Based in New York, Freehill Hogan & Mahar LLP fields a team of ‘dedicated maritime lawyers with deep experience in the law‘, and is considered by some to be ‘the best shipping law firm in New York‘. Headed by Wayne Meehan, the team has a strong vessel and cargo liability, and personal injury defense practice, handling occupational disease cases, workmen’s compensation disputes, Defense Base Act cases and premises liability claims. The team is also recognized for its experience defending shipowners charged with maritime and environmental crimes. Other key figures in the team include Don Murnane, rated for his ‘experience of US-flagged vessels and military contracts‘; Peter Gutowski, who won two significant arbitrations over the past year relating to the wrongful termination of contracts; Daniel Fitzgerald, who is representing Mediterranean Shipping Company in relation to a drug seizure on board one of its chartered vessels; and Gina Venezia, who has experience in federal and state court litigation, including appeals, as well as in US arbitration. Eric Matheson is a name to note on the more junior end of the partnership. William Juska retired at the end of 2019.

Practice head(s):

Wayne Meehan

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Fitzgerald; Don Murnane; Peter Gutowski; Mike Unger; Gina Venezia; Michael Fernandez; Eric Matheson


‘Our general impression of the team as a whole is that they are a firm highly specializes in Maritime Law that provides great results for a reasonable price, also good team players. By far, Freehill Hogan & Mahar LLP is the best shipping law firm in New York’

The team is comprised of dedicated maritime lawyers with deep experience in the law. They are both driven and well-rounded, fiercely competitive and cognizant of the big picture concerns in providing great value.’

‘We also engage on regular basis partner Don Murnane who advises our company for US Government contract. Don’s experience in U.S. flag vessels and military contracts has worked as a compass for us, always available to identify the risks and crucial points during the decision making process.’

Key clients

Britannia P&I Club

Maersk Line



Thomas Miller (Americas)

McAllister Towing & Transportation

Crowley Marine Corp.

Work highlights

  • Representing the Mediterranean Shipping Company in connection with a drug seizure on board the MSC GAYANE, with potential civil penalties of $600m.
  • Defended American President Lines against a personal injury claim made by a cargo receiver who was injured by a manufacturer’s defect in a shipping container, obtaining summary judgment dismissing the complaint.
  • Defending a shipowner, Chimbusco America, against maritime lien claims asserted by a fuel oil supplier, obtaining decisions in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas and in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals denying the lien claim.
  • Defending McAllister Towing and Transportation in a case where two of its tugs were assisting the cruise ship Norwegian Epic in docking, when it struck a pier in San Juan, Puerto Rico, allegedly causing $11m in damages.
  • Representing West of England P&I Club as the owners and insurers of the M/V COURAGE, a car carrier which experienced a fire at sea resulting in claims of $50m.

See the writeup on the Legal 500 webpage: Click HERE.