CWM has been a leading maritime and admiralty law firm in Virginia since its establishment in 1923.  Our maritime team is available 24/7 to assist clients and provide guidance when an emergency response is required.  The firm represents clients in matters involving vessel accidents, cargo damage, vessel and marina fires, personal injury and death, limitation of liability, vessel arrest and attachment, marine salvage and pollution.  With respect to U.S. marine casualties, the firm also represents vessel owners and operators in U.S. Coast Guard and OSHA investigations, as well as civil penalty proceedings with the Coast Guard. We also represent merchant mariners in license suspension and revocation proceedings before the Coast Guard. Maritime clients are also served in commercial matters including vessel financing, and vessel and facility pollution response plans.

We serve a broad cross-section of marine underwriters on a spectrum of maritime insurance issues, including defense, coverage determinations and disputes, bad faith defense, reservations, declaratory actions, reinsurance, excess liability and subrogation.  Underwriter interests represented include all aspects of marine and inland transportation, including hull and machinery, cargo, pollution, P&I, F.D.&.D., marine products liability defense, toxic tort, ship repairers and subrogation.

On the historic waterfront of the Elizabeth River in Norfolk, Virginia, the firm is situated to serve the maritime legal needs in the heart of the country’s premier naval, shipbuilding, and terminal operations port.

Our team of attorneys are experienced in the following:

  • Vessel Arrest and Attachment
  • Vessel Casualty and Collision
  • Cargo Damage and Bills of Lading
  • Charter Party Disputes
  • Environmental Liability
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Jones Act
  • Marine Contracts
  • Marina Operator Liability
  • Marine Insurance Coverage
  • Maritime Liens
  • Maritime Products Liability
  • Marine Oil Pollution
  • Riparian Rights
  • Salvage and Wreck Removal
  • Ship Repairer Liability
  • Subrogation
  • Towage Contracts and Disputes

Transactional:

  • Charter Parties
  • Vessel Construction
  • Towage Contracts
  • Vessel Documentation
  • Vessel Sales
  • Vessel Finance
Honors and Awards

CWM was named Shipping & Maritime Law Firm of the Year – Virginia USA in the 2016 Global Awards published by Corporate LiveWire.

Best Law Firm Ranking by U.S. News, November 2015

CWM received a Tier 1 Metropolitan Ranking for the 2016 listing of “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News and Best Lawyers in Admiralty & Maritime Law.

November 2015

CWM was named Shipping & Maritime Law Firm of the Year – Virginia USA in the 2015 Global Awards published by Corporate LiveWire.

Best Law Firm Ranking by U.S. News, November 2014

CWM received a Tier 1 Metropolitan Ranking for the 2015 listing of “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News and Best Lawyers in Admiralty & Maritime Law.

Best Law Firm Ranking by U.S. News, November 2013

U.S. News Media Group and Best Lawyers have released the 2014 “Best Law Firms” rankings. CWM is proud to announce that the firm received a Tier 1 Metropolitan Ranking in Admiralty & Maritime.

"2012 Maritime Law Firm of the Year in Virginia"

by Corporate INTL Magazine in its annual Global Awards for Legal Excellence

Best Law Firm Ranking by U.S. News, November 2012

U.S. News Media Group and Best Lawyers have released the 2013 “Best Law Firms” rankings, providing a comprehensive view of the U.S. legal profession. CWM is proud to announce that the firm received a Tier 1 Metropolitan Ranking in Admiralty & Maritime Law.

Representative Cases
Flame S.A. v. Indus. Carriers,

2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131981 (E.D. Va. Sept. 19, 2014)

