Note from the Editor

William R. Bennett III, Editor

This is my first publication as editor of Mainbrace. Truth be told, when I was asked to be editor, I thought it was a joke, laughed and asked “seriously?” In short, I was concerned I was not up to the task. Well, “why” you may ask, “seems like a simple and ordinary note for a law firm to pump out.” Not so my friends, not so.

It is important to note that Mainbrace is not merely another “publication” generated by a law firm’s marketing team. Mainbrace is much more. Mainbrace has a long history of providing the maritime legal and business community with articles that are relevant to the then present-day industry concerns. It is a collaboration among skilled and talented lawyers who somehow find the time to author enlightening articles. Is Mainbrace the “Gray Lady”? No, but she is our lady and we hold her dearly.

Believe it or not, Mainbrace has been in publication since 1990! In fact, the first publication—Vol. 1 No. I—was issued in March 1990 by the law firm of Healy & Baillie, which joined Blank Rome in 2006. “How did it last so long?” you ask. Simply put, the sustainability of Mainbrace is directly related to the efforts of Tom Belknap, who spearheaded the publication of Mainbrace for nearly 15 years. And should any of our readers desire to read ANY issue of Mainbrace since its first publication in March 1990, Tom can supply you with a copy—all of which are safely tucked away in a binder in his office.

To Tom Belknap, our partner and friend: Bravo Zulu, Bravo Zulu!

I do not take lightly taking over the conn of Mainbrace from Tom and having to safely navigate her publication in the future. Admittedly, I won’t do so alone, for I am surrounded by a crew of brilliant legal minds who will supply me with articles to publish. And to them, I am grateful.

Lastly, to our readers, we take pride in every issue of Mainbrace we publish and will continue to author and publish meaningful and informative articles that meet your expectations.

Chambers Global 2023 Ranks Blank Rome Attorneys and Shipping, Energy, and Bankruptcy & Restructuring Practices

February 28, 2023

Chambers Global 2023 recognized partners Anthony B. HallerMark R. HaskellJohn D. Kimball, and Brett A. Snyder for their industry knowledge and leading practices, as well as Blank Rome LLP as a global leader in Shipping: Litigation and a USA leader in Bankruptcy/Restructuring and Energy: Oil & Gas (Regulatory & Litigation).

Blank Rome LLP: Ranked Attorneys

Anthony B. Haller

Anthony B. Haller – Labor & Employment — USA

Anthony B. Haller “has a leading contentious practice and regularly guides clients through race, age, harassment and wrongful discharge claims. He is also much sought after for advice on and representation in labor relations matters.” A source notes, “Anthony is brilliant and deeply committed to the practice of law and bringing the value of his expertise to his clients.”

At Blank Rome, Anthony is a partner in the firm’s Labor and Employment group, which is nationally recognized in leading industry publications, such as U.S. News & World Report–Best Lawyers and Chambers USA. Anthony concentrates his practice on all aspects of labor and employment law, including preventative counseling, complex litigation, trial, and appellate work, and notably leads the firm’s Trade Secret Protection, Employee Defection, and Unfair Competition group. In recognition of his leading employment practice, Anthony was named one of The Legal Intelligencer’s Pennsylvania Trailblazers (2020), The National Law Journal’s Employment Law Trailblazers (2020), the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Influencers of Law: Employment Litigation (2019), and Lexology’s Client Choice Award Winner (2021). He has also twice received Finance Monthly’s Trade Secrets Lawyer of the Year Award, and is consistently ranked as a global leader in employment law by Chambers USA, Super Lawyers, and Benchmark Litigation. 

Mark R. Haskell

Mark R. Haskell – Energy: Oil & Gas (Regulatory & Litigation) — USA

Mark R. Haskell “is deeply experienced in representing clients seeking FERC and DOE authorization for LNG project development and expansion. He also skillfully acts for pipeline owners and shippers in market manipulation disputes and rate cases.” A source says he is “outstanding, extremely thoughtful and strategic.” Another notes: “He is a great litigator.

