Seward & Kissel LLP > New York, United States > Firm Profile

Seward & Kissel LLP
NEW YORK, NY 10004
United States

Industry focus > Transport: shipping - litigation and regulation Tier 2

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


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.

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.

M&A/corporate and commercial > M&A: middle-market (sub-$500m) Tier 2

Seward & Kissel LLP has a great deal of experience across a broad range of domestic and cross-border corporate and financing transactions. James Abbott co-chairs the group, and has extensive experience with international sell-side M&A and with the investment management, media and shipping industries; Nick Katsanos is recommended for international sell-side M&A and other transactions in those sectors. Craig Sklar, who jointly leads the team with Abbott, focuses on M&A, private equity and venture capital deals, including joint venture and seed investment transactions. Senior associate Danielle Lemberg is also noted for her work in the private equity space, in particular for venture capital transactions and equity financings. All named attorneys are based in New York.

Practice head(s):

Craig Sklar; James Abbott

Other key lawyers:


‘We have developed a close relationship with the partners (Craig Sklar and Nick Katsanos) over two decades. They understand us and our needs, so any engagement is productive and focused. ’

‘Strong focus on investment management firms and ability to quickly interpret key transaction issues for C-suite. Unparalleled commercial knowledge of the investment industry.’

‘Excellent problem solving, extensive domain expertise in investment management, superb client service.’

‘I have worked extensively with Craig Sklar. He is an excellent problem solver, very strong on business issues, fierce advocate for his clients, goal and deal oriented, works quickly and efficiently. ’

‘The partners at Seward & Kissel are accessible, friendly, knowledgeable, and committed to listening to clients’ concerns and delivering responsive solutions. S&K is a very fine law firm for mid-market private-company M&A transactions. ’

‘They have been incredibly efficient and responsive. Very quickly grasped our business need, limited but pointed questions to enable them to do their work, and perfectly organized through the process.’

‘Nick Katsanos is a pleasure to work with. From day one in our recent engagement he understood our business need. He also didn’t hesitate to call out when he felt a different direction was in order to our initial thinking, and we consistently ended up following his suggested approach.’

‘The team is very responsive. A real strength is the balance of legal, business, structuring and tax advice given by the team. We find the advice to be practical and collaborative. The industry context and possible solutions to legal problems are much appreciated.’

Key clients

Frontline Ltd.

City of London Investment Group PLC

Constellation Advisers, LLC

Kudu Investment Management

Piper Sandler Companies

Emigrant Partners, LLC

iM Global Partner

Marex Spectron

TechInsights Inc.

Kennedy Lewis Investment Management

Investment fund formation and management > Alternative/hedge funds Tier 3

Seward & Kissel LLP remains active in the fund formation space, with recent mandates involving the formation of master-feeder funds, large-scale funds-of-one, and hybrid funds. The team is also notable for its experience with new managers setting up their first fund, such as 140 Summer Partners, which the firm advised on the launch of its first fund during the first half of 2020. The team is jointly led by Patricia Poglinco and Robert Van Grover, both of whom are highly experienced in the funds space. David Mulle is particularly recommended for family office matters, and Steven Nadel is a name to note for emerging managers. The above mentioned lawyers are based in New York.

Practice head(s):

Patricia Poglinco; Robert Van Grover

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Axonic Capital LLC

Discovery Capital Management, LLC

Gardner Russo & Gardner

Tiedemann Investment Group

Cedar Rock Capital Limited

Tiger Legatus Capital Management

140 Summer Partners

Janus Henderson Investors

Landsdowne Partners

Work highlights

  • Represented 140 Summer Partners, one of the larger hedge fund launches of 2020, with respect to the launch of its master feeder fund.
  • Represented a Citadel spinout that launched with $750m for their first hedge fund.
  • Worked with a multibillion-dollar investment manager to negotiate and launch a $1bn+ fund-of-one for a single institutional investor.

Employment > Tier 4

Dispute resolution > Corporate investigations and white-collar criminal defense Tier 5

Seward & Kissel LLP advises corporates and individual clients on governmental investigations, regulatory enforcement matters and parallel litigation. The team has particular strength in financial crimes, including securities fraud and insider trading, but also has experience of bribery, criminal antitrust matters and healthcare fraud. Based in the New York office, Michael Considine heads up the practice group and is a contact for cross-border government investigations.

Practice head(s):

Michael Considine

Other key lawyers:

Jack Yoskowitz; Philip Moustakis; Andrew Jacobson; Noah Czarny


Michael Considine is highly professional and very committed to his clients’.

Key clients


Work highlights

  • Acted for Point 72 as compliance monitor in relation to an SEC order from 2016.

Dispute resolution > Securities litigation: defense Tier 5

Seward & Kissel LLP in New York benefits from 'the  seamless integration of investment management expertise with litigation defense'. The firm's experience in securities litigation encompasses matters involving hedge funds and other investment managers, foreign and domestic public companies, investment banks and broker-dealers. This includes SEC enforcement matters for clients in emerging sectors, notably blockchain. One client remarked that the team is 'always willing to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their client throughout the engagement'. Michael Considine and Bruce Paulsen ('practical, reasonable, and smart') are the lead partners. Paulsen recently acted for Dynagas LNG Partners in a 10b5 stockdrop case.

