experience. Also key to the team are Michael Fernandez, who is experienced in liner service issues, Thomas Canevari, who acts in marine personal injury and death claims, William Pallas, who is a specialist in intermodal cargo loss and damage matters, and Justin Nastro, whose practice covers admiralty, personal injury, insurance defense, Jones Act, cargo and commercial claims. Other active partners are Daniel FitzgeraldEric MathesonWill Yost and Michael Tucker, along with the recently promoted Tanner HoneaYaakov Adler and Michael Dehart.

Practice head(s):

Wayne Meehan

Other key lawyers:

Peter Gutowski; Don Murnane; John Karpousis; Michael Fernandez; Thomas Canevari; William Pallas; Justin Nastro; Daniel Fitzgerald, Eric Matheson; Will Yost; Michael Tucker; Tanner Honea; Yaakov Adler; Michael Dehart

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

Signal Mutual Indemnity

China Ocean Shipping

Great Lakes Dredge & Drydock Company

Stolt-Nielsen Transportation Group

Gard (North America)

Mediterranean Shipping Company


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

Rolls Royce

Weeks Marine

Jones Walker LLP

Jones Walker LLP‘s full-service maritime litigation and dispute resolution team acts at regional, national and international levels, in relation to brown water, blue water, cruise line and offshore energy industry matters. The firm’s representative experience also covers vessel casualties, including collision investigations, shipping-related commercial disputes, and shipping matters involving personal injury claims. It additionally assists with compliance with governmental agencies’ regulations and directives. The maritime litigation and arbitration team is co-led by disputes specialists Grady Hurley and Jefferson Tillery, alongside maritime practice head Scott Jenkins and maritime regulatory leader Richard Bertram. Also integral to the practice are Etienne Balart, an expert in litigation involving terminals, shipyards and vessel operators; Lara DiCristina, whose broad practice covers incident response investigations; and the highly regarded George Fowler III. Wayne Zeringue Jr and Alfred Rufty III are also maritime litigation specialists and, in Miami, Luis Llamas acts in admiralty disputes and cruise line claims. Sara Kuebel is a notable maritime litigation associate. All attorneys listed are based in the firm’s New Orleans office, unless otherwise stated. Hansford Wogan has departed for an in-house position.

Practice head(s):

Grady Hurley; Jefferson Tillery; Scott Jenkins; Richard Bertram

Other key lawyers:

Etienne Balart; Lara DiCristina; George Fowler III; Wayne Zeringue Jr; Alfred Rufty III; Luis Llamas; Sara Kuebel; Joshua Norris

K&L Gates

K&L Gates‘ maritime practice is consistently mandated by US and international maritime industry clients for complex legal, transactional, legislative and regulatory matters. In traditional maritime work, the group advises on the arrest, attachment and seizure of vessels and cargo, limitation of liability proceedings, vessel collisions, and personal injury and death-related claims. It also advises on piracy, marine insurance cases, and maritime contractual disputes. The firm’s policy and regulatory team is also experienced in working with legislative and executive branch agencies. Boston-based maritime practice coordinator Jeffrey King is well known for maritime and transportation-related commercial litigation and arbitration proceedings, while Emanuel Rouvelas regularly works with the executive branch, Congress, and foreign embassies and governments on international trade and transport matters, and Mark Ruge concentrates on federal government issues. Other key practitioners are policy and regulatory practice co-head Michael ScanlonWilliam Myhre, who is a specialist in US vessel ownership and documentation laws, government affairs expert Darrell Conner , and experienced of counsel Jorge Romero. George Kontakis and Luke Reid are active practitioners in New York and Boston, respectively. Elle Stuart is an experienced associate. All lawyers listed are based in the firm’s Washington DC office, unless otherwise mentioned. Ifigeneia Xanthopoulou has left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Jeffrey King; Michael Scanlon; Darrell Conner

Other key lawyers:

Emanuel Rouvelas; Mark Ruge; William Myhre; Jorge Romero; George Kontakis; Luke Reid; Ifigeneia Xanthopoulou; Elle Stuart

