The admiralty and maritime practice involves all aspects of legal work relating to marine activities. This includes litigation, commercial transactions, and non-litigation counseling, as well as regulatory work before federal and state agencies. Firms with litigation caseloads generally represent clients in matters involving collision, personal injury, cargo loss, workers' compensation, maritime commercial disputes and insurance coverage relating to inland marine vessels, oceangoing vessels, passenger vessels, drill rigs, and other offshore equipment.
Frequently, these firms also handle marine related issues involving mass disasters, major pollution incidents, toxic torts, and class actions. Due to the nature of when and where clients' needs arise, attorneys in this practice frequently are on call 24 hours and travel to distant and sometimes remote locations. In the areas of commercial and counseling, maritime attorneys handle issues relating to vessel sales, shipyard contracts, maritime insurance counseling and evaluation, contract and charter drafting and negotiations, and maritime finance advice. In the context of the regulatory arena, attorneys typically appear before the United States Coast Guard, Federal Maritime Commission, United States Department of Labor, and the National Transportation Safety Board.