Mullins v. River Docks Corp.,

791 F.Supp.2d 511 (E.D.Va. 2011)

Misener Marine Constr., Inc. v. Norfolk Dredging Co.,

594 F.3d 832 (11th Cir. 2010)

Norfolk and Portsmouth Belt Line RR Co. v. M/V MARLIN,

2009 A.M.C. 2465 (E.D. Va. 2009)

Styron v. Norfolk Dredging Co.,

262 F.R.D. 502, 502 (E.D.N.C. 2009)

Norfolk Dredging Company v. Wiley,

450 F.Supp.2d 620 (E.D. Va. 2006)

Vulcan Materials Company, Tug Chance Limitation Proceedings,

412 F.Supp.2d 566 and 369 F.Supp.2d 438 (E.D. Va. 2005)

Norfolk Dredging Company Derrick No. 4 Limitation Proceedings,

287 F.Supp.2d 674, 2003 A.M.C. 403 and 2622 (E.D.N.C. 2003)

Maersk Line Ltd. v. ADM, Inc.,

271 F.Supp.2d 818 (E.D.Va. 2003)

Eck v. United States, 1999 AMC 2941 (S.D.Cal); United States v. Phillips,

56 M.J. 771 (C.G. Ct. Crim. App. 2002)

Maritrans Operating Partners v. M/V BALSA 37,

64 F.3d 150, 1995 A.M.C. 2671 (4th Cir. 1995)

Gillikin v. Weeks Marine,

247 Va. 89 (1994)

Columbus-America Discovery Group, Inc. v. SS CENTRAL AMERICA,

742 F.Supp. 1327 (E.D.Va.1990), rev’d 974 F.2d 450 (4th Cir. 1992)

Cargill v. C & P Towing,

943 F.2d 48 (4th Cir. 1991)

Representative Clients

Dredging Companies

Commercial Fishing

Importers and Exporters

Marina Owners and Operators

Marine Construction Companies

Marine Fuel Suppliers

Marine Salvors

Seafood Industry

Shipyards

Terminal Operators

Tug and Barge Operators

U.S. and London Market Marine Insurers

Vessel Owners

Waterfront Facilities

Articles & Presentations

Steven M. Stancliff, “Ethical Dilemmas for Maritime Attorneys”, co-presenter at SEALI Annual Seminar (June 2016)

James L. Chapman, “Shipping and Maritime Law 2014”, Roundtable Panel, presented by Corporate Live Wire (October 2014)

Steven Stancliff , “It’s No Fun Being an (Injured) Illegal Alien (Maritime Worker),” presented at SEALI Annual Meeting (2010)

Steven Stancliff, “The Continuing Vitality of the Limitation of Liability Act,” presented at SEALI Annual Meeting (2009)

Steven Stancliff, “A Legal Guide to Pleasure Boating” — presented at Norfolk & Portsmouth Bar Association CLE Seminar — covering subjects including: the nautical rules of the road, the legal framework for Coast Guard search and rescue operations, the evolution of government maritime security regimes, laws for the protection of the environment, and law enforcement authorities on the navigable waters of the United States; May 2008 and 2010

J. L. Chapman, “Red Letter Clauses in Marina Slip Leases,” presented at SEALI Annual Meeting (2008)

Steven Stancliff, State and Federal Cooperation in Maritime Homeland Security Mission; Panelist at National Association of State Boating Law Administrators 45th Annual Conference, 2004

J. L. Chapman, S. A. Voyles, “Cargo Litigation: A Primer on Cargo Claims and Review of Recent Developments,” 16 U.S.F. Mar. L.J. 1 (Spring 2004)

Steven Stancliff, United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea, Maritime Security, and International Fisheries Law and Management; Defense International Institute of Legal Studies 2003 mission to the archipelagic state of Vanuatu.

J. L. Chapman, M.M. Poindexter, “Treasure Salvage: Is it Finders-Keepers?” presented at SEALI Annual Meeting (1991)

News and Updates
Jim Chapman Represents Plaintiff, Receives 100% Treasure Salvage Award in S.S. Central America Case
Posted on September 7, 2016
Federal Judge Announces Favorable Ruling in the Matter of the SS Central America and Recognizes the  Contribution of Odyssey Marine Exploration TAMPA, Fla., Sept. 06, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ira Owen......
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Seven Crenshaw, Ware & Martin PLC Attorneys Named to 2017 Best Lawyers® in America
Posted on August 15, 2016
Crenshaw, Ware & Martin is pleased to announce that seven of its lawyers have been named to the 2017 Edition of Best Lawyers in America. Delphine G. Carnes Project Finance Law Public Finance......
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Best Law Firm Ranking by U.S. News
Posted on December 1, 2015
CWM earned a Tier 1 Metropolitan Ranking for the 2016 listing of “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers in three practice areas: Admiralty &......
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CWM is pleased to announce seven lawyers named to the 2016 Edition of Best Lawyers in America
Posted on September 1, 2015
Crenshaw, Ware & Martin PLC is pleased to announce that seven of its lawyers have been named to the 2016 Edition of Best Lawyers in America. Delphine G. Carnes - Project......
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Steven M. Stancliff Named Chair of the Firm's Admiralty & Maritime Practice Group
Posted on November 14, 2014
Mr. Stancliff joined the firm in 2007 following a distinguished career in the United States Coast Guard, retiring at the rank of Commander.  "Steve's background and expertise make him ideally......
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Firm Receives Tier 1 Ranking for the 2015 Listing of Best Law Firms
Posted on November 3, 2014
Crenshaw, Ware & Martin received a Tier 1 Metropolitan Ranking for the 2015 listing of "Best Law Firms" by U.S. News and Best Lawyers in three practice areas:  Admiralty & Maritime......
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2014 Corporate Live Wire Roundtable on Shipping & Maritime Law
Posted on October 14, 2014
James Chapman was a member of the panel of experts from around the world in the Shipping & Maritime Law 2014 roundtable presented by Corporate Live Wire.  The panel discussed the......
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James Chapman and Steve Stancliff represent partnership in win for rights to salvage gold treasure
Posted on July 10, 2014
CINCINNATI (AP) — A fugitive treasure hunter's company has lost its bid to stop deep-sea explorers from bringing up gold and other artifacts from a ship that sank off the......
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CWM announces eight lawyers selected for inclusion in 2013 Virginia Super Lawyers® and Rising Stars
Posted on May 1, 2013
Crenshaw, Ware & Martin, P.L.C. is pleased to announce that eight of its lawyers were selected for inclusion in the 2013 Virginia Super Lawyers® and Rising Stars lists appearing in......
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