Key clients

Global Ports Group


American Maritime Partnership

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings

Ripley Entertainment


Transportation Institute

Lake Carriers’ Association

Mediterranean Shipping Company

American Roll-on Roll-off Carrier Group


GS Fisheries

JM Fisheries

Clyde & Co LLP

The US shipping and maritime practice at Clyde & Co LLP represents domestic and international shipping companies, along with commodity traders and their insurers, in claims involving hulls, liability, cargo, pollution and sanctions. Other key areas include insolvency, war risk, loss of earnings and environmental claims. The team additionally acts in investigations concerning marine and industrial facility casualties, Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctions, and operational safety and environmental compliance, along with criminal enforcement actions initiated by federal and state agencies, and foreign governments. John Woods, who ‘always exemplifies superior leadership‘, consistently acts in high-stakes international disputes, while John Keough is routinely sought out for high-value maritime, shipping law and commercial litigation cases. Also integral to the firm’s offering is insurance and commercial disputes expert Corey Greenwald. All named practitioners are based in New York unless otherwise stated. Conte Cicala departed for Withers LLP in September 2023.

Practice head(s):

John Keough; John Woods

Other key lawyers:

Corey Greenwald


Very experienced!

John Keough is very user friendly and connected.

John Woods has never failed to field an excellent team. He always exemplifies superior leadership, and is able to bring the right people to the table and to instill in them the energy to do the job required.

Cozen O'Connor

Cozen O'Connor‘s maritime regulatory team is well known for its representation of maritime companies in regulatory issues, maritime activity-related US sanctions, and Jones Act and other US cabotage laws involving cargo, dredging and towage. The team further assists with matters regulated by the Federal Maritime Commission, Coast Guard, Maritime Administration, Customs and Border Protection, and the Office of Foreign Assets Control. It is also particularly active on behalf of major liner shipping trade associations, joint ventures, consortia, carrier alliances, and equipment pools, and has a strong track record in high-stakes maritime litigation. David Heffernan is transportation and trade chair, Jeffrey Lawrence and Robert Magovern act before Washington DC’s federal agencies, Wayne Rohde is ‘extremely knowledgeable‘, and Jeff Vogel represents ocean carriers, cruise lines and other maritime stakeholders. In New York, Geoffrey Ferrer focuses on US and non-US flag shipping work, while Christopher Raleigh is a maritime litigation and arbitration expert. Another key member is Joshua Stein, while Matthew Howell is an experienced regulatory associate. All practitioners mentioned are based in Washington DC unless mentioned otherwise.

Practice head(s):

David Heffernan; Geoffrey Ferrer; Robert Magovern

Other key lawyers:

Jeffrey Lawrence; Wayne Rohde; Jeff Vogel; Christopher Raleigh; Joshua Stein; Matthew Howell; Anne Mickey


Wayne Rohde is extremely knowledgeable, thoughtful and responsive. His hands-on advice has been extremely helpful where US regulatory work has become a focus for clients.

Key clients

Hapag-Lloyd Ag and Hapag-Lloyd (America)

Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association

Consolidated Chassis Management

COSCO Shipping Lines


Maersk A/S

Mediterranean Shipping Company

Ocean Network Express Pte

Wan Hai Lines

Zim Integrated Shipping Services

Geodis Americas


World Shipping Council

National Association of Waterfront Employers


Hamburg Sudamerikanische Dampfschifffahrts- Gesellschaft A/S & Co KG

Hamburg Sud North America

Wan Hai Lines

Wan Hai Lines (USA)

Work highlights

  • Defending the Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association against Intermodal Motor Carrier Conference (an association of motor carriers), which seeks to have the Federal Maritime Commission rule that ocean carriers’ alleged practices for intermodal chassis contracts violate the Shipping Act of 1984 (as amended).
  • Acting for Consolidated Chassis Management, as outside counsel, in relation to regulatory issues.
  • Providing World Shipping Council with an analysis of federal legislation and federal agency activity, in relation to the container shipping industry.

Seward & Kissel LLP

Fielding a ‘great team with fantastic experience in shipping‘, Seward & Kissel LLP‘s US maritime litigation practice represents major publicly-held and private shipping companies, as well as shipping banks, owners and private equity companies. Acting in litigation, arbitration proceedings and investigations, the firm’s expertise covers disputes arising from shipping financings, securities work and governance issues, along with vessel operations. The team particularly specializes in the coordination of concurrent multi-jurisdictional matters. Co-chair of the firm’s litigation group Bruce G Paulsen handles finance and securities-related disputes in the shipping industry, as well as traditional maritime disputes, lien claims and environmental matters; Paulsen also has substantial expertise in international trade sanctions. Fellow litigation department co-chair Michael G Considine also co-leads the firm’s government enforcement and internal investigations practice. At counsel level, the recent experience of commercial disputes and regulatory investigations specialist Brian Maloney includes successfully defending a vessel owner against corporate veil piercing claims, while associate Laura Miller predominantly focuses on maritime and commercial litigation, government investigations and regulatory inquiries. All attorneys mentioned are based in the firm’s New York office.