Practice head(s):

Michael Considine; Bruce Paulsen

Other key lawyers:

Jack Yoskowitz


‘I have worked with the SK team for many years. Among the unique aspects of the practice is the  seamless integration of investment management expertise with litigation defense. All too often, law firms operate in functional silos, with subject matter experts relegated to second chair. At SK, the entire team visibly collaborates, strategizes and communicates with their clients – providing the benefit of differing perspectives and reinforcing a team approach where the best ideas can prevail. The team “owns” the matter, always willing to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their client throughout the engagement and understanding of the significance of outcomes in high-stakes matters. ’

‘Jack Yoskowitz is a subject matter expert and skilled litigator. I have yet to come across a more capable and effective team.’

‘Experience both in securities litigation and in specialized client areas such as maritime and shipping laws, and laws of foreign jurisdiction. That combination can be important when clients in these areas are sued in securities litigation matters.’

‘Bruce Paulsen is an excellent litigator with spectacular judgment. Practical, reasonable, and smart.’

Key clients

Broadwood Capital, Inc., Broadwood Partners, L.P., Neal Bradsher

Fairholme Capital Management, L.L.C., Fairholme Funds Inc., and Bruce Berkowitz

Dynagas LNG Partners LP, Dynagas GP, LLC, and Dynagas Holding LTD

CG Blockchain, Inc and BCT, Inc.

Whitebox Advisors LLC

Dryships, Inc.

Quasar Mining Group, Inc., and two of its officers

Work highlights

  • Advised investment manager and its principal on obtaining the dismissal of claims brought against them in putative BioTime shareholder class action.
  • Successfully represented investment clients of Fairholme Capital Management, L.L.C. in the District Court and Second Circuit and obtained dismissal of Section 16(b) claims on the ground that plaintiff’s theory of control group liability was beyond the scope of Section 16(b).
  • Advised cryptocurrency mining company on obtaining dismissal of federal securities claim brought by investor after market conditions prevented company from commencing operations.

Investment fund formation and management > Private equity funds (including venture capital) Tier 6

Seward & Kissel LLP's New York-based funds team has a particular emphasis on middle-market funds. In this regard, it works with clients focusing on the areas of technology, financial services, shipping and other transportation sectors, media, consumer, manufacturing, biotechnology, energy and art. The practice group is led by Patricia Poglinco and Robert Van Grover.

Practice head(s):

Patricia Poglinco, Robert Van Grover

Key clients

TIG Advisors, LLC

Stable Asset Management

Par-Four Investment Management, LLC

Varadero Capital, L.P.

Virgo Investment Group

Asia Capital Real Estate LLC

Corre Partners Management, LLC

Maverick Real Estate Partners

Domicilium Capital Partners LLC

Cohen & Company Financial Management

Work highlights

  • Represented a $25bn investment adviser in forming a $2bn hybrid fund focused on public and private investments in technology companies disrupting the transportation, logistics and infrastructure complex.
  • Represented a $25bn investment adviser in forming a $3bn private equity fund focused on growth investments in technology companies.
  • Formed the management company, general partner and fund entities for a first-time emerging private equity fund manager.

Investment fund formation and management > Mutual/registered/exchange-traded funds

Seward & Kissel LLP advises mutual funds, closed-end funds, exchange traded funds, business development companies, and other entities registered under the 1940 Investment Company Act and the 1934 Securities Exchange Act and with securities registered under the 1933 Securities Act regarding the full range of their activities. The practice represents a variety of asset management organizations, including some of the largest mutual fund complexes domestically and globally, serving as counsel to over 250 mutual funds worldwide. Among others key clients are Aegis Funds/Aegis Financial Corporation, Akre Capital Management LLC, North Square Funds and Prospector Funds/Prospector Partners Asset Management. Washington DC-based Paul Miller heads the registered funds group where he focuses primarily on registered investment companies and registered investment advisers. A lawyer of note is Robert Kurucza, who has represented major financial services companies, in various regulatory matters and transactions, as well as litigation and compliance issues.

Practice head(s):

Paul Miller

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

AB Funds/AllianceBernstein L.P.

Aegis Funds/Aegis Financial Corporation

Akre Capital Management LLC

Columbia Funds

Estancia Capital Partners

Fairholme Funds/Fairholme Capital Management LLC

Forum Funds

North Square Funds

Prospector Funds/Prospector Partners Asset Management

Sequoia Fund/Ruane, Cunniff & Goldfarb LP

Seward & Kissel LLP, founded in 1890, is a leading US law firm with an international reputation for excellence. The firm focuses its practice primarily on corporate issues and litigation in the financial services, corporate finance and capital markets areas. The firm is particularly well known for its representation of major commercial banks, investment banking firms, investment advisers and related investment funds (including mutual funds and hedge funds), broker-dealers, institutional investors and transportation companies (particularly in the shipping area).

