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Top 10 maritime lawyers 2018

Reed Smith’s litigation and regulatory teams advise clients on the impact of sanctions, particularly US sanctions against Iran. As head of the global shipping practice, Nick Shaw has played a prominent role

As part of our 2018 Top 100 most influential people in shipping series, we look at the very best legal minds across maritime law, including arbitration, major and/or novel transactions, and M&As

01/ Nick J Shaw, Reed Smith

NICK Shaw heads the global shipping practice at Reed Smith, which has impressed this year across litigation, finance and advisory work. Much of his work is behind closed doors, in arbitration.

The firm’s growing cross-border finance team advised Deutsche Bank on the strategic disposal of $1bn of shipping loans.

This year has seen Reed Smith’s litigation and regulatory teams advise clients on the impact of sanctions, particularly US sanctions against Iran — clarified as recently as October 2018 at the High Court in the firm’s successful marine insurance case, Mamancochet Mining Ltd v Aegis Managing Agency Ltd and Others

The firm has also been acting in the Sanchi collision case.

Mr Shaw has recently been appointed group chief executive of International Group, a position he will take up in July 2019.


Christopher Nolan, Holland and Knight02/ Christopher R Nolan, Holland & Knight

CHRISTOPHER Nolan is a litigator and co-chair of Holland & Knight’s Transportation and Infrastructure Group, based in New York.

This year has seen his caseload grow, as he has dealt with a variety of issues including those arising from bunker contamination in the US Gulf. 

He has also secured a summary dismissal removing his client — a major freight forwarder — from the MSC Flaminia case, the most substantial container fire casualty litigated in the US this decade. 

Mr Nolan also acts as National Counsel for a major ocean carrier. 


Andrew Lee, Hill Dickinson03/ Andrew Lee, Hill Dickinson

LAWYERS in the Asia-Pacific region have also seen a spike in work, accentuated in part by this year’s spate of bad bunkers.

Andrew Lee, a founding member of Hill Dickinson’s Singapore office, has been advising a number of clients in the APAC region on their options of what to do next, when bunker quality is brought into question.


Gina Lee-Wan, Allen & Gledhill04/ Gina Lee-Wan, Allen and Gledhill

GINA Lee-Wan is co-head of Allen and Gledhill’s maritime and aviation practice, and ubiquitous on the Singapore marine finance scene.

She is no stranger to this page, having appeared on our Top 10 lawyers lists in 2016.

In September, she collected the maritime law award for 2018 at the Lloyd’s List APAC Awards, awarded for the range, complexity and profile of transactions her practice has undertaken. 

Ms Lee-Wan is an independent director of Sembcorp Marine and Jurong Port.


Francis Nolan, Vedder Price05/ Francis Nolan, Vedder Price

FRANCIS Nolan — or Frank, as he is known to those on first-name terms with him — has underlined his reputation as a leading maritime finance attorney in the US by being elected president of the Maritime Law Association of the United States. He is currently serving the first year of a two-year term.

He also stands out for his work this year in drafting changes to Liberia’s maritime laws, to allow those who hold title to vessels in lease structures to record their bareboat or demise charter as preferred mortgages.


Stuart McAlpine, Clyde & Co06/ Stuart McAlpine, Clyde & Co

CLYDE’S Stuart McAlpine has emerged as one of the go-to guys in LNG shipping, having acted for a major tonnage provider to the Yamal LNG project.

In addition, he has close relationships with Japanese LNG shipowners, closing a number of major deals for them in relation to both conventional tonnage and floating solutions for LNG.


Peter Rogan, Ince07/ Peter Rogan, Ince Gordon Dadds

INCE & Co — established in 1870 — will shortly be no more, after being taken over by AIM-listed Gordon Dadds.

However, the deal could assure this traditionalist firm a brighter future, bringing with it access to capital and a chance to offer a wider range of services to clients.

Ince is known to have been seeking a partner for some time, but talks with Watson Farley & Williams in 2015 and Hill Dickinson earlier this year were to no avail.

However, Peter Rogan is widely being given credit for brokering a solution that will see the Ince name live on, as the lead element in what will be known as Ince Gordon Dadds.


Allan Kelley, Fowler White Burnett08/ Allan R. Kelley, Fowler White Burnett

ALLAN R. Kelley was one of the leading lawyers in the extensive litigation of the SS El Faro casualty and has continued to be involved in legal education around this high-profile case.

His caseload includes merchant and cruise shipping from his Florida base, where he is regularly involved with the defence of personal injury and wrongful death claims involving passengers, crew and longshore workers on cruise and commercial vessels. 


Rory Butler, HFW09/ Rory Butler, HFW

ONE of the barristers we sounded out told us: "On the solicitors' front, Rory Butler at HFW probably gets top billing. Virtually ubiquitous at the moment."

Some of what he is doing is not in the public domain, it seems. However, one of his known major clients is Sovcomflot.

Mr Butler acted for the Kremlin-owned tanker giant against charterers PDVSA in what is said to be the first cargo sales case before the English courts. Needless to say, SCF ended up the winning side.


Stewart Buckingham, Quadrant Chambers10/ Stewart Buckingham, Quadrant Chambers

ONE of the most active and successful barristers* before the Commercial Court of England and Wales over the past year, Stewart Buckingham has appeared in a number of charterparty disputes in this period, including at the Court of Appeal in Transgrain Shipping (Singapore) PTE Ltd v Yangtze Navigation (Hong Kong) Co Ltd.


The Top 10 maritime lawyers list is compiled by the Lloyd’s List editorial team in conjunction with our colleagues at Lloyd’s Law Reports. 

Sources: Lloyd’s Law Reports, Lloyd’s List, American Maritime Cases

*Our colleagues at Lloyd’s Law Reports can benchmark activity and results in shipping litigation and are finalising data for the 2018 legal year. Contact caroline.connelly@informa.com to inquire.


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