Don P. Murnane, Jr.


Don P. Murnane, Jr.

Mr. Murnane graduated with highest honors from the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point in 1982 where he ranked second in his graduating class. He earned his law degree at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington D.C. and began practicing maritime law in 1986 (first with former Haight, Gardner Poor & Havens in New York, and then joining FHM as a partner in 1997).

With nearly 35 years of experience, Mr. Murnane has handled a wide variety of domestic and international contract and tort maritime litigations and arbitrations. In 2019 The Euromoney Best of the Best Global Expert Guide List for 2019 ranked Mr. Murnane as one of the top thirty maritime and shipping lawyers worldwide. Chambers USA labels him “an expert litigator” and “major player” who is described by clients as “simply a great advocate”; a “fierce litigator” with a “calm, deliberative and bright” litigation style. His “reliability and accessibility” makes clients feel that they “are at the top of his list.” A client told Best Lawyers: “Don Murnane is more than a safe pair of hands. You know you will get the best result for the deck of cards which you may have been dealt.” His case handling approach has been described in Chambers USA as “a practical attorney …sensitive to the client’s needs”; “really excellent: he does not waste time on tangential disputes and gets right to the heart of things”; “the primary sounding-board when there are issues that aren’t quite right.”

Mr. Murnane has acted as lead counsel on disputes concerning vessel and marine terminal casualties, international commercial fraud, time and voyage charters, terminal agreements and liner service contracts. His practice frequently involves issues of international conflicts of law including jurisdiction and forum disputes. In 2011, Chambers USA described Mr. Murnane as a leading expert on the investigation and litigation of sophisticated chemical product tanker disputes.  He has represented one of the world’s largest chemical tanker owner-operators for more than 25 years. He also possesses expertise with perishable goods litigation and U.S. government contract disputes. For the last several years he has represented a major U.S. flag container vessel operator providing wartime intermodal transportation of U.S. military goods to and from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Mr. Murnane has testified in foreign litigation as a trial expert on U.S. maritime law and has served as an American Arbitration Association / International Centre for Dispute Resolution arbitrator. He is the immediate past Chair of the U.S. Maritime Law Association’s Liaison Committee to the Society of Maritime Arbitrators, Inc., New York and currently the US Maritime Law Association Co-opted Delegate to BIMCO’s Documentary Committee. He is rated “AV Preeminent” by Martindale-Hubble and has been annually recognized for many years as a leading maritime attorney by The Best Lawyers in America Guide; Expert Guide Best of the Best USA; Chambers; New York Super Lawyers Magazine and The International Who’s Who of Shipping and Maritime Lawyers.

He has authored articles and lectured publicly and for clients in the U.S. and abroad on the topics of marine casualty investigation and response, electronic commerce contracts, bills of lading, arbitration, claims handling and the work product doctrine, the attorney client privilege and client management of litigation. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Mr. Murnane sailed as a deck officer aboard various types of oceangoing ships and inland marine vessels in both foreign and domestic trade.