At Blank Rome, Mark is a partner in the firm’s Energy group, which is nationally recognized in leading industry publications, such as U.S. News & World Report–Best Lawyers, Chambers USA, and The Legal 500. Mark advises his clients on matters related to the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, including investigations, litigation, and related court appeals, and Commodity Futures Trading Commission investigations affecting the energy industry. He also represents natural gas and power marketers, local distribution companies, end-users, producers, industrial consumers, and liquefied natural gas and shale gas developers in energy regulatory matters. In recognition of his leading energy practice, Mark was named the exclusive winner of the Lexology 2022 Client Choice Award for Energy & Natural Resources USA (2022), a Lawyer of the Year for Natural Resources Law by Best Lawyers (2021), and is consistently ranked as a global leader in energy by Chambers USA, Super Lawyers, The Legal 500, Expert Guides, and Who’s Who Legal. 

John D. Kimball

John D. Kimball – Shipping: Litigation — Global-wide

John D. Kimball “is well versed in handling shipping litigation. He also handles arbitration.”

At Blank Rome, John is a partner in the firm’s Maritime group, which is nationally recognized in leading industry publications, such as U.S. News & World Report–Best Lawyers, Chambers USA, The Legal 500, and Lloyd’s List. John concentrates his practice in the areas of admiralty and maritime law and commercial litigation, and has more than 30 years’ experience both domestically and internationally and counsels clients regarding maritime matters. John is also an adjunct professor at New York University Law School where he teaches the course in admiralty law, and is a prolific writer and speaker both domestically and internationally on legal issues facing the maritime industry. In recognition of his leading maritime practice, John is consistently ranked as a global leader in maritime by Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA, Super Lawyers, The Legal 500, Who’s Who Legal, and Expert Guides.  

Brett A. Snyder

Brett A. Snyder – Energy: Oil & Gas (Regulatory & Litigation) — USA

Brett A. Snyder is noted for his experience handling rate cases and cost allocation proceedings on behalf of pipeline companies.

At Blank Rome, Brett is a partner in the firm’s Energy group, which is nationally recognized in leading industry publications including U.S. News & World Report–Best Lawyers, Chambers USA, and The Legal 500. Brett focuses on the regulation of the natural gas, oil, and electric industries, manages certification proceedings, and advises clients regarding certification of new natural gas infrastructure projects. He represents clients in complex administrative and rate litigation, regulatory agency investigations, and in federal courts. He counsels clients on the federal regulation of natural gas and oil/liquids transportation; sales, including the structuring of transactions; and new terminal projects. Brett is co-author of the first editions of The AGA FERC Manual: A Guide for Local Distribution Companies, a comprehensive FERC manual for natural gas distribution companies. Best Lawyers in America notes him as a leader in Energy Law.

Blank Rome LLP: Global Leader

Shipping Litigation – Global-wide

What the team is known for:

“Blank Rome has a well-regarded shipping litigation practice, with considerable expertise in dealing with high-profile disputes, as well as maritime arbitration. It is respected both within the USA and internationally for its deep industry knowledge. The firm offers:

  • Notable expertise in handling a wide range of issues, including casualties, charter party disputes, bankruptcy and environmental matters.
  • Experience acting for a mix of owners, operators, charterers, financial institutions and shipyards.
  • Additional strength advising on shipping issues as they intersect with environmental litigation.”


A market commentator reports: “Blank Rome has very good lawyers.

Blank Rome LLP: USA Leader 

Bankruptcy/Restructuring: Highly Regarded – USA

What the team is known for:

“Solid bankruptcy group with a comprehensive national footprint. Acts for a stable of clients including financial institutions and private equity funds in domestic and cross-border matters. Substantial expertise in Chapter 11 cases and bankruptcy-related litigation.”


A market commentator reports: “The practice has a very strong bench with great experience across multiple industries and legal matters.”

