Blank Rome LLP > Houston, United States > Firm Profile
Blank Rome LLP Offices
717 TEXAS AVENUE, SUITE 1400
HOUSTON, TX 77002
Blank Rome LLP > The Legal 500 Rankings
With a presence in Washington DC, New York and Houston, Blank Rome LLP's dedicated ship finance practice is balanced between both borrower (shipowner) and lender (bank)-side work. Among its highlights, the firm is regularly involved in secured ship financing transactions and vessel finance and leasing transactions, as well as structuring ship finance transactions involving foreign investment in Jones Act (which regulates US maritime transportation) trade. The team is led by highly experienced Washington DC-based partner Anthony Salgado, who has over 30 years' experience in ship finance work and ship transactions; Salgado stands out in the market for his knowledge of Jones Act citizenship issues. His recent highlights include advising Dominion Energy, as maritime counsel, on a $550m lease financing for one of the first new-build wind turbine installation vessel to be built in the US. Former senior partner Brett Esber retired from the practice, but remains as senior counsel for the firm in DC.
Other key lawyers:
Brett Esber; Natalie Radabaugh
American Shipping Company
Harvey Gulf International Marine
J.F. Lehman & Company
JP Morgan Chase
PNC Equipment Finance
- Represented American Shipping Company in a $305m loan refinancing package.
- Acted as maritime and government contracts counsel to long-time client Philly Shipyard, with respect to a $630m contract awarded by the Maritime Administration to build up to five vessels.
- Advised the lease finance arm of a major bank (PNC), on two sale-and-leaseback transactions to develop four new-build tugs.
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.
Michael Bell; John Kimball; Jeanne Grasso; William Bennett III; Keith Letourneau
Other key lawyers:
‘Keith Letourneau is an excellent shipping litigator with very good industry knowledge.‘
American Eagle Tankers
Gulf Stream Marine
Seabridge Marine Services
Gulf Stream Marine
Mediterranean Shipping Company
Atlantic Trading & Marketing
APL (American President Lines)
Cargill Ocean Transport
Odyssey Marine Exploration
Pan Ocean (America)
- 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.
‘Top-notch; always available.’
Amentum f/k/a AECOM Management Services
Rite Aid Corporation
The Louis Berger Group/WSP USA Inc.
Global Linguist Solutions
- Assisted Rite Aid with its first-ever, direct prime federal contract award for pop-up Covid-19 testing in Rite Aid parking lots and brick and mortar pharmacy drive-thru testing valued in excess of $30m.
- Secured a significant victory for Oshkosh in protests filed by Navistar Defense against $320m in new Army orders placed with Oshkosh for Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles, ten years after the Army awarded what initially was to be a five-year FMTV contract to Oshkosh in 2009.
- Represented Sparton, a leading provider of engineered products for the defense industry, in the government contracts aspects of the sale of its contract manufacturing unit, manufacturing and design services, to One Equity Partners.
James Murray; Linda Kornfeld; John Gibbons
Other key lawyers:
Madelaine Chocolate Novelties
Tory Burch LLC
Trilantic Capital Partners
Autopistas Metropolitanas de Puerto Rico, LLC (“Metropistas”)
Qdoba Restaurant Corporation
Safariland and Warren Kanders
Chiquita Brands, International
The Rockefeller University
New York Catholic Dioceses (Archdiocese of New York and Dioceses of Albany, Buffalo, Ogdensburg, Rochester and Syracuse – 6 of 8 dioceses in New York state)
- Represent Madelaine in long-running, high-profile matter as lead trial counsel in an insurance coverage matter concerning more than $60 million of property loss and damage and business interruption losses at its New York manufacturing facility as a result of wind damage from Superstorm Sandy in October 2012. A June 2021 jury trial is set.
- Represented Penn State in its insurance recovery efforts for amounts spent responding to the Jerry Sandusky sexual misconduct claims, including obtaining a favorable settlement in bad faith litigation against insurer PMA, and a confidential two-week arbitration trial in New York in November 2019 against Penn State’s excess insurer United Educators (“UE”) regarding underlying victim settlement amounts that exceeded the primary coverage.
- Represented CIT Group in an aviation insurance case before the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York: Commercial Division, in September 2020.
Blank Rome LLP is particularly active in the insurance, government contracting, professional services and maritime and transportation industries, drawing on the firm's wider strengths. New York-based practice chair Peter Schnur is recommended for M&A in the manufacturing, heavy industry, shipping and aerospace sectors; he co-chairs the corporate, M&A, and securities practices with Louis Rappaport in Philadelphia. Also in Philadelphia, Gary Goldenberg provides M&A, private equity and general corporate advice. The firm's core groups are based in New York and Philadelphia, but it also has corporate teams in Pittsburgh, Washington DC, and Los Angeles. The practice primarily advises privately-held companies on M&A and on related matters including capital raisings, securities offerings and corporate governance. The department also has a growing private equity and venture capital practice.
