Admiralty & Marine

Maritime law covers a broad range of matters, from marine insurance to ships and cargoes, from casualties at sea to major environmental claims by federal and state governments and individuals, from injury and death claims by seafarers, longshoremen and harbor workers to liability claims against watercraft operators. When an incident at sea or in port raises legal issues, industry professionals engage only the best and most qualified, seasoned advisers. Wilson Elser's experienced attorneys are ready to advise and act on the full range of maritime issues, drawing on decades of practical experience and knowledge of this complex international body of law.

Our experienced attorneys are ready to advise and act on the full range of maritime issues, drawing on decades of practical experience and knowledge of this complex international body of law.

Our attorneys can effectively and efficiently handle all types of marine insurance and admiralty matters. Wilson Elser is one of the few national law firms with attorneys who have the credentials and experience to litigate multijurisdictional marine issues. We have offices in proximity to most U.S. ports and experience with matters involving ports around the world. Our Admiralty & Marine team includes a partner who served as a captain in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps and with the U.S. Department of Justice, and another who was a captain in the U.S. Naval Reserve.

Fundamentally, we are litigators; we try cases and argue appeals. Yet, we also have extensive experience in non-contentious matters. Accordingly, our capabilities encompass skills as varied as handling commercial transactions, such as ship purchases and mortgages, to litigating issues, such as the potential damages caused by oil spills occurring on offshore projects.

With unsurpassed experience in insurance matters on both the domestic and international scenes, we can quickly investigate the circumstances of a maritime incident and chart the proper course. We can litigate or arbitrate the full spectrum of claims arising from insurance coverage disputes involving primary insurance, excess coverage and reinsurance. We handle the legal aspects of all kinds of maritime claims, including pollution and environmental damage, energy claims, ship and cargo damage, bodily injury and death at sea, loss and damage to goods during transportation and marine product liability. With a broad knowledge of insurance coverage issues, Wilson Elser offers remarkable advantages to its clients.

Our attorneys have handled maritime cases in state and federal courts as well as arbitrations not only in locations where we have offices but also in other port cities. We have appeared on behalf of clients before the National Transportation Safety Board, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Department of Labor and the Federal Maritime Commission. Many of our lawyers are members of the Maritime Law Association of the United States, founded in 1899 to act with other associations in efforts to bring about a greater harmony in the shipping laws, regulations and practices of different nations.

We are skilled in interpreting general maritime law as well as the provisions of various maritime statutes – including the Jones Act, the Death on the High Seas Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, and the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act – and resolving conflicts between state and federal laws. Specific areas in which our admiralty and marine practice advises include ship sinkings, collisions, fires, groundings; cargo loss and damage; injury and death claims; hazardous cargo and other products liability claims; vessel arrest and attachment; and tariff filings and other U.S. Customs & Border Protection matters.

Our worldwide clients trust and appreciate the way we handle the legal challenges that arise on the seven seas.

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 At Wilson Elser, we believe that cultivating an environment that embraces and promotes diversity is a foundational value, critical to the success of our firm and central to the integrity and vitality of the legal field. Bringing together people of different backgrounds and beliefs, people with diverse perspectives, fosters the innovative and creative thinking that enhances our response to the needs of our clients. Wilson Elser’s commitment to diversity informs our efforts in recruitment, hiring and training as well as the organizations to which we belong and the programs we sponsor.

We believe in creating a work environment free of barriers and bias, where individual outlooks and talents are respected and valued. Our firm’s policy is to ensure equal employment opportunity without discrimination or harassment based on race, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, disability, citizenship, marital status, sexual orientation or any other characteristic protected by the law. 

Beyond legal compliance, our firm strives to mirror the rich diversity of the communities in which we practice, to respect the diversity of our clients and their workforce and to employ best practices to identify, select, hire, retain and promote qualified individuals without boundaries or limitations, other than those imposed by their own choices and capabilities. This allows us to better represent our clients in today’s diverse, multicultural society. 

Wilson Elser is also committed to promoting diversity through the selection of vendors. We actively seek certified minority- and women-owned businesses and provide them with the opportunity to partner with us to provide services to our firm and our clients.