Blank Rome Highly Ranked in The American Lawyer’s 2019 Midlevel Associates Survey and Summer Associates Survey


Blank Rome was notably ranked as one of the top five firms for midlevel associate satisfaction in The American Lawyer’s national 2019 Midlevel Associates Survey, and in the top 10 regionally for Los Angeles (#1), Philadelphia (#2), New York (#2), and Washington, D.C. (#8).

The annual survey asked third-, fourth-, and fifth-year associates to examine several aspects of job satisfaction, including compensation and benefits; training and guidance; relations with partners and other associates; interest in and satisfaction level with the work; the firm’s policy on billable hours; and management’s openness about firm strategies and partnership chances.

For more information, please visit Blank Rome Ranked Top 5 in The American Lawyer’s 2019 Midlevel Associates Survey.


Blank Rome was recognized as one of the top 10 law firms for summer associate satisfaction in The American Lawyer’s national 2019 Summer Associates Survey, and notably ranked regionally for Washington, D.C. (#1), Philadelphia (#4), and New York (#25).

The annual survey asked summer associates employed by the nation’s largest law firms to examine several aspects of job satisfaction, including quality of work, training and guidance, partner and associate interaction, and overall rating as a workplace.

For more information, please visit Blank Rome Highly Ranked in The American Lawyer’s 2019 Summer Associates Survey.

Blank Rome Wins Lloyd’s List 2019 Excellence in Maritime Law Award

Blank Rome was named the Excellence in Maritime Law award winner at the 2019 Lloyd’s List Americas Awards, held on September 25, 2019, in Houston, Texas. The coveted award recognizes “exemplary expertise and commitment to the shipping industry as well as innovation through which lawyers have played a crucial role in notable cases, restructuring, or dispute resolution.”

The Lloyd’s List Americas Awards, which this year was combined with a unique content forum focused on Future Fuels, are part of the global Excellence in Shipping Awards, the industry’s flagship awards program that recognizes and rewards excellence across all sectors of maritime.

Keith B. Letourneau and Jeanne M. Grasso, co-chair and vice-chair, respectively, of Blank Rome’s Maritime practice group, accepted the award together on behalf of Blank Rome Maritime.

Pictured left to right: Eli Ginsberg, (Lloyd’s List Intelligence), Jeanne Grasso, and Keith Letourneau.

For more information, please visit Blank Rome Wins Lloyd’s List 2019 Excellence in Maritime Law Award.

Blank Rome Maritime Attorneys Recognized by Who’s Who Legal 2019

Who’s Who Legal 2019 has recognized five Blank Rome Maritime attorneys as “Global Leaders” in Shipping. In addition, 13 of Blank Rome’s attorneys were recognized as “Thought Leaders” and/or “Global Leaders” in five practice areas across the Firm.


Per Who’s Who Legal, “nominees were selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.”

For more information, please visit Blank Rome Attorneys Recognized by Who’s Who Legal 2019.

Climate Change and Renewable Energy in the Maritime Industry

Frederick M. Lowther

There are few industries—indeed, few activities of any kind—that are not impacted by the increasingly intense debate on climate change. Whether by force of law or by voluntary action, all major sectors of the world economy must adapt to changing perceptions of how to reduce adverse impacts to our climate. The maritime industry is no exception. As the industry transitions to cleaner fossil fuels for vessel propulsion, there remains the question as to how the industry can best move toward greater use of emission-free renewable energy.

Dating Back

The maritime connection to renewable energy dates back thousands of years, with the transition from oars to sails likely occurring more than 5,000 years ago. Indeed, wind propulsion of large vessels was the norm until the mid-1700s, when the evolution of the steam engine resulted in the gradual transition to motive power. While commercial vessel propulsion will never revert to wind, the use of renewable energy sources in other (shore-based) aspects of the industry is clearly possible. Any shore-based activity that uses electric power has the ability to source that power—directly, indirectly, or “virtually” —from renewable energy generation. Continue reading “Climate Change and Renewable Energy in the Maritime Industry”

The Broad Reach and Limitations of U.S. Forfeiture Law

Matthew J. Thomas, Jed M. Silversmith, and Dana S. Merkel

In August of this year, the world watched closely to learn what would become of the Grace 1 and the more than two million barrels of Iranian crude oil that she carried. The tanker was boarded in the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar by the British Royal Navy on July 4 as it passed through Gibraltar’s territorial waters. It was detained on suspicion that it was delivering Iranian oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions.