Peter Schnur; Louis Rappaport
Other key lawyers:
Gary Goldenberg; Linsey Bozzelli; Kathleen Cunningham; Steven Dubow
Flutter (Paddy Power Betfair)
J.F. Lehman & Company
Tax > US taxes: contentious Tier 4
In a year of impressive growth, New York-based Blank Rome LLP welcomed the SALT practice group from Morrison & Foerster LLP, thus greatly expanding its contentious tax offering. Key names include practice head Craig Fields, Nicole Johnson, Mitchell Newmark and Hollis Hyans. Civil tax controversies are handled for large corporates and high-net-worth individuals, with recent highlights involving income tax apportionment, franchise tax caps in the manufacturing sector and refund claims in the tobacco sector. The group has also handled successful multimillion-dollar appeals of the denial of tax credits to Fortune 500 companies. Retail, financial services and energy are areas of focus for the group.
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company
TransCanada Facility USA, Inc.
- Acted for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company to reverse the Virginia Department of Taxation’s denial of refund claims and favorably concluded that leaf tobacco that is stored and aged in Virginia and ultimately manufactured into cigarettes outside of Virginia, is not used to produce Virginia taxable income.
- Successfully reversed a notice of deficiency against energy company TransCanada Facility USA, cutting its bill from $4.8m to $415,000.
- Reversed an assessment denying a Fortune 500 financial institution the use of millions of dollars in tax credits on the mistaken basis that related members filing a combined income tax return are required to assign tax credits to the other members.
Blank Rome LLP > Firm Profile
Blank Rome is an Am Law 100 firm with 14 offices and more than 600 attorneys and principals who provide comprehensive legal and advocacy services to clients operating in the United States and around the world. Our professionals have built a reputation for their leading knowledge and experience across a spectrum of industries, and are recognized for their commitment to pro bono work in their communities. Since our inception in 1946, Blank Rome’s culture has been dedicated to providing top-level service to all of our clients, and has been rooted in the strength of our diversity and inclusion initiatives. For more information, please visit blankrome.com.
Main areas of practice
Consumer finance: The practice’s business, regulatory and litigation lawyers have experience in regulatory compliance, financial services, commercial litigation, bankruptcy, white-collar criminal defense and government investigations.
Corporate, M&A and securities: The practice represents clients in capital-raising, M&A and corporate transactions including fund formation and management, debt and equity financings, securities offerings, federal/state regulatory compliance, joint ventures and corporate governance strategies.
Cybersecurity and data privacy: The team assists clients in regulatory compliance, preparing for and responding to cyberattacks, audits and meeting data security requirements of business partners.
Energy, environment and mass Torts: The practice offers regulatory, transactional, litigation, real estate, leasing, project finance, federal and state taxation and government/Federal Energy Regulatory Commission relations, intellectual property and strategic public policy services, to clients in businesses including: manufacturing, real estate, commercial development, public and private finance and investment, healthcare, transportation and municipal and county governments and redevelopment authorities. The practice also defends companies and individuals against product liability and mass tort suits, including toxic tort and environmental disputes, aviation disasters, and alleged defects in equipment and vehicles.
Equipment leasing: The practice structures, negotiates and documents complex financing transactions, and represents captive and independent leasing companies, funding sources and the debt and equity sides of leveraged-lease transactions.
Finance, restructuring and bankruptcy: The group represents creditors and debtors in bankruptcy, reorganization and workout matters, including litigation, credit and business transactions and high-profile insolvency cases. The practice also represents senior and subordinate lenders, including mezzanine and second lien lenders, combining commercial finance and lending experience with knowledge of tax, real estate and securities law.
Government contracts: The practice represents contractors in federal, state, and local government contract matters, including bid protests, claims, dispute resolution, audits and investigations, False Claims Act cases, mandatory disclosure issues, suspension and debarment, small business programs, and compliance matters.
Insurance recovery: For policyholders, the firm handles policy audits; risk assessments; disputes; and reimbursements, settlements, or judgments relating to D&O claims; and helps insureds resolve disputes under errors and omissions policies. Its deep-bench trial abilities and novel settlement strategies have led to landmark rulings, new coverage types and industry advances.
Intellectual property and technology: The group covers all aspects of patent, trademark and copyright law. Attorneys have experience in asset management; investigating, procuring, enforcing and maximizing the value of intellectual property rights, including in litigation; licensing; and patent and trademark procurement, licensing, and counseling.
