Chambers USA 2019 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, including P&I Clubs, shipping companies and owners. 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. Recently active on a range of fuel contamination, cargo loss, salvage and collision cases.”

Strengths: “Clients value the firm’s ‘amazing array of subject matter experts across multiple disciplines and jurisdictions’ and its ‘assembling of the appropriate team to serve specific needs.’ Sources are impressed by the firm’s ‘very experienced and excellent team.’”

Notable Practitioners for Shipping Litigation (New York) – Nationwide

Thomas H. Belknap, Jr. — Band Two. Chambers USA states: “Thomas Belknap is commended for his handling of shipping litigation and arbitration. His expertise includes cargo damage, collision and contractual disputes involving vessels.”
William R. Bennett, III — Band Four. Chambers USA states: “William Bennett is noted for his cargo damage claims expertise, while also handling collision, contractual and maritime-related fraud disputes. He is well placed to handle litigation, arbitration and mediation.”
John D. Kimball — Band Two. Chambers USA states: “John Kimball maintains a solid reputation in the market, with clients extolling his ‘extensive knowledge of admiralty law.’ He acts as both a litigator and arbitrator, with a broad practice that covers salvage, insurance and collisions.”
Richard V. Singleton II — Band Three. Chambers USA states: “Richard Singleton handles matters such as fuel contamination, contractual and collision cases. He advises domestic and international clients, including energy suppliers and shipping companies.”
Lauren B. Wilgus — Up and Coming. Chambers USA states: “Lauren Wilgus has a growing reputation in the market and has particular experience advising P&I Clubs, as well as shipping and construction companies. She often handles casualty claims, including collisions, as well as cargo damage and fraud matters.”

 Shipping Finance — Nationwide

Brett M. Esber — Recognized Practitioner.

Band One | Shipping Litigation (Outside New York) — Nationwide

What the team is known for: “Distinguished 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 and strong Houston-based offering. Boasts a dedicated maritime emergency response team to respond to casualties and pollution-related incidents.”

Strengths: “A client remarks: ‘Their service is excellent and they are very responsive.’ According to a market commentator: ‘Blank Rome has good geographical diversity and very sound lawyers who find efficient ways to handle cases.’ Another source says the firm delivers ‘spot-on, exemplary advice.’”

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

Michael K. Bell — Band One. Chambers USA states: “Clients describe Michael Bell as ‘probably the top maritime lawyer in Houston.’ He has significant experience handling maritime casualties, charterparty disputes and insurance coverage disputes as well as contentious environmental matters.”
Jeremy A. Herschaft — Band Three. Chambers USA states: “‘Excellent lawyer’ Jeremy Herschaft handles a wide range of disputes, including those arising from bareboat charterparties, voyage time, cargo damage and vessel arrest.”
Keith B. Letourneau — Band Two. Chambers USA states: “Keith Letourneau leads the firm’s maritime and international trade group. He routinely handles collisions and allisions, fuel contamination claims, insurance coverage disputes and wrongful-death charges.”
Douglas J. Shoemaker — Band Two. Chambers USA states: “Douglas Shoemaker garners praise as ‘very personable and very knowledgeable, especially in the maritime industry.’ He is called upon by clients for representation across a variety of shipping litigation including property damage cases, seizure proceedings, insurance coverage disputes and maritime arbitrations.”

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 including legislative advice. 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: “According to one market source: ‘They’re absolutely top of the line, no question at all.’ Interviewees say that the team has ‘a lot of very successful and talented lawyers’ and also commend the firm’s ‘truly international practice.’”

Notable Practitioners for Shipping Regulatory – Nationwide

Jeanne M. Grasso — Band One. Chambers USA states: “Jeanne Grasso is a preeminent maritime regulatory attorney and a leading expert on compliance with regulation pertaining to ballast water, sulfur emissions and other pollution created by ships. She is sought after by owners, operators, charterers and cargo owners for counsel on compliance, enforcement and investigations. Clients commend her ‘straightforward, no-nonsense approach to issues.’”
Jonathan K. Waldron — Band One. Chambers USA states: “Jonathan Waldron is highly regarded for his work counseling US and international clients on compliance with environmental, trade, maritime security and Jones Act regulations. One client comments: ‘Jon has a great deal of experience and knowledge in the subject matter; he understands all of the nuances and he finds ways forward with regulators.’”
Matthew J. Thomas — Band Three. Chambers USA states: “Matthew Thomas’ area of particular expertise is in sensitive international trade sanctions issues and coastwise and citizenship rules. Frequent clients include owners, insurers, ports and terminal operators. Sources describe him as ‘very bright and capable.’”

All referenced quotes, commentary, and rankings are published in Chambers USA 2019.