Gibraltar released the Grace 1 on August 15, in spite of a request by the United States to seize the vessel. Gibraltar’s chief minister stated that Iran had provided assurance that the vessel would not deliver the oil to Syria when released, and there were no longer grounds for detention. Although Gibraltar denied the United States’ request, the U.S. government filed a civil forfeiture complaint (the “Complaint”) in a U.S. federal court seeking authority to seize the ship, the oil, and funds held in a U.S. bank account belonging to Paradise Global, an alleged front company used to help launder funds to assist the operation.

According to the Complaint, the Grace 1 was managed by a company registered in Singapore, which was part of a network of companies operating throughout the world. These companies allegedly purchased insurance in the United States on behalf of the Grace 1, which, because it was to help an Iranian business interest, violated the U.S. sanctions regime. The Complaint also explained how these non-U.S. companies transferred funds in dollar-denominated transactions to other non-U.S. companies. These international transfers violated the U.S. sanctions regime because, by simply engaging in dollar-denominated transactions to support trade with Iran, U.S. law was violated.

The Unites States’ attempt to seize the Grace 1 echoes the U.S. seizure of the North Korean bulk carrier Wise Honest. The Wise Honest had been detained in April 2018 by Indonesia for multiple violations of international law and sanctions. Similar to the Grace 1, a civil forfeiture complaint outlined transactions in U.S. dollars in support of the Wise Honest, which was used to deliver North Korean coal and bring equipment into North Korea. Indonesia turned the vessel over to the United States and it was eventually listed for sale by the U.S. Marshal Service. Continue reading “The Broad Reach and Limitations of U.S. Forfeiture Law”

Blank Rome Moves Chicago Office to 444 West Lake

Blank Rome LLP is pleased to announce that on September 3, the Chicago office relocated to a new and permanent location at 444 West Lake Street. The Firm occupies 12,000 square feet of space on the 16th floor that can accommodate 30 or more attorneys and professional staff. Known as River Point, 444 West Lake is a 52-story, 1,050,000-square-foot, world-class office tower that just opened in 2017. It is conveniently located in Chicago’s West Loop on the corner of Lake and Canal Street and is steps away from the Chicago River, public transportation, and the highway.

To meet the current and future needs of clients who are based in or do business in Chicago, Blank Rome entered the market in June 2019 with the addition of Partners Kenneth J. Ottaviano, who also serves as Office Chair, Karin H. Berg, William J. Dorsey, and Paige Barr Tinkham.

“Our Chicago colleagues have been off to a great start,” said Grant S. Palmer, Blank Rome’s Managing Partner and CEO. “When considering locations for our Chicago office, we were committed to finding a location that was modern, efficient, and well equipped to help us best serve our clients. We are thrilled to call 444 West Lake our new Chicago home, and look forward to continued growth in such a vibrant and successful market.”

“We are excited to settle into our new space,” said Mr. Ottaviano. “Karin, Will, Paige, and I are confident that 444 West Lake will provide us with the perfect setting to grow and thrive. This location underscores Blank Rome’s commitment to Chicago as well as to our clients and the Firm’s ongoing national expansion efforts. We are eager to welcome our clients and colleagues from across the country to our new office and great city.”


Karin H. Berg
Partner, Finance
Updated vCard

William J. Dorsey
Partner, Business Litigation
Updated vCard

Kenneth J. Ottaviano
Chair, Chicago Office Partner, Finance
Updated vCard

Paige Barr Tinkham
Partner, Finance
Updated vCard

Blank Rome LLP Chicago
444 West Lake Street | Suite 1650 | Chicago, IL 60606 | 312.776.2600

Introducing Seriously Driven

Candid conversations, unfiltered insights, and a dose of hard-earned wisdom from influential women, committed to helping other women succeed and lead.

Have you ever met a fabulous, accomplished woman and wondered how she got to where she is today? Not only that, but where is she going from here and who is she taking with her? In Seriously Driven, host Marilyn Chinitz, a partner in the Matrimonial & Family Law practice at Blank Rome LLP, talks to successful women about their careers, roadblocks they’ve overcome, what or who they credit for their achievements, the other influential women in their lives, what it takes and means to become a leader, and how they mentor future leaders.

Listen on
Apple Podcast

Listen on

Listen on

 TEASER EPISODE: Introducing Seriously Driven

In this teaser episode, host Marilyn Chinitz talks about how she has thrived both professionally and personally and how her podcast guests have, too. Here you can listen to a preview of episodes 1 and 2, which feature Wendy Federman, the Tony-award winning Broadway producer, and Dr. Erika Schwartz, a pioneer in the field of health and wellness and author of the book Dont Let Your Doctor Kill You: How to Beat Physician Arrogance, Corporate Greed and a Broken System.

For more information, please visit Seriously Driven Podcast: Introducing Seriously Driven.