Who are they?
A lawyer is a person qualified to give legal advice and whose training enables him or her to draw up legally-binding paperwork, such as contracts. Often lawyers will specialise in maritime law, as getting to grips with the national, regional and international legislation relevant to the maritime industry is a full-time job in itself. Maritime lawyers will also represent clients in law courts and in other forms of dispute resolution.
What do they do?
Activities a lawyer might be expected to perform include leasing transactions, marine incident litigation (the process of taking legal action) or arbitration (a way to resolve disputes outside the courts), sales and purchases of ships, negotiating charter parties and cargo claims. They will also be able to offer expert advice, based in part on the outcome of past legal cases, covering topics from competition issues to employment rights and from tax to regulatory matters.
Maritime lawyers separate some of their work into two sections; 'dry work' and 'wet work'. Dry work being related to disputes which are unrelated to shipping casualties, for example; damage to cargo, goods being undelivered or only partly delivered and contamination of cargo. Wet work involves casualties from incidents like collisions, oil spills, sinkings, explosions and fires on board a ship.