Energy: Oil & Gas (Regulatory & Litigation) – USA

What the team is known for:

“Blank Rome LLP is a highly regarded oil and gas regulatory practice able to draw on expertise of attorneys with long-standing industry experience capable of handling a variety of regulatory work. Offers particularly strong representation in FERC and CFTC investigations and enforcement proceedings. Further noted for assisting clients in obtaining oil and gas export authorization.”

About Chambers Global

Chambers & Partners, the UK-based publisher of Chambers Global, conducts research by speaking to a vast range of lawyers and clients. Greater weighting is given to the views of the latter, and any biased viewpoints tend to cancel each other out. All interviews are conducted purely for research purposes and are entirely confidential and un-attributed. The methodology has been approved by the British Market Research Bureau, which audits the research annually. In-depth interviews with clients and lawyers are done over the telephone, each one lasting about half an hour.

Chambers research is conducted by 200 research analysts across 200 jurisdictions and provides nearly 6,000 rankings tables. Annually, Chambers collects hundreds of thousands of responses from clients, the majority via in-depth interview. Qualities on which rankings are assessed include technical legal ability, professional conduct, client service, commercial awareness/astuteness, diligence, commitment, and other qualities most valued by the client. Editorial comment is also derived from the research, with quotations used when they sum up the prevailing opinion of the market.

For more information, please visit Chambers Global 2023.

Blank Rome Attorneys Recognized as Thought Leaders: USA and Global Leaders by Who’s Who Legal 2022–2023

December 21, 2022

Blank Rome LLP is pleased to announce that Who’s Who Legal has recognized 16 Blank Rome attorneys in their inaugural “Thought Leaders: USA 2023” rankings and 26 firm attorneys as “2022 Global Leaders” in 14 practice area categories.


Business Crime Defense – Corporate

Energy – Oil & Gas

Government – Government Contracts

Insurance & Reinsurance

Intellectual Property – Trademarks

Professional Negligence

Real Estate

Transport – Shipping


Business Crime Defense – Corporate

Business Crime Defense – Individuals

Energy – Oil & Gas


Sports & Gaming

Government – Government Contracts

Insurance & Reinsurance

Intellectual Property – Trademarks


Professional Negligence

Real Estate

Trade & Customs

Transport – Shipping

About Who’s Who Legal

Since 1996, Who’s Who Legal has identified the foremost legal practitioners in multiple areas of business law, totaling over 28,000 of the world’s leading private practice lawyers from over 160 national jurisdictions and 35 practice areas. To learn more, please visit

Blank Rome Recognized by Leadership Council on Legal Diversity as a 2022 Compass Award Winner

October 12, 2022

Compass Award

Blank Rome LLP is pleased to announce that our firm has been named a Compass Award winner by the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (“LCLD”) for our participation in and support of LCLD’s mission and programs, as well as our strong commitment to building a diverse organization and a more inclusive legal profession. 

The Compass Award recognizes individuals and organizations that fulfill all of the following requirements in a single calendar year:

      • Member attendance at the LCLD Annual Membership Meeting and/or Member attendance at a Leadership Summit and/or submission of a Leader’s Pledge
      • Participation in the LCLD Fellows and Pathfinder Programs
      • Participation in an LCLD Pipeline program (the 1L Scholars program or the Success in Law School Mentoring Program)

As a longtime member organization, Blank Rome is proud to partner with LCLD in its mission of helping a new and more diverse generation of attorneys ascend to leadership positions. Earlier this year, our firm announced that Megan R. Wood would join the 2022 LCLD Fellows Program and Samar Aryani-Sabet and Lamiya N. Rahman would join the 2022 LCLD Pathfinder Program. 

To learn more about LCLD’s awards and view the full lists of winners, please click here.

Blank Rome Announces 2023 Elevations: 12 Partners, 4 Of Counsel

Effective January 1, 2023, Blank Rome announced the elevation of Dana S. Merkel to of counsel in our Maritime and International Trade practice group.

