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Maritime Law Association of the United States

The United States Maritime Law Association (MLAUS) was founded in 1899 and is the professional organization of a national lawyer dealing with maritime law.

MLAUS serves marine lawyers as a source of ideas and information to the public and as a representative of the international legal community and provides a forum for discussing practical news and issues. Successful members can receive the title “Admiralite Proctor“.

The Maritime Law Association seeks appropriate reforms and uniform interpretation in the field of maritime law, legal organ governing legal disputes and offenses at sea. Among the people most affected by maritime law are the maritime industry, including sailors, seafarers, passengers, long horses and dockers, shipowners and those working in the seafood industry. Marine lawyers often represent those injured at sea in legal proceedings due to the material damage of their employers. Membership for the MLA for the maritime law firm can provide many benefits, as described below.

MLA also represents the United States as an overseas country at the international maritime committee Comité Maritime International (CMI), an international committee.

History of the Maritime Law Association

The Maritime Law Association was founded in 1899, three years after the establishment of the International Maritime Committee, known as the Comité Maritime International (CMI). MLA is a founding member of CMI, which represents marine lawyers in the United States to the international community.

As a professional organization, MLA has addressed some important developments in maritime law. Legislation encouraged or prepared by the MLA has been adopted:

  • the Maritime Liens Acts of 1910 and 1920;
  • the Death on the High Seas Act of 1920;
  • the Jones Act of 1920;
  • the Public Vessels Act of 1925;
  • the Longshore and Harbor Workers Act of 1927;
  • the 1966 merger of the General Admiralty Rules with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure;
  • the 1972 International Collision Regulations; and
  • the statute of limitations changes for personal injury in 1980.

The Maritime Law Association was officially incorporated in 1993.

Maritime Law Association of the United States1

Membership in the MLA

Although the MLA has nine membership classes, most members fall into two categories: Lawyer and Proctor at Admiralty. Other membership classifications are Life, Non-Attorney, Judicial and Law Student.

The term “Proctor in Admiralty” dates back to the English courts, at least in the 1200s. A lawyer may join the MLA as a Joint Lawyer. Four years later, the associate member may try to be appointed Proctor at Admiralty.

The transition supports that two manufacturers who do not work with the applicant should support the sponsor. The committee of experienced proctors decides that the applicant has received sufficient experience and training. Those approved by the Committee are then evaluated by the Board of Directors.

Benefits of Membership in MLA

For lawyers who practice maritime and admiral law, joining the MLA has many benefits. Twice a year, the MLA organizes meetings for association members. Members can also participate in conferences, seminars and panel discussions on various maritime law issues every two years. Seminars are held at biennial meetings and sessions are accredited to maintain legal education (CLE) credits in various states.

In addition, all members are listed in the public database on the organization’s website. When a public is looking for a maritime lawyer, they can search the database and see which lawyers are involved.

Committees of the MLA

Members of the organization are encouraged to take on leadership roles by joining various committees including:

  • Arbitration and ADR
  • Carriage of Goods
  • Cruise Lines and Passenger Ships
  • Fisheries
  • Inland Waters and Towing
  • International Organizations, Conventions, and Standards
  • Marine Ecology and Maritime Criminal Law
  • Marine Financing
  • Marine Insurance and General Average
  • Marine Torts and Casualties
  • Offshore Industries
  • Practice and Procedure
  • Recreational Boating
  • Regulation of Vessel Operations, Safety, Security and Navigation
  • Salvage
  • Stevedores, Marine Terminals, and Vessel Services
  • Young Lawyers

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