Maritime program channels hands-on training and professional connections

Tulane’s globally preeminent Maritime Law program offers a powerful combination of specialized coursework and practical skills-building. Maritime law students can take classes taught by industry leaders and world-renowned faculty; network with attorneys at admiralty events throughout New Orleans; and tackle researching, writing and editing scholarly articles for the Tulane Maritime Law Journal, one of the nation’s top-cited maritime publications.

Tulane Law | Maritime law

Matthew Drennan (LLM ’15) shares his research for the Tulane Maritime Law Journal with practitioners at Liskow & Lewis.

What’s more, Tulane’s maritime journal provides expanding opportunities to send students into the field and gain real-world experience with practitioners.

For the past four semesters, the Tulane Maritime Law Journal has partnered with the American Bar Association to feature student writing at a public presentation sponsored by the Liskow & Lewis firm in New Orleans.

The event, made possible through the Admiralty & Maritime Law Committee of the ABA’s Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, lets students share their scholarship with practicing attorneys.

“It’s a great opportunity to make collegial connections with maritime practitioners, which can be invaluable in the job hunt — especially for journal members looking to practice maritime law in the Gulf South,” said Michael Gaines (L ’16), who presented his case note in March.

Tulane Law | Maritime law

Claire Galley (L ’16) chats with maritime attorneys and students after presenting her case note.

Claire Galley (L ’16) said she plans to use video of her presentation as a “speaking sample” for potential employers to gauge her public-speaking skills.

“The presentation series allows students to interact with local practitioners working in the areas they’re writing about and showcase their research in a non-academic setting,” said Bryan Kitz (L ’15), the Tulane Maritime Law Journal’s outgoing editor in chief.

Maritime journal members can also gain specialized advocacy training by getting involved in the annual Judge John R. Brown Admiralty Moot Court Competition. Though organized by the University of Texas School of Law, the event travels to a different law school each year; Tulane Law is set to host it in 2017. The Maritime Law Association of the United States co-sponsors the competition.

Tulane Law | Maritime law

Tulane Law students celebrate moot court wins at Charleston’s Marion Square. Back row: Scott Ferrier (L ’16), Kyle Brennan (LLM ’15), Noah Grillo (L ’15) and Alana Riksheim (L ’16). Front row: Laura Beck (L ’15), Taylor Coley and Rob Adams (both L ’16).

Tulane sent two teams to this year’s competition at Charleston School of Law. The team of Noah Grillo (L’15), Scott Ferrier and Alana Riksheim (both L ’16) placed third out of 22 teams, while Kyle Brennan (LLM ’15), Rob Adams and Taylor Coley (both L ’16) finished ninth.

Competitors researched and drafted appellate briefs on current maritime issues and argued both sides of their cases, then received practical pointers from attorneys, academics and members of the judiciary who volunteered as judges.

“It was a great lesson on the subjective nature of the legal profession and the importance of tailoring arguments and presentations to a specific person,” Grillo said. “I now feel much more ready to present my ideas and arguments to a sometimes adversarial audience.”

Riksheim said she “found it particularly rewarding to see how much better we got stylistically, thanks to the judges’ feedback.”

Laura Beck (L ’15), who served in the U.S. Merchant Marine before starting law school, coached Tulane’s teams with input from professors, local maritime attorneys and Coast Guard members.

Tulane Maritime Law Journal and the Judge John R. Brown competition are great ways to prepare for becoming a lawyer,” Beck said. “The competition is on the leading edge of current maritime issues. It’s a great experience to be part of something with such a rich history and current application.”

Tulane Law | Maritime law

Tulane’s maritime moot court teams visit Charleston’s historic U.S. Custom House after arguing in the Judge John R. Brown Admiralty Moot Court Competition.

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