December 5, 2022

Blank Rome LLP is pleased to announce the elevation of twelve exceptional new partners and four incredible new counsel, effective January 1, 2023.

“We are thrilled to announce our firm’s 2023 elevated class,” said Grant S. Palmer, Blank Rome’s Managing Partner and CEO. “This group’s demonstrated talent, stellar client service, diverse backgrounds, and collaborative leadership and teamwork in their respective practice areas reflects Blank Rome’s commitment to recruiting, supporting, and advancing talented attorneys who will not only help our firm continue to grow and succeed, but also elevate the next successful generation of legal industry professionals.

“We are confident that all 16 members of our 2023 elevated class will continue to demonstrate their exceptional dedication and commitment to serving our clients and communities, and we look forward to celebrating their ongoing contributions and successes.”


Harrison Brown — Corporate Litigation  •  Los Angeles

Harrison’s practice encompasses a wide range of complex litigation and class action defense, with an emphasis on fraud, consumer protection, and privacy disputes. His strong business acumen, courtroom skills, and appellate experience make Harrison a trusted advocate for his clients. Harrison is a problem solver who leads clients through legal challenges and tough decisions within the company and in the courtroom.

Shawna J. Henry — Corporate Litigation  •  Pittsburgh

Shawna represents clients in all aspects of corporate litigation, including those involving business and contract disputes, restrictive covenants, consumer protection statutes, employment matters, and class actions. Shawna’s well-rounded practice spans across the manufacturing, energy, and financial services industries. She has experience handling a wide range of complex disputes in federal and state courts as well as in arbitration. Shawna also maintains a strong pro bono practice, with a focus on civil rights litigation.

Melissa Fundora Murphy — Commercial Litigation  •  Philadelphia

Melissa counsels and defends clients in high-stakes commercial litigation, mass tort, and product liability cases, with an emphasis on multidistrict litigation and class actions. Melissa focuses her practice on cross-border litigation involving the anti-terrorism act, torture victim protection act, and alien tort statute, as well as consumer fraud class actions and pharmaceutical products liability litigation. Her clients span a broad range of industry sectors, including consumer retail, agriculture, pharmaceutical and life sciences, and telecommunications.

Rachel A. Packer — Corporate, M&A, and Securities  •  Philadelphia

Rachel is a business attorney concentrating her practice on corporate law matters, including mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures; strategic investments; private capital raises; business formation; corporate governance; and commercial agreements. She represents private equity sponsors and portfolio companies, strategic buyers and investors, businesses, executives, and entrepreneurs in major growth and business lifecycle transactions, as well as day-to-day legal matters. Rachel has deep experience across diverse industries, including food and beverage, manufacturing, consulting services, and software.

Caitlin I. Sanders — Labor & Employment  •  Los Angeles

Caitlin concentrates her practice on all aspects of employment law, compliance, and litigation, with an emphasis on wage and hour compliance and litigation. She represents public and private employers in state and federal court litigation, in arbitration, and before administrative agencies, and provides strategic advice and defense counsel to human resources professionals and other stakeholders on employee-related issues. Caitlin also provides clients with transactional support and advice on stock and asset purchase agreements.

Peter I. Tsoflias — Corporate, M&A, and Securities  •  Philadelphia  •  Washington, D.C.

Pete represents clients in connection with corporate and commercial affairs; major transactions (M&A, divestitures, joint venture formations, and project financings); and the licensing of pharmaceuticals, biotechnologies, and medical device products. His clients include healthcare and life science companies, professional athletes, small startups, and larger private equity and venture capital funds. He also advises on state and federal regulatory compliance issues, real estate ventures, and creditor’s rights concerns, as well as Delaware business entity law issues.

Megan R. Wood — Intellectual Property Litigation  •  Washington, D.C.

