A lot of people ask me how I became involved practicing maritime law.
Thirty years ago, I started law school at Tulane School of Law in New Orleans, Louisiana. I may be biased, but Tulane has the best law school in the United States involving maritime studies. Tulane has a renowned "Admiralty and Maritime Law" program which is part of the Tulane Maritime Law Center.
Tulane is where I took my introductory maritime courses (Admiralty I and Admiralty II), maritime jurisdiction, maritime personal injury and death, maritime insurance and "offshore operations" - a particularly excellent course addressing personal injury and death cases in the oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico.
Tulane is the home of the Tulane Maritime Law Journal (previously called has the Maritime Lawyer) which is described in Wikipedia as the "preeminent student-edited law journal in the field of Admiralty and Maritime Law."
The professors teaching the maritime law courses were excellent. A professor named Thomas Schoenbaum taught the introductory maritime course. He went on to write the famous maritime law hornbook - "Admiralty and Maritime Law." A number of the maritime personal injury courses were taught by maritime lawyers, including the Honorable Eldon Fallon who was a well known personal injury lawyer and then became a highly respected Federal Court Judge in New Orleans.
After graduating from Tulane law school, in 1983 I joined the Maritime Law Association. Since 1983, I have been practicing maritime law - mostly personal injury and death cases.
I have a lot of fond memories of attending maritime law classes at Tulane. Its hard to think that was three decades ago!
Tulane also sponsors the Admiralty Law Institute every other year, which is always a good excuse to make a trip back to New Orleans.
"Everything the cruise lines don't want you to know" is the motto of this award winning maritime law blog authored by Miami lawyer Jim Walker.
The New York Times describes Jim as "a maritime lawyer in Miami who has attended more than half a dozen Congressional hearings about cruise ship crime and passenger safety." Jim has been involved in maritime litigation since 1983. Based in Miami, Florida, Jim represents passengers and crew members injured or assaulted on cruise ships around the world. He is interviewed frequently when there are fires and mishaps at seas. He is asked to appear regularly on television programs and share his views of disasters at sea.
In 2016, Jim has continued as one of the "go to" maritime lawyers when things go wrong on the high seas.
The GO-TO CRUISE LAW ATTORNEY - FEATURED IN HUNDREDS OF TELEVISION, CABLE NEWS, RADIO, DOCUMENTARY, MAGAZINE & NEWSPAPER ARTICLES AND PROGRAMS ABOUT CRUISE SHIP ACCIDENTS, INJURIES, SEXUAL ASSAULTS AND CONTROVERSIES
In 2012, Jim appeared on ABC's 20/20 special on the Costa Concordia disaster. He appeared on Australia's Dateline program "Lost at Sea" about passengers and crew members disappearing from cruise ships. Jim was featured on PBS's documentary "Disasters at Sea: Why Ships Sink" which looked at cruise disasters from the Titanic's sinking in 1912 to the current date. He also appeared on CNN's special "Cruise to Disaster" which explored the Concordia disaster.
Jim attended Duke University and graduated cum laude in 1980. He attended Tulane University School of Law, graduating in 1983 after taking Tulane’s internationally renowned admiralty curriculum.
Jim has experience regarding issues of cruise ship crime and sexual assault. Over the past ten years, he has represented over 1,000 clients including over 75 individuals who have been victimized on cruise ships, cruise excursions and ports of call. Six of Jim’s clients have testified before the United States Congress regarding cruise ship safety. Jim has handled the following cases in the past ten years:
The case of Laurie Dishman, sexually assaulted on Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas. Her case resulted in changes to the cruise industry and the introduction of the Cruise Ship Safety and Security Act of 2010.
The “Missing Honeymooner Case” involving the disappearance of George Smith IV of Greenwich Connecticut from Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas cruise ship. Jim represented Mr. Smith’s widow, Jennifer Hagel.
Over 75 sexual assault cases against women and children on cruise ships, resulting in many million and multi-million dollars settlements.
The 2006 Star Princess fire disaster. The cruise ship fire resulted in one hundred cabins being destroyed and the death of one passenger, Richard Liffridge. Jim represented Mr. Liffridge’s family in litigation against Princess Cruises in California.
Numerous cases involving serious injury and death of passengers and crew members aboard Carnival, Celebrity, Costa, Norwegian, Oceania, Princess and Royal Caribbean cruise ships.
Jim is married to Lisa O’Neill who he met while they were undergraduates in college thirty years ago. Jim and Lisa are also law partners.
Lisa is also a Duke cum laude graduate, and attended the University of Florida School of Law in Gainesville, Florida. She served on Law Review as the Senior Articles Editor, won the prestigious Gertrude Brick Award, and graduated cum laude. Jim and Lisa work on all cases together.
In 1999, the firm created the web site CruiseLaw.com as an information resource for passengers and crew members worldwide. Here is what some publications are saying about Jim Walker:
"King of anti-cruise tirades . . . his impressive background and litigation record against cruise lines must be taken seriously." - Travel Weekly.
"Perpetual Pain-In-The-Cruise-Lines-Neck Jim Walker" - Gadling.
"A well-known thorn in the side of cruise lines" - Cruising Done Right (travel agent publication).
