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Maritime Proctor Blog

Admiralty and Maritime Law Blawg

Maritime Proctor Blog

As a practicing attorney at Chamberlain Hrdlicka in Houston, the focus of my practice is two-fold: I represent companies and individuals in civil litigation. I also do extensive work (of both a litigation and transactional nature) in the Admiralty, Maritime, and Energy fields.

I have been licensed to practice law since 2003. During that time, I've first and second chaired several trials to verdicts, as well as handled hundreds of other cases to amicable resolutions.

I'm a product of public schools, specifically Friendswood High School in Friendswood, Texas (Class of 1996), The University of Texas at Austin (BA-2000), and The University of Texas School of Law (JD - 2003).

Texas Super Lawyers magazine named me as a “Texas Super Lawyer” in the field of Transportation/Maritime Law in 2019 and 2020. Prior to turning 40, I was recognized by Super Lawyers as a Transportation/Maritime Law “Rising Star” from 2011-2018. In the past, both H-Texas Magazine and Houstonia Magazine named me as a “Top Lawyer in Houston” in the field of Admiralty and Maritime Law.

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Who I am & What I do

My name is Daniel Knight. I'm an Admiralty & Maritime attorney in Houston, Texas, as well as a shareholder at Chamberlain, Hrdlicka, White, Williams & Aughtry, P.C. If you are interested, you can find out more about our Firm here: http://www.chamberlainlaw.com. I'm told our website works very well on smartphones.

This blog is primarily about Admiralty and Maritime law decisions, but will also have discuss non-Admiralty litigation as well as other legal issues.

This blog does not constitute legal advice of any kind. Moreover, it does not create an attorney/client relationship between the reader and either myself or Chamberlain Hrdlicka. Instead, I merely endeavor to discuss, on a broad level, common issues I see in my practice, as well as recent case developments or news concerning the Maritime industry.

My first blog entry will address a common question I receive frequently from land-lubbing attorneys, and even some learned jurists.

What is the difference between Admiralty law and Maritime law?

The short answer to this question is there is not much difference between the terms "admiralty law" and "maritime law" anymore. However, in the ovular treatise on Admiralty & Maritime Law, aptly entitled The Law of Admiralty, Professors Grant Gilmore and Charles Black note that there used to be a difference between the two terms. See Grant Gilmore & Charles L. Black, Jr., The Law of Admiralty, 1-1, p. 1 (2d ed 1975)("Gilmore & Black").

Admiralty, according to Gilmore & