Admiralty & Marine



Wilson Elser’s experienced attorneys are ready to advise on and pursue the full range of maritime insurance and admiralty matters. Our clients worldwide trust and appreciate the way we handle the legal challenges that arise on the seven seas and navigable waterways.

With broad experience in insurance matters on the domestic and international scenes, we can quickly investigate the circumstances of a maritime incident and chart the proper course.

Wilson Elser ranks among the few national law firms with the resources and experience to litigate multijurisdictional marine issues. We have offices in proximity to most U.S. ports and have successfully handled matters involving ports worldwide. Our Admiralty & Marine Practice 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. Navy Reserve.

Fundamentally, we are litigators; we try cases and argue appeals. Following through in noncontentious matters, 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.

We 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 of 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 different shipping laws, regulations and practices of 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 & Marine Practice advises include ship sinkings, collisions, fires and 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. Members of the practice are frequently invited speakers at various maritime conferences, including the Greater New Orleans Barge Fleeting Association, the Tulane Admiralty Law Institute, the Pacific Admiralty Seminar, Lloyd’s Maritime Academy, Puget Sound Marine Claims Association, Marine Underwriters of Southern California and the State Bar of Texas.