Main areas of practice
Bankruptcy and corporate reorganization: the firm handles bankruptcy, workout and reorganization matters.

Business transactions (M&A and private equity): clients in connection with middle-market mergers and acquisitions, private equity and venture capital transactions, joint ventures, strategic alliances and seed capital arrangements, with emphasis on investment management, broker-dealer and other financial services, shipping and media industry deals.

Capital markets: issuers and underwriters in US and global offerings of securities, ie registered initial and secondary public offerings (including ‘shelf’ offerings), private placements and Rule 144A and Reg S offerings.

Derivatives and other counterparty arrangements: dealers and counterparties in structuring, negotiating and documenting over-the-counter and cleared derivative instruments, including hybrid products, and advises industry participants on regulatory compliance programs, exchange-traded futures and options, and repurchase and securities lending programs.

Distressed debt and secondary-market trading: clients in the purchase and sale of distressed domestic and foreign loans, sovereign loans and other distressed debt, as well as in all aspects of the distressed debt practice area.

Global bank and institutional finance: domestic and international banks and financial institutions in structured finance, corporate trust, restructuring, workouts and insolvency, lending, aircraft and project finance; major banks in structuring innovative loan portfolio platform, leveraged loan transactions and total return swap transactions and distressed debt and claims trading.

Investment management: since forming the first hedge fund in 1949, the firm continues to represent a large market share of worldwide hedge fund work, with a client roster that includes a number of the top 100 hedge fund managers based on assets under management. The firm represents private investment and registered fund clients in fund formation, operation and other complex matters, including: tax, regulatory and compliance, business transactions, enforcement, litigation, management company, and fund structuring and reorganizations.

Litigation: banks, broker-dealers, investment managers and other clients in courts, regulatory proceedings, administrative tribunals and arbitrations, focusing on securities-related litigation, business disputes, government enforcement and internal investigations, employment matters, insurance, maritime, trademark, and bankruptcy and workout matters.

Maritime and aviation finance: creates innovative financing structures for shipowners and lenders, and handles complex transactional and other issues arising from the expansion and contraction of the shipping markets; advises owners, operators, lessors and financiers of commercial and corporate aircraft in the acquisition, leasing and financing thereof and the implementation of ownership structures.

Real estate: institutional investors, developers and others in buying, selling, developing and financing all types of real estate assets; joint ventures and the formation of, and investments in, private equity funds.

Structured finance and asset securitization: participants in connection with secured and unsecured, asset based, market value and cash flow transactions; multi-seller commercial paper conduit transactions; receivables transactions, including mobile device installment billing contracts; commercial lending; subscription finance; CLOs; risk retention structures and financing; public and private offerings of securities; project finance; and derivatives products.

Bankruptcy and corporate reorganization John R Ashmead
Business transactions (M&A and private equity) James E Abbott
Business transactions (M&A and private equity) Craig A Sklar
Capital markets Gary J Wolfe
Capital markets Robert E Lustrin
Capital markets Edward S Horton
Capital markets Keith Billotti
Derivatives and other counterparty arrangements Craig Hickernell
Distressed debt and secondary market trading Greg Cioffi
Distressed debt and secondary market trading Kalyan (Kal) Das
Distressed debt and secondary market trading John R Ashmead
ERISA and employee benefits S John Ryan
Global bank and institutional finance (global corporate trust and restructuring/municipal and global project finance) Kalyan (Kal) Das
Investment management Patricia A Poglinco
Investment management Robert B Van Grover
Litigation Mark J Hyland
Litigation Michael J McNamara
Maritime and aviation Lawrence Rutkowski
Maritime and aviation Michael Timpone
Maritime and aviation James H Hancock
Real estate Mark A Brody
Structured finance and asset securitization Greg Cioffi
Structured finance and asset securitization Kalyan (Kal) Das
Taxation Jonathan P Brose
Taxation Ronald P Cima
Taxation James C Cofer
Trusts and estates Hume R Steyer
Washington D.C. Paul T Clark
Washington D.C. Paul M Miller
 James E Abbott  photo James E Abbott
 Michael G Considine  photo Michael G Considine
 Andrew Jacobson photo Andrew Jacobson
 Nick Katsanos  photo Nick KatsanosNick Katsanos is a partner in the Business Transactions Group at Seward…
 Danielle Lemberg photo Danielle Lemberg
 Brian Maloney photo Brian Maloney
 Laura Miller photo Laura Miller
 David Mulle  photo David Mulle
 Steven B Nadel  photo Steven B Nadel
 Bruce G Paulsen  photo Bruce G Paulsen
 Patricia A Poglinco  photo Patricia A Poglinco
 Craig A Sklar  photo Craig A Sklar
 Robert B Van Grover  photo Robert B Van Grover
Number of Partners : 53
Number of Other Fee-Earners : 117
Total Staff : 298