Megan is an intellectual property litigator who is dedicated to protecting clients’ novel ideas and innovation. She has successfully represented both plaintiffs and defendants in federal court and before the USPTO from a case’s inception through jury trial, and on appeal. Her practice focuses on a wide range of technologies, including oil and gas, electronic devices, mechanical products, and chemicals. She also advises clients on IP due diligence in support of corporate mergers and acquisitions.

Huaou Yan — Commercial Litigation  •  Philadelphia

Huaou is a dedicated litigator with a wide range of experience in high-stakes, complex commercial cases, and white collar criminal defense and investigations. He has notably litigated federal and state elections law cases; shareholder derivative actions; civil and criminal fraud; misappropriation of trade secrets cases; bankruptcy matters; Lanham Act actions; Computer Fraud & Abuse Act cases; constitutional, statutory, and regulatory issues; and various other types of corporate and commercial disputes.


Samir Ahuja — Finance, Restructuring, and Bankruptcy  •  New York

Samir concentrates his practice on finance, restructuring, and bankruptcy matters. He represents investment banks, financial institutions, and borrowers in connection with acquisition and general financing transactions, including asset-based lending and secured transactions, syndicated and leveraged finance transactions, FAL facilities, fund financing transactions, debt restructurings, and cross-border transactions.

Ross E. Coe — Real Estate  •  Washington, D.C.

Ross has extensive experience helping REITs, developers, investors, and business owners maximize their value and mitigate risk in real estate purchase, sale, and leasing transactions involving retail, industrial, office, and multi-family assets. He has counseled clients in various industries, including the representation of retail and healthcare tenants as well as hospitality and franchise owners in their regional and national expansions.

Eugene J. Gibilaro — Tax, Benefits, and Private Client  •  Tampa

Eugene focuses his practice on multistate tax controversy and transactions, primarily in the areas of state and local income and franchise tax, sales and use tax, and unclaimed property. He defends audits and litigates U.S. state and local tax matters before judicial courts and administrative tribunals around the country.

Lewis W. Schlossberg — Energy, Environment, and Mass Torts  •  Philadelphia

Lew concentrates his practice in the areas of complex commercial and tort litigation. He represents public and private entities in all phases of civil litigation, from the initial pleadings stage through motions practice, discovery, mediation, trial, and the appellate process. Lew has handled trials involving numerous contract and tort claims, as well as claims for injunctive relief, declaratory relief, abuse of process, wrongful use of civil proceedings, and violations of the U.S. and state constitutions. 


David A. Gilbert — Tax, Benefits, and Private Client  •  New York  •  Ft. Lauderdale

David represents domestic and international clients in federal, state, and local tax matters. He also advises clients on limited liability company operating agreements, equity incentive agreements, and similar equity-related documents. His clients include public and private corporations, partnerships, funds, tax-exempt organizations, and individuals. David also has experience advising institutional investors on joint ventures and other investments as well as private equity, hedge fund, and other sponsors on the tax aspects of fund formation.

Dana S. Merkel — Maritime and International Trade  •  Washington, D.C.

Dana focuses her practice on domestic and international marine transportation and environmental issues for clients worldwide, which include ship owners, operators, and managers; offshore construction companies; shippers and charterers; and terminals. She conducts customized training sessions for clients and assists in creating and implementing effective compliance programs. Dana is also engaged in numerous pro bono initiatives.

James S. Ross — Finance, Restructuring, and Bankruptcy  •  Philadelphia

James concentrates his practice on commercial finance, focusing on representation of lenders in connection with secured financing transactions. He advises clients through the full lifecycle of transactions, from inception and structuring through business reorganization and financial restructuring. James has broad experience with a range of commercial finance products and represents major commercial banks, commercial finance companies, and other lending entities. He also represents private equity and other private borrowers in a range of financing transactions.

Erica A. Swensson — Matrimonial & Family Law  •  Los Angeles

Erica has focused her career on helping individuals face their matrimonial matters with dignity. She concentrates her practice on complex matrimonial issues, including pre- and post-nuptial agreements, inter-state jurisdictional disputes, move-away cases, division of intricate financial estates, privacy and protective orders, contentious custody cases, spousal support, and attorneys’ fees. Erica is a sought-after speaker on matrimonial matters and has spoken in programs held by the international and matrimonial sections of the American Bar Association.

