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July 08, 2020 Profile

Admiralty and Maritime Law Committee

By Sarah Yantakosol Gayer

The Admiralty and Maritime Law Committee (AMLC) is the longest-standing admiralty and maritime law committee in the American Bar Association (ABA). The AMLC takes pride in providing a community that facilitates its members’ growth in the maritime practice. It is comprised of a diverse group of active maritime attorneys from around the country, with the majority of members practicing along the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific Coasts. In the last decade, it has placed particular emphasis on next-gen shipping and transportation issues impacting our industry and bringing together the leaders to meet these challenges and opportunities head-on.

The committee supports its members’ business development objectives by providing an exceptional marketing platform that makes it one of the leading voices in the industry. Membership in the AMLC includes opportunities for members to host, sponsor, and attend AMLC programs around the country that examine the latest developments in admiralty and maritime law; mentor and be mentored by some of the finest maritime lawyers in the business; participate in speaking engagements during AMLC regional programs and ABA conferences; publish in AMLC and ABA periodicals; and develop relationships with fellow maritime practitioners.

The biennial AMLC stand-alone conference, Admiralty Disruption, is scheduled for March 12–13, 2021, at the Sheraton in New Orleans. Admiralty Disruption is a bold name for a bold program that provides unparalleled content to the sophisticated legal maritime practitioner and company leader. In designing Admiralty Disruption, the AMLC had two tenets in mind: provide cost-effective quality content and feature the best of the best in speakers from the maritime legal community. In the inaugural year, the two days of CLE programing featured more than 35 company representatives from the marine and energy market, plus a distinguished group of judges.

Held in conjunction with the TIPS Transportation MegaConference, for the multimodal practitioner, there is no other opportunity where you can meet with company and insurance interests from the wet and dry sides of the transportation industry at the same time. In 2019, Admiralty Disruption included speakers from Alaska Tanker Company, American Club, Aon Risk Solutions, ARCCA, Archer Daniels Midland, Ascot Group, Associated Terminals, Blessey Marine Services, Charles Taylor P&I Management, CMA CGM, Crowley Maritime, Exponent London, Fincantieri Marine Group, Gard (North America) Inc., Gen Re, Guardian Navigation, Hapag-Lloyd, Heidmar, Hornbeck Offshore Services, Ingram Barge, International Seaways, KALM Seas Insurance, Marathon Petroleum, Matson Navigation, McAllister Towing, Metal Shark, North of England P&I Association, Ocean Network Express, Phillips 66, the Port of Virginia, Rimkus Consulting Group, RLI Marine, Robson Forensic, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., S-E-A Limited, Shone Automation, Steamship Mutual, Stolt-Nielsen, Thomas Miller, Total Marine Solutions, TPG Marine Enterprises, Turn Services, and ZIM Integrated Shipping Services. In 2021, the AMLC promises another remarkable lineup of representatives of oil majors, ship owners, vessel managers, offshore service companies, inland towboat operators, shipbuilders, domestic insurers, P&I clubs, insurance brokers, and technical experts, as well as the opportunity to connect with respected professionals from all sectors of the maritime industry.

The AMLC also provides year-round CLE programming and networking events throughout the United States. Recent AMLC programs have addressed in-house counsel shipping forums, damages recoverable in maritime matters, the fundamentals of vessel arrest and attachment, maritime trades, issues with mass tort settlements, and the availability of punitive damages in unseaworthiness cases. Each event provides an outstanding opportunity to work with industry representatives. The AMLC also holds several annual CLE programs, such as the Cruise Industry Passenger and Crew Claims Seminar and the Admiralty Law Update and Board Certification Review.

The AMLC frequently cosponsors events with other maritime organizations. The AMLC cohosted a law seminar with the Maritime Administration (MARAD) at the Department of Transportation (DOT) and MARAD Headquarters in Washington, D.C., on emerging topics in the maritime industry. Attendees represented a wide range of interests and included government and maritime attorneys, senior leaders from U.S. government agencies and military branches, P&I clubs and vessel insurers, labor and seafarer unions, foreign embassy maritime and economic attachés, trade associations, classification societies, and shipping line owners or operations.

The AMLC is also deeply committed to promoting diversity in the maritime industry and routinely cosponsors events with the Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA). The AMLC and WISTA annually cosponsor an all-female CLE panel on recent developments in key maritime topics. These CLE programs have addressed such topics as how underwriters are likely to approach the new risk matrix presented by the advent of autonomous and remotely operated ships, what maritime practitioners need to understand about blockchain, and how to manage cybersecurity and other risks associated with the use of developing technology in the maritime space.

The AMLC collaborates with and regularly cosponsors programs with other TIPS general committees. The AMLC recently cosponsored the Managing Risk at the Intersection of Cybersecurity, Data Privacy and Business program with the Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Committee. This program included the panel “Maritime Cyber Breaches—A Risky Business,” exploring how the maritime world is increasingly exposed to cyber threats mandating proactive risk management analysis and response, and the economic impact on shipping affected by the number, type, and scope of cyber claims insurers receive.

The AMLC authors several publications. Annually, the AMLC publishes “Recent Developments in Admiralty and Maritime Law” in the Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal. The quarterly AMLC newsletter is packed with articles on recent developments in admiralty and maritime law, reports on recent and upcoming committee events, and most importantly, the “Trade Talk” article spotlighting in-house maritime counsel throughout the country. “Trade Talk” articles have featured in-house counsel from over 40 maritime companies, such as Carnival Cruise Line, Chevron Shipping Co., Gard (North America) Inc., Horizon Lines, and Skuld North America. The AMLC is pleased to announce that the committee has recently published Damages Recoverable in Maritime Matters, Second Edition, which focuses on the damages recoverable in all types of admiralty and maritime matters and is an invaluable resource for maritime practitioners.

The AMLC is dedicated to the development and education of law students. Twice a year, the AMLC hosts a Presentation of Selected Works from the Tulane Maritime Law Journal. In addition, the AMLC cosponsors an Annual Law Student Writing Competition with Gard (North America) Inc.

Our committee members are full-time lawyers and leaders in the maritime bar. Our team displays an amazing commitment to achieving committee goals. The AMLC welcomes all aboard to join our crew.

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Sarah Yantakosol Gayer


Sarah Yantakosol Gayer, former chair of the TIPS Admiralty and Maritime Law Committee, is an attorney at Thompson Bowie & Hatch LLC in Portland, Maine. She practices in the areas of admiralty and maritime law and professional liability.