As we launch into a new year, uncertainty remains the word of the day. Whatever your political leanings, it would be hard to dispute that the inauguration of the Trump administration augurs change on many fronts, from shifting and testing political alliances to evolving trade and energy policies and infrastructure development and growth. Predicting just how and when change will come, however, seems more difficult than ever.
Those engaged in the maritime industry are extremely interested in what the Trump administration will mean for our industry. Although a challenging task, here is what we see in some key areas as we look into our “crystal ball,” just as the new administration gets started.
On December 2, 2016, the U.S. Coast Guard (“USCG”) reached a watershed moment in the implementation of its ballast water management regulations by announcing the first USCG typeapproved ballast water management system (“BWMS”), a filtration/ultraviolet system manufactured by Optimarin AS, based in Norway. This USCG typeapproval has been more than four years in the making, since the USCG’s Final Rule for Standards for Living Organisms in Ships’ Ballast Water Discharged in U.S. Waters went into effect on June 21, 2012 (“Final Rule”). On December 23, 2016, the USCG type approved two more systems—one ultraviolet system and one electro-chlorination system, manufactured by Alfa Laval Tumba AB in Sweden and OceanSaver AS in Norway, respectively.
Blank Rome LLP is pleased to announce that the Firm’s maritime practice was highly ranked in the national U.S. News & World Report – Best Lawyers® 2017 “Best Law Firms” survey, and received numerous regional top-tier rankings throughout the Firm’s offices. To view Blank Rome’s full 2017 rankings, please click here.
Blank Rome’s industries and services recognized in this year’s survey include:
The U.S. News & World Report – Best Lawyers® survey rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer reviews from leading attorneys in their field, and a review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process. For more information on the methodology, please visit bestlawfirms.usnews.com.
A December 2016 United States Court of Appeals decision highlights a recent, troubling trend of aggressive criminal prosecution of vessel owners and crew members following marine casualties involving a fatality. In a remarkable opinion, the Seventh Circuit in United States v. Egan Marine Corp. overturned the criminal convictions of a tug owner and the tug’s master for violation of 18 U.S.C.A. § 1115, colloquially referred to as the “Seaman’s Manslaughter statute.” Nos. 15-2477 & 15-2485, 2016 WL 7187386 (7th Cir. Dec. 12, 2016).1
Blank Rome LLP is pleased to announce that the following attorneys have been elected partner and elevated to of counsel, effective January 1, 2017. The newly elected partners are Mayling C. Blanco, Dayna C. Finkelstein, Andrew J. Haas, Alex E. Hassid, Nikhil A. Heble, Michael A. Iannucci, Rustin I. Paul, Christopher J. Petersen, James J. Quinlan, and Jonathan M. Robbin. The new of counsel are Marquel S. Jordan, Jason I. Miller, Kevin M. O’Malley, and Adrien C. Pickard.
“We congratulate this exceptional group of attorneys on their new roles at Blank Rome,” said Alan J. Hoffman, Chairman and Managing Partner. “We approach our elevation decisions as a long-term investment in the Firm and are confident that this group of talented attorneys will continue to provide exceptional service to our clients and further strengthen our business.”
Did you know that in 1946, Blank Rome started as a Philadelphia-based law firm of just two attorneys, then known as the law offices of Blank & Rudenko? We recently celebrated our 70th anniversary by reflecting upon the many milestones and successes we have achieved on behalf of our clients, for the communities in which we live and work, and as an innovative firm that continues to grow and evolve.
As a friend of Blank Rome, I invite you to join us in celebrating the hard work and dedication that has transformed us from a small, regional firm to the current-day Blank Rome with numerous offices throughout the U.S. and in Shanghai and more than 620 attorneys.
To commemorate each turning point in our history, we’ve created an animated timeline that will guide you through the years and highlight important occasions along the way. I hope you’ll spend a few moments navigating the facts, photos, interactive maps, and abbreviated history we’ve assembled here:
It has been a true honor to lead Blank Rome through what have been some of our most transformative and successful years. With your ongoing support and confidence in us, we have stayed true to our culture, expanded our reach by practice and geography to meet our clients’ needs, embraced technological advances, affected case law and legislation, and made a positive impact on our communities. Thank you for being a part of our history, and we look forward to what the future brings.
Restraining maritime property ex parte within the district of a United States federal court represents a challenging and “high stakes” area of admiralty practice for the American maritime litigator. Given the significance of this unique type of litigation and its inevitable impact on maritime commerce, two preliminary questions are almost always asked by our foreign colleagues at the outset of conflict. First, once an arrest or attachment occurs, can the defendant respond with a wrongful arrest or attachment claim against the initiating plaintiff? Second, what is “counter-security,” and is it available in the United States to the defendant whose property has just been attached or seized? Both of these important questions will be addressed below.
In offering his views on foreign policy and national security, President Trump’s “Put America First” policy proposes to make the interests of the American workforce and national security his top priorities. In a step generally considered to be in direct support of that policy, President Trump has nominated retired Marine Corps General John Kelly to head the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”). As a career Marine and former head of the United States Southern Command (“SOUTHCOM”), Kelly is tapped to lead an agency primarily responsible for managing U.S. borders, protection of critical infrastructure, enforcing immigration laws, preventing terrorism, and overseeing cybersecurity, among other issues. Kelly appears to be up for the challenge, possessing unique experience in maritime and national security issues, both of which may bode well for the DHS and Coast Guard, as well as U.S. domestic maritime interests.