Practice head(s):

Bruce G Paulsen; Michael G Considine

Other key lawyers:

Brian Maloney; Laura Miller


First-class practitioners.

Great team with fantastic experience in shipping.

Always on top of things with fast response times, and the lawyers do not miss a thing.

Bruce G Paulsen and counsel Brian Maloney both have cutting-edge market know how, combined with the commercial ability to find the right solution.

Brian Maloney is very easy to work with, and knows how to run cases with multiple jurisdictional elements.

Key clients

Commodities & Minerals Enterprise

Hanwin Shipping

Rexel Corp

ING Bank

Sea Justice

Blue Wall Shipping

American Bureau of Shipping

Winston & Strawn LLP

Recognized as one of the best maritime law firms in the sector‘, Winston & Strawn LLP‘s full-service Washington DC-based practice is widely respected for its ability to handle maritime issues involving US government policy, legislation, regulations, enforcement work, transactions, and litigation. Its specialisms cover acting for port authorities and marine terminal operators in a range of disputes before the Federal Maritime Commission. Clients notably benefit from the group’s ability to leverage its colleagues’ expertise in both the US and Europe for cross-border matters, and the department also routinely works alongside members from the firm’s appellate, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, global trade, and labor and employment practices. The recent track record of maritime and admiralty practice chair Charlie Papavizas includes high-stakes maritime regulatory and litigation work; Papavizas is also experienced in representing maritime clients before federal agencies, such as the US Coast Guard, the US Maritime Administration, and the US Congress. Bryant Gardner's expertise includes maritime government contract negotiations and disputes, Shipping Act and Federal Maritime Commission litigation, and Jones Act compliance work.

Practice head(s):

Charlie Papavizas

Other key lawyers:

Bryant Gardner


The team is very professional and proficient in all aspects of maritime law, and has earned the respect of the industry while being recognized as one of the best maritime law firms in the sector.

Comprehensive solutions to complex situations. Great breadth and depth of skills.

Personable, thorough, accurate, knowledgeable, and demonstrates strong professional and personal values.

Charlie Papavizas is an excellent maritime lawyer who is also a structuring expert and well known in the industry.

Key clients

Caladan Oceanic

Government of US Virgin Islands

Prysmian Cables and Systems USA

ZIM Integrated Shipping Services

Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile

American Cruise Lines

Heung-A-Shipping Co

Liberty Maritime Corporation

Neptune Lines Shipping and Managing Enterprises

Work highlights

  • Representing Prysmian Cables and Systems USA in their compliance with US cabotage requirements.
  • Providing litigation defense services to global shipping company ZIM.
  • Representing Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile in charterparty and supply contract disputes.


Liskow‘s ‘outstanding admiralty lawyers‘ stand out for oil and gas-related maritime matters. The firm’s maritime practice also extends beyond the offshore sector to include inland and ocean carriers, along with maritime litigation and business law throughout the US, and the firm fields an experienced casualty response team. Recent disputes work encompassed offshore collisions, maritime liens, vessel construction work, and international sales and delivery of steel products, as well as toxic tort class actions, and personal injury claims arising from cargo loading and commercial dive operations. The team is co-led by New Orleans-based ‘strong trial advocateThomas Diaz and Michael Golemi, a go-to maritime lawyer in Houston. Other key New Orleans practitioners are Keith Jarrett, who is sought out by oil majors for Gulf of Mexico maritime cases; salvage and wreck removal specialist David Reisman; maritime defense expert Jill Willhoft; and Raymond Waid, whose experience includes acting as first chair trial counsel in maritime litigation.

Practice head(s):

Thomas Diaz; Michael Golemi

Other key lawyers:

Keith Jarrett; David Reisman; Jill Willhoft; Raymond Waid; Elizabeth McIntosh; Jody Schisel-Meslin


A strong collegiate approach means the right people and expertise are deployed as required. Real strength and depth in numbers.

Fields a strong team in both shipping (wet and dry) and environmental issues.

Liskow’s maritime section is unmatched for its experience and capabilities.’

