Shipyards, vessels, and ports in the Pacific Northwest are represented by Schwabe.

Ports & Maritime

7 lawyers selected

SuperLawyers Rising Star list

7 lawyers listed

Best Lawyers in America & Ones to Watch list


  • Provide ongoing general counsel services for important ports, including drafting, reviewing, and negotiating contracts and leases, ‎licenses, and other real estate transaction documents. Consult and advise regarding the Washington ‎Public Records Act and Public Meetings Act. Manage litigation and other ‎non-general counsel legal work. Provide day-to-day general recommendations and discussions with staff on compliance, legal risks, legal ‎strategies, and legislative and constitutional authority.
  • Represented maritime clients regarding highly contentious labor disputes with the longshoremen’s union, which have involved several administrative hearings, lawsuits, and appeals to both the Ninth Circuit and D.C. Circuit Courts of Appeals.
  • Developed a long-term (25 years) container terminal lease, requiring extensive due diligence on environmental, labor, tax, and commercial contracting issues.
  • Achieved a summary dismissal of a six-figure salvage claim against a vessel-owner client by educating a state-court fact-finder on complex nuances of federal maritime salvage law.
  • Worked with an important regional port in the significant expansion of freight access capabilities, providing support on substantial environmental, permitting, acquisition, condemnation, and construction issues.
  • Represented a port in a complicated settlement involving the Columbia River Channel Deepening, development of real property, and ultimate transfer of a portion of the property—subject to conservation easement—to a nonprofit land trust.
  • Successfully challenged an illegal transit tax imposed against passing ships by a Columbia River Port under the Tonnage Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Port was ordered to repeal its tax and return all collected funds.
  • Represented maritime operators and a port in defeating an “Act of God” defense when multiple ships dragged anchor in a 50-year windstorm, damaging four Columbia River docks.

What our clients say

“The Schwabe maritime team’s expertise is second to none. They expertly helped us navigate a complex maritime matter involving a NOAA natural resources damages claim and a lawsuit from the vendor associated with the event. Their early recommendation to actively pursue cooperation with NOAA was instrumental in helping us achieve a favorable outcome. We continue to rely upon Schwabe to support our business.”

Dawn Cartwright, Vice President, Human Resources Services and Risk Management, Vigor Marine LLC.

“Schwabe is recognized in the maritime industry as a force to be reckoned with.”

Kate Mickelson, Columbia River Steamship Operators Association


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