Kathleen O’Brien

Attorneys

Kathleen O’Brien

Katie O'Brien 11/13/19

Kathleen O’Brien graduated from Roger William University School of Law in 2018, where she focused her studies on admiralty and maritime law. While at RWU, Ms. O’Brien was president of the Maritime Law Society, and received the Maritime Achievement Award and William J. Coffey Excellence in Maritime Writing Award from her school. She also participated in the Judge John R. Brown Admiralty Moot Court Competition, where she received third place for best oral advocate in the competition in 2018. During law school, Ms. O’Brien interned at the United States Department of Justice in the Aviation and Admiralty Litigation Office and worked alongside corporate counsel for a prominent shipping agency in Providence, Rhode Island throughout her 3L year.

Prior to joining Freehill Hogan & Mahar in 2019, Ms. O’Brien was a law clerk to the Honorable Dennis R. O’Brien, J.S.C., in the Superior Court of New Jersey from 2018-2019. She has been racing sailboats competitively since she was young, and regularly draws from her experience on and off the water. Ms. O’Brien is active in all phases of the firm’s practice.

Cody D. King

Cody King 2-8-19

Cody King graduated from Tulane University Law School in 2018 with a certificate of specialization in maritime law. While at Tulane, Mr. King was a member of the Tulane Maritime Law Journal, the Tulane Mock Trial Team, and prepared translations of Chinese maritime legal decisions for a database launched by the Tulane Maritime Law Center and the Shanghai International Shipping Institute of Shanghai Maritime University.

Mr. King completed Tulane’s Maritime Law, Law of the Sea, and Ocean Management program in Greece in 2016. While in Greece, he interned for a major Greek ocean carrier and a prominent Greek maritime law firm.

Additionally, he spent a significant amount of time in China where he worked at law firms in Shanghai and Guangzhou. While in China, he was the first law student to study at Dalian Maritime University as a U.S. exchange student. In Dalian, Mr. King continued studying Mandarin Chinese, which he began studying as an undergraduate. He excelled in courses requisite for HSK level five, which is required to attend graduate level courses taught in Chinese at Chinese universities. He draws from this diverse background and is active in all of the firm’s practice areas.

Ryan J. Byrnes

Ryan Byrnes 2-8-19

Ryan Byrnes is a 2012 graduate of the Seton Hall University School of Law, where he was a Presidential Scholar and was published in the field of copyright law. While in law school, Mr. Byrnes served as a clerk for the Hon. Ned Rosenberg in the Superior Court of New Jersey and later at a boutique commercial litigation firm. Prior to joining Freehill Hogan & Mahar, Mr. Byrnes practiced for more than five years at a large Manhattan firm, where his practice included defense of toxic tort, occupational disease, NY Labor Law and construction litigation cases, including extensive practice within New York City Asbestos Litigation (NYCAL).

Mr. Byrnes joined Freehill Hogan & Mahar in 2018. He is involved in various areas of the firm’s practice and at all stages of litigation from pleadings through trial. His personal injury practice includes the defense of trucking and motor carriers, premises liability, Labor Law, Jones Act maritime, and asbestos and other occupational disease cases. He regularly attends ship inspections and on-board investigations in connection with Jones Act personal injury and other maritime-related matters. He assists in the representation of a national restaurant chain as to all general liability claims. He is also active in matters involving insurance coverage, the Defense Base Act, and the War Hazards Compensation Act.

Adam E. Deitz

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Adam Deitz received his law degree from Roger Williams University School of Law, where he was President of the Maritime Law Society. Before joining Freehill Hogan & Mahar in 2017, Adam clerked for the United States Coast Guard District 1 Legal in 2013. He has practiced maritime law in the greater New York area since 2014.  Adam has maintained his Master Mariner Credentials since 2010, operating vessels up to 100 GT in the Tennessee Valley River system and throughout New England. He is active in all phases of the firm’s practice.

Hilary K. Jonczak

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Ms. Jonczak is an accomplished trial lawyer in both federal and state courts. She joined Freehill, Hogan & Mahar in 2017, where her practice currently focuses on federal administrative matters, including claims arising under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act and the Defense Base Act.

