Mr. Gutowski graduated with a BA from Columbia University in New York in 1978. He earned his law degree from Tulane University in New Orleans, where he graduated cum laude with a concentration in international transportation law. Immediately after graduation in 1981, he joined Freehill Hogan & Mahar as an associate, became a partner in 1987 and has remained with the firm throughout his career.
Mr. Gutowski’s practice focuses on both international and domestic transportation related matters, many of which involve complex legal and factual issues. He has been described by Chambers as an “aggressive, clear-minded and decisive” attorney, capable of navigating the “tough cases.” Routinely ranked among the highest tier of attorneys in Best Lawyers, Who’s Who Legal and Chambers, he has been credited as “dedicated and extremely hard working” (Best Lawyers 2012), a “damn fine and deeply knowledgeable lawyer who stays in control and tries a lot of cases”, and an individual who can cut through “all the mist and target what’s needed.” Recently, one of his peers commented that: “I would hire him for my personal affairs – that is the best recommendation I could give.” Chambers Global 2014.
With more than thirty years of litigation and arbitral experience, Mr. Gutowski has served as lead counsel in a variety of high profile transportation related casualty and contract disputes from situations around the globe. Of late, he recovered in excess of $34 million for a foreign client in an arbitration involving the breach of a long term COA for the supply of asphalt, successfully defended a vessel charterer in a total loss claim lodged by the owner for damages in excess of $30 million involving the sinking of a container vessel, and participated in the successful prosecution of a US-based product manufacturer in a multi-million dollar fire case. His practice includes a concentration on commodities related matters and sale and purchase agreements. Recent cases include the successful prosecution of claims for a multi-million dollar breach by the buyer of LPG under a long term sales agreement and the recovery of a multi-million dollar award for breach of a vessel sale agreement against a major US agribusiness entity. He also regularly counsels clients in ongoing disputes involving all aspects of transportation and international sales agreements, and assists with the drafting of sales and other commercial agreements including asset purchase agreements and service contracts. He practices in both state and federal court, as well as in arbitration before the New York SMA and AAA’s international division, the ICDR. Mr. Gutowski has particular expertise with provisional remedies (such as the arrest and attachment mechanisms) in both domestic and international arenas and has handled a myriad of veil piercing cases and matters touching on international jurisdictional disputes.
Mr. Gutowski has also served as a commercial arbitrator, has presented papers/made presentations on corporate veil piercing issues, security proceedings and fraud claims, and recently co-authored the US section of the Shipping International Trade Law text published by Sweet & Maxwell, a division of Thomson Reuters. Recently described by Chambers as an “excellent lawyer who is good on his feet, articulate and skillful” and a “smart practitioner who “really looks out for his clients’ interest”, Mr. Gutowski brings to his cases a balanced approach grounded on many years of practical, commercial experience and legal acumen, “properly aggressive” when necessary, but always with the clients’ ultimate best interest in mind.
On a personal level, Pete enjoys skiing, sailing and all types of outdoor activities. He regularly participates in triathlons and obstacle course races, including Ironman, Spartan and Tough Mudder competitions. He brings to his cases the same level of enthusiasm and energy he devotes to his extracurricular activities.