Lexblog names Cruise Law News "Blog of the Year" writing: ". . . no attorney’s passion shows through more than Jim Walker’s in his blog, Cruise Law News. Not only is he an advocate for cruise passengers, but also a fervent watchdog for the industry as a whole. His 2014 included, among a multitude of accomplishments, traveling to Washingto, DC to back Senator Rockefeller’s Cruise Passenger Protection Act and forcing government officials in the Bahamas to have to answer to their ranking on the Top 10 worst destinations."
Jim is the author of Cruise Law News - described as a "Hard-Hitting Blog" by Miami's Daily Business Review.
The U.K. Metro newspaper refers to Jim as the "Devil of Cruise Reporting."
LexBlog says "Walker is the world’s leading reporter on deaths, injuries, and safety matters relating to the cruise industry. Via his blog, he not only reports the news, but is the de facto cruise industry watchdog."
Admiralty Law Committee of the Florida Bar (former member)
American Association for Justice, Admiralty Law Section
Florida Admiralty Trial Lawyers Association
Maritime Law Association of the United States
Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum
Southeast Admiralty Law Institute
Kent School, Kent Connecticut 1976
Duke University, Durham North Carolina 1980
Tulane School of Law, New Orleans Louisiana 1983
Florida Bar Association
Louisiana Bar Association (not active)
United States District Courts, Eastern District of Louisiana and Southern District of Florida
Media, Television, Radio, Magazines and Newspapers
Jim and his clients have been featured on television, cable news and radio shows, as well as in documentaries, newspapers and magazine articles.
ABC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, FOXNews, DATELINE, 48 HOURS, 20/20, Larry King Live, A & E Investigative Reports, Hannity & Colmes, Greta Van Sustern, Nancy Grace, Inside Edition, Julie Banderas, Big Story Weekend, CourtTV, Catherine Crier, Montel Williams, Joe Scarborough, Rita Cosby, Mike & Juliet, Geraldo Rivera, Nancy Bloom, Dan Abrams, UK’s BBC-Radio 4, Heartland w/John Kasich, E! Entertainment, TruTV, Canada’s CATV-5, Good Morning America, TIME Magazine, National Law Journal, RADAR Magazine, Lawyer’s Weekly USA, Miami Herald, American Law Media, Tradewinds, Fort Lauderdale’s Sun-Sentinel, Miami Business Review, LA Times, NY Times, Salt Lake Tribune, Florida Today, Daytona Beach Journal, Sacramento Bee, Washington Post, Greenwich Times, Greenwich Citizen, Greenwich Post, San Francisco Chronicle, U.K.'s Telegraph, St. Petersburg Times, Miami’s New Times, U.K. Mirror, London’s Guardian, Edmonton Post, Chicago Sun-Times, Bahamas Journal, Italy's "Chi l'ha Visto?" television show, Germany's Wunderwelt Wisen, CruiseCritic, South Florida Business Journal, Open Secrets organization, Queerty, Baltimore Sun, Bahamas Tribune, National Public Radio (NPR), USA Today, Gadling, FOX Business, Slate Magazine, ABA Journal, Australia's The Age, Attorney at Law Magazine, Huffington Post, U.K.'s Daily Mail, BBC, Freeport (Bahamas) News, Haaretz, Trip Advisor, Wikipedia, Palm Beach Post, India Times, E Turbo News, Global Travel News, Comunidade News (Brazil), Canada's CTV, OutFront with CNN's Erin Burnett, Slate, The Daily, London's Financial Times, Newsweek Magazine, Newsweek's The Daily Beast Blog, Fund Web, Reuters, Consumer Affairs, Australia's Herald Sun, Canada's NewsTalk 1010 Radio, Houston Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), Tampa Bay Business Journal, Perez Hilton, Business Insider, Greenwich Magazine, Herald Sun, CNN Money, the Australian newspaper, Christian Science Monitor, International Business Times, Maritime Executive, Businessweek, Bloomberg, Alaska Dispatch, Minnesota Post, Virgin Islands Daily News, Arizona Republic, Trip Advisor, Daily Kos, Jamaica's Gleaner newspaper, Antigua Observer, N.Y. Daily News, U.K.'s Daily Mail, UPI, Inquisitr, Christian Post, KTIC Radio, Cordova Times, Bloomberg News, Business Insider, Times of Malta, CNN Opinion, Wall Street Journal Blog. Newsday, CBC Radio (Canada), American Public Media Market Place, WGN Radio (Chicago) Chicago Tribune, WWL Radio (Miami), CNBC Squawk on the Street, WIOD Radio (Miami) and the Associated Press have all covered Jim’s cases and his client's causes.
Watch Jim on ABC's 20/20 program in January 2012 about the Costa Concordia disaster:
Watch Jim on Australia's Dateline program "Lost at Seas" in March 2012 about cruise ship disappearances:
Maritime & admiralty lawyer & attorney James M. Walker of Walker & O'Neill Law Firm, offering services related to injuries, sexual assaults, fires, negligence, rapes & disappearances on cruise ships, pirate & terrorist attacks, missing passengers, shore excursions, wrongful death and the Jones Act, serving cruise passengers, crew members, cabin attendants, utility workers, waiters, bar tenders, ship doctors and cleaners on cruise ships worldwide.
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