What’s it like working as a Maritime Lawyer? Any problem related to an incident or situation at sea, on a waterway or during the voyage of a ship will likely require the services of specialist legal professionals. These Maritime Lawyers are employed to protect and advance the legal rights of one of the parties involved in the incident, and will ensure that any issues regarding maritime law are dealt with fairly in the courts. More often than not, a maritime lawyer will deal with maritime law that includes injuries. Seafarers are given special protections and benefits under maritime law above and beyond those of land workers because of the special nature of their work. Maritime lawyers can also help draft or design, interpret, and enforce international legislation that governs various aspects of the maritime industry, including safety aboard ships and pollution from vessels.
What kind of work can I do? An average working week for a Maritime Lawyer can cover a variety of different cases ranging from checking paperwork for the loading and unloading of a ship, to courtroom battles for criminal negligence cases. Maritime Lawyers give advice and representation support to clients in shipping matters under a workload traditionally split into two areas. The ‘dry’ area includes advice on charter-parties, insurance policies, and ship building, repair and conversion contracts, and disputes arising from contracts. ‘Wet’ work includes giving advice on rights and liabilities, and disputes arising from casualties, ship arrests, marine pollution, salvage, and accidents. Where can I work? Maritime Lawyers can be found in local or international law firms, and in shipping companies and petro-chemical companies with in-house legal advisers. Protection & indemnity clubs and international maritime organisations may also employ Maritime Lawyers. A thorough understanding of international, national and regional maritime law is essential for this role. Some Maritime Lawyers chose to specialise on distinct areas of maritime law, for example Maritime Tort Law, which covers cases where injury, loss or damage is caused to a person or their interests by another party’s action or negligence. A career as a Maritime Lawyer views the maritime industry from a different standpoint, giving job satisfaction to those who seek justice at every turn.
How big is this sector? Because ships travel to all parts of the world, maritime law is international in nature and positions are available around the globe.