Prior to joining the Firm, Ms. Jonczak worked for several years as an in-house litigator for a large international insurance company as well as in private practice. She has significant experience in a number of practice areas, including maritime litigation, insurance coverage, general commercial litigation, international arbitration, and professional malpractice. In addition, she has notable appellate experience and has prevailed on several appeals before the Benefits Review Board, United States Department of Labor. While in private practice, Ms. Jonczak lived in London for approximately three months, where she completed secondments with various Lloyd’s of London syndicates.

Ms. Jonczak graduated Magna Cum Laude with Honors from The Florida State University in 2005 with a B.S. in History and Political Science. She earned her law degree from The University of Florida in 2008, where she was a competing member of the nationally-ranked UF Trial Team. On a personal level, Hilary enjoys traveling, nature, photography, and scuba diving.

Matthew J. Pallay

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Matthew Pallay graduated from Ohio Northern University Claude W. Pettit College of Law with a Certificate of Specialization in Criminal Law before attending Tulane University Law School, where he earned his LLM in Admiralty With Distinction.

Matthew was a third generation longshoreman, prior to joining Freehill Hogan & Mahar, in New York harbor for nearly 10 years. As a longshoreman, he primarily handled various bulk and breakbulk cargo operations, as well as heavy lifts. Additionally, he handled vessel mooring, stowage, and discharge operations.

Matthew has been involved in all phases of the firm’s practice since he joined the firm in November 2015. He is primarily involved in the firm’s personal injury practice, including federal workers’ compensation, Jones Act, and third-party litigation defense. Matthew routinely appears in the New Jersey and New York state and federal courts, as well before the Department of Labor Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs and Office of Administrative Law Judges. Matthew regularly handles all aspects of litigation from initial evaluation and investigation to taking and defending the depositions of fact and expert witnesses, engaging in motion practice, and appearing for oral arguments.

Matthew frequently conducts and participates in vessel and terminal inspections, both domestically and abroad. His experience includes investigating personal injury matters, stowaways, drug smuggling, oil spills, engine room fires, vessel breakaways, collisions, allisions, and other marine casualties.

Peter J. Gutowski

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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.

William H. Yost

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Will Yost received his law degree from Roger Williams University School of Law, where he was a member of the Law Review and the Maritime Law Society. A summer associate at Freehill Hogan & Mahar in 2012, Will joined the firm as an associate in August 2013. He is active in all phases of the firm’s practice.

James L. Ross

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As a partner with the firm, Mr. Ross has extensive experience in handling litigations before the State and Federal Courts in New York and New Jersey, as well as mediations and arbitrations. He has represented clients, including vessel Owners and Charterers, in litigations, mediations and arbitrations relating to:

  • Commercial contract disputes
  • Charter Party disputes
  • Fire and explosion casualties
  • Loss of containers overboard
  • Dry and liquid cargo damage/contamination claims
  • Dock damage claims
  • Collisions /Allisions
  • Off-Spec bunker disputes
  • Maritime liens
  • General Average
  • Hull and P&I insurance matters

Mr. Ross has received the highest AV preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell and has been annually rated as a leading maritime attorney by publications such as New York Super Lawyers and The Best Lawyers in America Guide.

William J. Pallas

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Mr. Pallas graduated from Georgetown University in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He received his law degree from Tulane Law School in 1994, cum laude, with a Certificate of Maritime Law, where he served as Managing Editor of the Tulane Maritime Law Journal. Having previously worked with the firm as a summer associate, he joined the firm in 1994 as an associate and became a Partner in 2003. Mr. Pallas’ practice concentrates on intermodal cargo loss and damage cases. He also has extensive experience with marine casualties, civil and criminal environmental defense, charter party disputes, commercial litigation, personal injury matters and ship finance. Mr. Pallas has been selected by his peers for inclusion in the The Best Lawyers in America Guide in the field of maritime law from 2017 through 2020 and has been highlighted in The Legal 500 – USA for 2017, 2018, and 2019.