USA Banner

Official US Government Icon

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure Site Icon

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Office of Chief Counsel

Image of vessell 

The Office of Chief Counsel provides legal advice and services to all offices of the Maritime Administration (MARAD) of the U.S. Department of Transportation. We are fully committed to the MARAD mission to foster, promote and develop the maritime industry of the United States to meet the nation’s economic and security needs. The Office of Chief Counsel is under the direction and supervision of the Chief Counsel, who reports to the Maritime Administrator. The Chief Counsel is appointed by the Secretary of Transportation, with approval of the President. 

The Office is divided into three primary Divisions: Maritime Programs, General Law and Litigation, and Legislation and Regulations. The Chief Counsel and Deputy Chief Counsel lead a dedicated team of lawyers and support staff. The principal areas of their legal practice include:

  • Administrative Law,
  • Environmental Law (primarily CERCLA/NEPA),
  • Employment and Labor Law,
  • International Law (including international trade),
  • Information Law,
  • Litigation (direct litigation before the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals and support of DOJ in Federal Court litigation),
  • Government Contracts,
  • Legislation and Regulation (including drafting and interpretation),
  • Federal Fiscal and Appropriations Law,
  • Financial Transations,
  • Admiralty Law,
  • Maritime Torts,
  • Government Acquisitions and Grants,
  • Issues related to use, sale, reefing, and donation of vessels,
  • Ship financial guarantees under 46 United States Code Chapter 537, capital construction funds, and Maritime Security Program Agreements, and
  • Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

Office of Chief Counsel attorneys also provide advice relating to administration of the following maritime programs:

  • Cargo preference,
  • Domestic cabotage,
  • war risk and marine insurance,
  • the American Fisheries Act, and
  • vessel documentation