HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014
Troubled seas
Hindustan Times
New Delhi, October 30, 2012
First Published: 17:28 IST(30/10/2012)
Last Updated: 17:32 IST(30/10/2012)
Survival of the fittest: A marine law expert can’t survive merely on maritime litigation. One ought to develop expertise in transactional work too for career growth

The lowdown

Maritime lawyers are legal professionals who deal with contentious or non-contentious matters related to laws governing maritime territories around the world. They are required to represent parties litigating over the arrest or release of a maritime vessel, recovering fees or seeking compensation from vessel owners in case of an accident, collision or sinking. In ship arrest litigation matters, one has to be well versed with admiralty laws and laws relating to the subject matter of dispute and court procedure. Staying updated on news from the shipping world and acquiring adequate knowledge of shipping terms and laws is important if you want to become a marine law expert. The type of clients depends on the area of shipping law you specialise in

8.30am: Read emails, advise client
9.30am: Read journals, case laws, stay abreast of the latest developments
11am: Appear in court, if the matter is listed
1pm: Prepare for new case, strategising and planning
3pm: Appear in court for urgent application, if any
4.30pm: Correspond with clients
6pm: Meeting with counsel
6.45pm: Prepare for the next day

The payoff
Though the profession pays well, one should be open to all fields of law as a fresher and be receptive to all kinds of work. As a trainee or junior, a maritime lawyer can earn anywhere between Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 20,000 per month. The salary increases with experience and time. It is very difficult to start  independent practice but if you manage to do it, then your income will depend on your reputation

* Well versed with several acts pertaining to shipping laws
* Understanding the laws of contract and international laws is important
* One must be incisive because maritime law is specialised area

Getting there
You need an LLB degree and should be enrolled with the respective State Bar Council. After that it’s only through experience that you learn the tricks of the trade. Additional degrees do make a huge difference, whether you are in the job market or in practice

Institutes and URLs
* Nalsar University of Law, Hyderabad
* National Law Institute University, Bhopal             
* National Law University, New Delhi

Pros and cons
n You can make good money
n Being a niche field, it’s not easy to begin a career, as there are very few senior advocates who are qualified to train you

Since time is a scarce resource for maritime lawyers and they can’t afford to make mistakes, one has to be almost perfect --Shrikant Hathi, managing partner, Brus Chambers, Advocate and Solicitors, Mumbai

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