Chambers USA 2018 Honors Blank Rome Maritime Attorneys and Practices

Band One: Shipping Litigation (New York) — Nationwide

What the team is known for: “Esteemed practice with significant experience handling high-profile maritime litigation for national and international clients. Highly regarded for crisis response and offering additional expertise in alternative dispute resolution. Maintains an excellent reputation for advising maritime industry entities in federal investigations arising from intentional misconduct allegations and casualty events, as well as in a host of cybersecurity issues. Increasingly active in shipping bankruptcy disputes, having recently acted in a number of Chapter 15 cases. Represents a range of clients including P&I Clubs, operators, investment banks, owners and private equity funds.”

Strengths: “One client finds Blank Rome to be an ‘impressive team’ who do ‘a really good job communicating proactively.’ Another client says the firm consists of ‘very professional, hugely experienced partners who provide succinct, clear advice.’”

Notable Practitioners for Shipping Litigation (New York) – Nationwide

Thomas H. Belknap, Jr. — Band Two. Chambers USA states: “Thomas Belknap is a highly thought-of attorney in the maritime industry, with extensive experience in litigation and arbitration on insurance claims and marine casualties and collisions. One interviewee was particularly ‘impressed with his legal analysis and writing.’”

John D. Kimball — Band Two. Chambers USA states: “John Kimball has a wealth of experience in the maritime industry, handling casualties, bankruptcies, environmental law and salvage cases. Clients are ‘extremely satisfied,’ finding him to be a ‘top expert who has a combination of subject matter expertise and many years of litigation experience.’”

Richard V. Singleton — Band Three. Chambers USA states: “Sources admire that Richard Singleton is ‘hugely experienced; his knowledge of general maritime law in the US, in particular to casualty claims, is profound.’ He is a noted shipping litigator with experience counseling domestic and international clients in various casualty issues.”

William R. Bennett, III — Band Four. Chambers USA states: “William Bennett is a maritime litigator with additional experience as a mediator and arbitrator in shipping disputes. One client says that he is ‘very personable, doesn’t deal in legalese, provides succinct and clear advice and provides it quickly.’”

Lauren B. WilgusAssociate to Watch. Chambers USA states: “Characterized by sources as a ‘rising star who is very good technically,’ Lauren Wilgus is a well-regarded associate at the firm. She handles a wide range of issues, including cargo damage claims, insurance matters and charter party disputes.”

Band One: Shipping Finance — Nationwide

Brett M. Esber — Recognized Practitioner.

Band One:
Shipping Regulatory — Nationwide

What the team is known for: “Highly acclaimed practice well known for its representation of significant shipping clients on a range of regulatory matters. Has expertise in Jones Act compliance, environmental investigation defense of companies and individuals, and gov­ernment relations. Advises on maritime cybersecurity issues, including attacks and security breach avoidance. Further strength in counseling shipowners and operators on US trade sanction issues. Offers wider industry expertise in ship­ping within the context of offshore oil, gas and wind energy compliance matters.”

Strengths: “‘The strength of the team is that of focus combined with great depth of experience. In that way they are a first-class team who are responsive and always available to discuss matters,’ says a client. Sources praise the team for being an ‘excellent firm with excellent professionals.’”

Notable Practitioners for Shipping Regulatory – Nationwide

Jonathan K. Waldron — Band One. Chambers USA states: “Jonathan Waldron is considered by one client to be the ‘top expert on the Jones Act,’ while another noted him for providing ‘responses that are well researched,’ adding that he is ‘always being available for further follow-up.’ He is ‘well respected in the industry,’ and regularly represents both international and domestic clients on Jones Act matters, maritime security and environmental compliance.”

Jeanne M. Grasso — Band Two. Chambers USA states: “The ‘excel­lent’ Jeanne Grasso is noted for her regulatory expertise relating to the US Coast Guard and environmental and safety compliance concerns. She regularly advises cargo owners, charterers and vessel owners and operators in regulatory matters, investigations and enforcement actions before agencies such as the DoJ and EPA. She was praised by sources for her ‘strong reputation’ in the regulatory space.”

Matthew J. Thomas — Band Three. Chambers USA states: “Matthew Thomas is experienced in the maritime regulatory space, representing clients such as ports, ship owners and shipyards on sanction matters before various US authorities.”

Band Two: Shipping Litigation (Outside New York) — Nationwide

What the team is known for: “In-demand team with substantial experience across the full suite of contentious issues in the maritime sector. Deep bench of expert lawyers routinely engaged to act on behalf of significant shipowners and operators, P&I clubs and energy companies. Impressive nationwide footprint complements the firm’s Gulf Coast-focused practice. Boasts a dedicated maritime emergency response team to respond to casualties and pollution-related incidents.”

Strengths: “The firm is highlighted by one interviewee as ‘an interesting firm with a good reach and incredibly well-known practitioners.’”

Notable Practitioners for Shipping Litigation (Outside New York) – Nationwide

Michael K. Bell — Band Two. Chambers USA states: “Michael Bell has extensive experience representing clients in both a domestic and international capacity in maritime environmental matters, including oil spills, charter party and insurance disputes. His clients include terminal operators, shipping companies and oil service companies.”

Jeremy A. Herschaft — Band Three. Chambers USA states: “Highlighted as a ‘super-smart and very detail-oriented’ attorney, Jeremy Herschaft is an up-and-coming maritime litigator who routinely represents energy and shipping companies in matters including terminal operator and charter party disputes, casualty cases and cargo claims. His practice also extends to Chapter 15 maritime insolvencies.”

Keith B. Letourneau — Band Three. Chambers USA states: “Keith Letourneau focuses his maritime litigation practice on vessel arrests, pollution incidents, collisions and marine personal injury matters, among others. He is described as a ‘very steady and thoughtful attorney’ by one client, while another notes that he is ‘very studious, measured and looks at the overall structure of a case, and what may happen several steps down the road.’”

Douglas J. Shoemaker — Band Four. Chambers USA states: “Douglas Shoemaker is ‘thoughtful and pragmatic, while being very aggressive and thorough in terms of representation,’ according to one client. His litigation practice is focused on maritime matters involving personal injury issues, cargo damage defense and onboard investigations.”

All referenced quotes, commentary, and rankings are published in Chambers USA 2018.

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