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Maritime Law Association of the United States (MLA)

About the MLA


  • Founded: 1899


The Maritime Law Association of the United States (MLAUS), established in 1899, is a national professional organization of lawyers who practice in maritime or admiralty law.

The MLAUS serves maritime lawyers by providing a forum to discuss news and issues in the practice, as a source of opinion and information to the public, and as a representative to the international legal community. Accomplished members may earn the designation of "Proctor in Admiralty."

The Maritime Law Association seeks appropriate reforms and uniform interpretation in maritime law. In this context maritime law is the body of law that governs legal controversies and criminal offenses on the sea

People most affected by maritime law include sailors, seamen, passengers, longshoremen and harbor workers, ship owners, and people involved with the shipping industry, including those who work in industries that ship products by sea.

Maritime lawyers often represent those who have been injured at sea often in legal actions against their employers for money damages. For a maritime law firm, membership with the MLA can provide many benefits as described below.

The MLA also represents the United States abroad in the Comité Maritime International (CMI), an international committee that encourages cooperation among nations on maritime law.



Directors and Officers

David J Farrell Jr
Chatham, MA
Barbara L Holland
First Vice President
Seattle, WA
Grady S Hurley
Second Vice President
New Orleans, LA
James F Moseley Jr
Jacksonville, FL
William Robert Connor III
New York, NY
Edward James Powers
Membership Secretary
Norfolk, VA

MLA Members Active on Lawyer Legion

Nicholas Neidzwski
BoatLaw, LLP
San Francisco, CA
View Profile · Visit Website
Spencer Marc Aronfeld
Aronfeld Trial Lawyers
Coral Gables, FL
View Profile
Richard James Serpe
Law Offices Of Richard J. Serpe, P.C.
Norfolk, VA
View Profile
Jerry Dean Hamilton
Hamilton, Miller & Birthisel LLP
Miami, FL
View Profile

Past Presidents

Francis Xavier Nolan III
New York, NY
Harold K Watson
Houston, TX
Robert G Clyne
Houston, TX
Robert Bruce Parrish
Jacksonville, FL
Patrick J Bonner
New York, NY
Warren John Marwedel
Chicago, IL

Contact the MLA

Maritime Law Association of the United States (MLA)

Contact the MLA via MLAUS.org

You can contact the MLA by using the contact form on MLAUS.org

Directory of Admiralty and Maritime Lawyers in the United States

Lawyer Legion maintains a national directory of maritime lawyers which includes both MLAUS members and non-members. To help the public find the best choices when searching for a maritime attorney, Lawyer Legion recognizes attorneys for their involvement and leadership within the MLA and other professional associations. This includes recognition for MLA Past Presidents, those who have earned the designation as a Proctor in Admiralty, and MLA members who have updated their Lawyer Legion profile with information about their involvement with the MLA.

Use this directory to find an admiralty and maritime lawyer in your local area. Start by choosing your state from the list below.

More about the MLA


The Maritime Law Association was founded in 1899, three years after the formation of the International Maritime Committee, better known as the Comité Maritime International (CMI). The MLA became a constituent member of the CMI, representing maritime lawyers in the United States to the international community.

As a professional organization, the MLA has had a hand in several significant developments in maritime law. Legislation passed that was encouraged or drafted by the MLA include:

  • the Maritime Liens Acts of 1910 and 1920;
  • the Death on the High Seas Act of 1920;
  • the Jones Act of 1920;
  • the Public Vessels Act of 1925;
  • the Longshore and Harbor Workers Act of 1927;
  • the 1966 merger of the General Admiralty Rules with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure;
  • the 1972 International Collision Regulations; and
  • the statute of limitations changes for personal injury in 1980.

The Maritime Law Association was officially incorporated in 1993.


Although the MLA has nine classes of membership, most members fall into two categories: Associate Lawyer and Proctor in Admiralty. Other membership classifications include Life, Non-Lawyer, Judicial and Law Student.

The term "Proctor in Admiralty" dates back to English admiralty courts in the 1200's. An attorney may join the MLA as an Associate Lawyer. After four years, the associate member may seek to become designated as a Proctor in Admiralty.

The transition requires the support of two proctors who do not practice with the applicant must support the associate.

A committee of experienced proctors judges whether the applicant has sufficient experience and education. Those approved by the committee are then passed on for consideration by the Board of Directors.

Members may also post news regarding their practice or important cases they are working on on the association's website.

Benefits of Membership

For attorneys that practice maritime and admiralty law, there are many benefits to joining MLA. The MLA holds meetings twice a year, which association members may attend. Members may also attend the meetings held every two years where they are lectures, seminars and panel discussions on a variety of marine law topics.

The biannual meetings have seminars and sessions are accredited in the various states for continuing legal education (CLE) credits.

Additionally, all members are listed in the organization's public database on the website. When a member of the public is looking for a maritime lawyer, he or she can search the database and see what lawyers have joined, in addition to which lawyers have been designated as Proctors in Admiralty.


Members of the organization are encouraged to take on leadership roles by joining various committees including:

  • Arbitration and ADR
  • Carriage of Goods
  • Cruise Lines and Passenger Ships
  • Fisheries
  • Inland Waters and Towing
  • International Organizations, Conventions, and Standards
  • Marine Ecology and Maritime Criminal Law
  • Marine Financing
  • Marine Insurance and General Average
  • Marine Torts and Casualties
  • Offshore Industries
  • Practice and Procedure
  • Recreational Boating
  • Regulation of Vessel Operations, Safety, Security and Navigation
  • Salvage
  • Stevedores, Marine Terminals, and Vessel Services
  • Young Lawyers

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