Key clients



Ingram Barge Company

T&T Salvage

BHP Billiton Petroleum Deepwater


Kinder Morgan

Todd Shipyard

Foss Maritime Company


McGuireWoods LLP

Acting for a wide range of shipping clients, McGuireWoods LLP‘s maritime practice is routinely mandated to assist with the regulatory issues surrounding transportation assets. The team is also experienced in Jones Act-related work, including in relation to terminal operations, energy matters, offshore wind projects, sale-leaseback transactions, and fleet acquisitions. In the international trade space, the group assists with tariff mitigation strategies, country of origin determinations, anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations, and the shipping regulations that control how shippers and carriers interact. In Norfolk, the broad practice of founding transportation industry team leader John Padgett includes handling major litigation regarding cargo damage and charter disputes, and Pittsburgh-based Bryan Brantley, the firm’s current transportation industry head, manages a significant litigation portfolio for a Fortune 50 transportation company. Also in Norfolk, civil litigation associate Jeanne Noonan is particularly focused on transportation and maritime issues.

Practice head(s):

Bryan Brantley; John Padgett

Other key lawyers:

Jeanne Noonan

Key clients

Continental Tire

Dominion Energy

Work highlights

  • Represented Dominion Energy in contracts to construct an offshore wind commercial project, which included assisting with the application to the Virginia State Corporation Commission for approval.
  • Acting for Continental Tire, as primary outside counsel, in addressing customs regulations that govern the international supply chain for goods imported into the US.

Thompson Hine LLP

Thompson Hine LLP‘s shipping practice is well known for its representation of shippers and intermediaries in policy and rulemaking matters concerning the Shipping Act of 1984 (as amended by the Ocean Shipping Reform Act). Its expertise also covers the Federal Maritime Commission regulations governing international ocean transportation services of containerized cargo, and the team routinely acts for the National Industrial Transportation League, which represents shippers’ interests in freight transportation matters. In Washington DC, Karyn Booth‘s shipping practice includes advising shippers and trade associations on their regulatory rights and remedies, and the workload of recently-promoted partner Jason Tutrone covers transportation regulation compliance issues and transportation-related disputes. Over in Columbus, senior counsel Dan Ujczo is a former outside legal advisor to the US Coast Guard.

Practice head(s):

Karyn Booth

Other key lawyers:

Jason Tutrone; Dan Ujczo

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

  • Assisted a large coalition of over 50 trade associations (led by the National Industrial Transportation League) with drafting and advocating for legislation to address global ocean carrier unfair business practices and service failures involving port congestion.
  • Assisted Scoular with the renewal of its FMC license to operate as a NVOCC (Non Vessel Owning Common Carrier), based on the company’s rebranding of its NVOCC services.
  • Representing Summit Materials/Continental Cement in a charterparty dispute involving an import shipment of cement.

Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP

The maritime practice group at US defense litigation firm Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP is routinely sought out by international group P&I clubs and major cruise lines for casualty response work. The team is headed up by longstanding maritime law specialist Antonio Rodriguez, who has extensive experience in matters involving collisions and other significant shipping and pollution casualties. Providing additional support are Jake Rodriguez, who ‘impresses with his knowledge of maritime law and practice‘, and Mike Harowski, who acts in significant cases around the US. Working across the firm’s Houston and New Orleans offices, Kent Adams‘ caseload covers catastrophic personal injury, offshore, maritime, insurance and environmental matters, and Houston’s John Bridger handles a range of civil and maritime litigation. All listed attorneys are based in the firm’s New Orleans office, unless otherwise stated.

Practice head(s):

Antonio Rodriguez

Other key lawyers:

Jake Rodriguez; Mike Harowski; Kent Adams; John Bridger; Otis Felder; Raymond Perez; Ronald White; Daniella Gauer


Jake Rodriguez impresses with his knowledge of maritime law and practice, and his judgment and skill in litigation strategy.

Jake Rodriguez’s knowledge, skill and abilities are at a high level when compared to other firms. Clients are also impressed with his responsiveness to enquiries.

Key clients

Royal Boskalis Westminster

Carnival Corporation & plc

North P&I Club

Steamship Mutual P&I

Norwegian Cruise Line

Donjon Marine

Britannia P&I

Moran Towing Corporation

Thomas Miller (Americas)

BP America

Ozinga Brothers

Canopius Managing Agent

Intact Insurance

Celtic Marine

Jumbo Shipping

Work highlights

  • Acted for Norwegian Cruise Line in defense of claims advanced by OW Bunker.
  • Defended Donjon Marine against personal injury and death claims.
  • Acted for Princess Cruises in dismissing claims by a plaintiff passenger, alleging violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act aboard a Bermuda-flagged cruise ship.