Labor and employment: The group provides advice, counseling, litigation representation and training on matters confronting in-house counsel and management, such as whistleblower claims, trade secrets, wage and hour issues, internal investigations, management training, union relations, and immigration.
Litigation: The practice is experienced in handling civil, criminal and administrative trial and appellate matters in state and federal courts, spanning a range of issues, including class action defense and transactional disputes.
Maritime and international trade: As the largest US maritime practice, the firm provides clients worldwide with response capabilities and experience in regulatory and legislative issues; litigation; arbitration; defense of administrative, civil and criminal enforcement actions; commercial/ transactional matters, including vessel and corporate finance and structuring strategic alliances; and all casualty matters, including collisions, allisions and pollution response.
Matrimonial and family law: The group counsels individuals and couples in legal aspects of marriage, from planning and negotiating pre- and post-nuptial agreements, separation agreements, mediation, divorce and custody arrangements.
Real estate: The group’s deep bench strength can handle all aspects of real estate law, providing practical advice, analyzing risks and developing innovative strategies informed by the team’s broad base of transactional experience.
Tax, benefits and private clients: The practice, combining governmental, financial and legal experience, handles planning for sophisticated transactions and other matters with local, state, federal, and foreign tax implications, and represents clients in all aspects of estate and business planning, estate and trust administration and estate and tax litigation.
White-collar defense and investigations: The group assists companies and individuals facing criminal and regulatory investigations, congressional inquiries, whistleblower accusations, or self-discovered misconduct. It helps clients defend against allegations, while mitigating damage to individual or corporate reputations.
The firm also has industry teams providing targeted representation to clients in various industries.
|Business restructuring and bankruptcy||Kevin Baum|
|Business restructuring and bankruptcy||Grant Buerstetta|
|Consumer finance||Wayne Streibich|
|Corporate, M&A and securities||Peter Schnur|
|Corporate, M&A and securities||Louis M Rappaport|
|Energy, environment and mass torts||Deborah Greenspan|
|Energy, environment and mass torts||Kevin J Bruno|
|Financial services||Lawrence F Flick II|
|Government contracts||Justin A. Chiarodo|
|Government contracts||David M Nadler|
|Insurance recovery||James R Murray|
|Intellectual property and technology||Dipu A Doshi|
|Intellectual property and technology||David Perry|
|Intellectual property and technology||Lisa Casey Spaniel|
|Intellectual property and technology||Russell Wong|
|Labor and employment||Jason E. Reisman|
|Labor and employment||Brooke T Iley|
|Litigation department||Daniel Rhynhart|
|Litigation department||Greg Bordo|
|Maritime||William R. Bennett III|
|Matrimonial and family||Brett Ward|
|Matrimonial and family||Kristina Royce|
|Private client and tax||Craig Fields|
|Private client and tax||Lawrence S Chane|
|Private client and tax||Cory G Jacobs|
|Real estate||Pelayo Coll|
|Real estate||Samantha Wallack|
|White-collar defense and investigations||Gregory F. Linsin|
|White-collar defense and investigations||Jerry D. Bernstein|
|Business department||Gary Goldenberg|
|Business department||Joseph Gulant|
|Commercial litigation||Jason Snyderman|
|Commercial litigation||Jayme Butcher|
|Corporate litigation||Jon Loeb|
|Corporate litigation||Deborah Skakel|
|General litigation||Leigh Ann Buziak|
|Corporate litigation||Alan Freeman|
|Corporate litigation||Michael Iannucci|
|Corporate litigation||Anthony Mingione|
|Michael Bell||Michael Bell concentrates his practice in complex maritime litigation and corporate transactions.…||View Profile|
|Jeremy A Herschaft||Partner. Maritime, Environmental, Maritime – Environmental, Maritime – Litigation.||View Profile|
|Keith Letourneau||Keith Letourneau focuses his practice on maritime and energy transactions and litigation…||View Profile|
Staff FiguresNumber of Partners : 319 Number of Other Fee-Earners : 335 Total Staff : 1,054
OtherManaging Partner and CEO : Grant S Palmer Firmwide Chair : Alan J Hoffman Other Offices : Cincinnati Other Offices : Fort Lauderdale Other Offices : Houston Other Offices : Los Angeles Other Offices : Pittsburgh Other Offices : Princeton Other Offices : San Francisco Other Offices : Tampa Other Offices : Wilmington Other Offices : Shanghai Other Offices : Chicago
- Industry focus > Transport: shipping - finance
- Industry focus > Transport: shipping - litigation and regulation