Perspectives: 2022–2023 Edition

February 2023

Welcome to the 2022–2023 edition of Perspectives, Blank Rome’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (“DEI”) magazine.

In this edition, you will find:

  • Interviews with our Diversity & Inclusion Committee co-chairs and new laterals;
  • A profile of our Chief Operating Officer Shonette Gaston;
  • Recaps of our inaugural DEI Summit and our sixth annual Women’s Leadership Summit;
  • Updates on our recruitment, mentorship and sponsorship, and client partnership programs;
  • Accolades and events from the past year; and more!

We would be delighted to hear from you. If you have any comments or suggestions, or if you would like to partner with our firm on future DEI initiatives and programs, please contact Director of Diversity & Inclusion Krystal Studavent Ramsey.

Read Perspectives

To read the 2022–2023 edition of Blank Rome’s Perspectives, please click here.

© 2023 Blank Rome LLP. All rights reserved. Please contact Blank Rome for permission to reprint. Notice: The purpose of this update is to identify select developments that may be of interest to readers. The information contained herein is abridged and summarized from various sources, the accuracy and completeness of which cannot be assured. This update should not be construed as legal advice or opinion, and is not a substitute for the advice of counsel.

Severe Weather Emergency Recovery Team (“SWERT”)

SWERT is an interdisciplinary group of Blank Rome attorneys and government relations professionals with decades of experience helping companies and individuals recover from severe weather events, including recent hurricanes, wildfires, and mudslides across the United States. We are ready to assist those in the path of storms and other severe weather events.

Learn more at

Blank Rome’s Maritime Industry Team

Our maritime industry team is composed of practice-focused subcommittees from across many of our firm’s offices, with attorneys who have extensive capabilities and experience in the maritime industry and beyond, effectively complementing Blank Rome Maritime’s client cases and transactions.

Download our Maritime Industry Team flyer for a detailed listing.

Chambers Global 2022 Ranks Blank Rome Attorneys and Shipping and Energy Practices

Chambers Global 2022 recognized the following partners for their industry knowledge and leading practices, as well as Blank Rome LLP as a global leader in Shipping: Litigation and USA leader in Energy: Oil & Gas (Regulatory & Litigation).

Continue reading “Chambers Global 2022 Ranks Blank Rome Attorneys and Shipping and Energy Practices”

Blank Rome Announces 2022 Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Fellow and Pathfinders

Megan R. Wood
Saloni R. Patel
Samar Aryani-Sabet

Blank Rome LLP is pleased to announce that the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (“LCLD”) has selected Megan R. Wood to join the 2022 LCLD Fellows Program and Saloni R. Patel and Samar Aryani-Sabet to join the 2022 LCLD Pathfinder Program. These hallmark programs are dedicated to producing a generation of attorneys with strong leadership and relationship skills who are committed to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion within their individual institutions and throughout the legal industry. 

“We are thrilled to have Megan, Saloni, and Samar represent Blank Rome in the 2022 LCLD Fellows Program and Pathfinder Program,” said Grant S. Palmer, Blank Rome’s Managing Partner and CEO. “They have all demonstrated a real commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion at our firm, throughout the legal industry, and within their local communities, and we look forward to celebrating their successful achievements in this critical mission in the years to come.”

“As a longstanding LCLD member organization, Blank Rome is more committed than ever to accelerating diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the organization, legal industry, and beyond,” said Krystal Studavent Ramsey, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Blank Rome. “The retention, development, and advancement of our diverse attorneys is at the core of our firm’s culture and mission, and we are proactively engaged in identifying, implementing, and supporting new opportunities through progressive programs, policies, and initiatives such as the LCLD Fellows and Pathfinders programs.”

To read more about the program and Megan, Saloni, and Samar, please visit our website.

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