Hilary K. Jonczak

Attorneys

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.

John J. Walsh

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Mr. Walsh’s primary area of practice is personal injury arising from transportation accidents including injuries on terminals and trucking accidents and injuries to longshoremen, passengers and seamen. He has handled cases in New York and New Jersey and has supervised and been admitted on a pro hac vice basis in cases throughout the United States for over 30 years. His personal injury practice extends to marine, transportation and industrial accident cases. Mr. Walsh also has considerable experience in collision, dock damage, cargo, charter party, and oil pollution cases and in P&I, hull, CGL and Employer’s Liability Insurance cases. He has spoken on personal injury topics at various seminars and CLE courses. Mr. Walsh has tried both jury and non-jury cases in Federal and State Courts, and has argued appeals in both Federal and State appellate courts.

Freehill, George B.

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Mr. Freehill has over 40 years experience practicing maritime law and has expertise in a wide range of practice areas. He is knowledgeable on marine insurance issues and is often consulted on difficult protection and indemnity insurance issues. He has considerable experience in charter party disputes as well as in cargo loss/damage claims and general average. Mr. Freehill has had extensive experience in dealing with cruise line performance guarantees, and is considered an authority in this field. He has been published in various journals, has spoken before various insurance groups and legal groups on a variety of maritime law topics and is called upon to serve as a maritime arbitrator and mediator.

Michael Fernandez

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Michael Fernandez graduated from the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York in 1981 and thereafter sailed as a deck officer on a various types of commercial vessels including tankers, containerships and others. He holds an unlimited Master’s license issued by the United States Coast Guard. Mr. Fernandez received a J.D. from Rutgers Law School and joined Freehill Hogan & Mahar in 1990, where he has been a partner for over 15 years.

Mr. Fernandez’ practice has a particular emphasis on litigation and arbitration involving: marine casualties (collisions, fires, groundings and sinkings), cargo and contamination claims, shipboard investigations of all nature (cargo, hull and personal injury), intermodal claims, hazardous materials, marine pollution, charter party and bill of lading disputes, investigations and proceedings by state and federal agencies such as the USCG, NTSB, DOJ and OSHA. He also advises clients as to contractual matters including: terminal/stevedoring agreements, slot charters, vessel sharing agreements, service contracts, contracts of carriage and insurance coverage.

His sea-going background and experience provide Mr. Fernandez with unique insight and expertise while conducting shipboard investigations, reviewing vessel records, interfacing with crewmembers and interacting with state and federal agencies.

Mr. Fernandez is also a member of the Maritime Criminal Defense Group at the firm and routinely defends both corporations and individuals in matters involving the alleged by-passing of oily water separators and other MARPOL related violations, pollution and civil/ criminal enforcement actions. He has dealt with such cases in numerous jurisdictions, including, for example, New York, Massachusetts, Florida, Maryland, California, Georgia and North Carolina.

Mr. Fernandez routinely conducts internal investigations and lectures clients on best practices for claims handling, enhanced MARPOL compliance, training of crews and the role of counsel during investigations both in the USA and abroad. He has been selected as a leading lawyer in publications such as Chambers Global, Chambers USA, The Legal 500 and The Best Lawyers in America.

Mr. Fernandez has been selected by Best Lawyers in America from 2013 through 2020 and was listed in 2008 and 2017 by The Legal 500 USA. He has been named a New York Super Lawyer from 2013 to 2017, and is listed among the world’s leading transport lawyers in Who’s Who Legal: Transport 2016 through 2017. Chambers 2018 designated him as a “notable practitioner.” In 2019, Mr. Fernandez was confirmed as an expert in maritime law by Euromoney’s International Trade & Shipping Guide.

Gina M. Venezia

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Ms. Venezia is a partner in Freehill Hogan & Mahar’s New York office where her practice focuses on numerous areas of maritime and transportation law and international commercial litigation and arbitration. Ms. Venezia has extensive experience at both the trial and appellate levels, having tried and handled cases as both lead and second-chair attorney in U.S. federal and state courts and before U.S. arbitration tribunals. She has handled a wide variety of matters involving commodities contracts, contracts of sale and lease, charter parties, electronic bills of lading, hazardous cargos, mass casualties, collisions, the U.S. Limitation of Liability Act, provisional remedies of arrest and attachment, U.S. military cargos, insurance coverage disputes, and enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitration awards. She also counsels clients on compliance with U.S. sanctions regulations; commercial contracts of charter party, vessel sale, and commodities sales; and Coast Guard and NTSB investigations.

Ms. Venezia has repeatedly been recognized as a leader in her field. Chambers USA notes that she is a “well-regarded litigator” and “is continuing to build a formidable reputation for excellent work as a litigator.” She is also praised as “a smart, talented and dynamic young attorney” and one who is “particularly good at arguing on her feet.” Chambers USA.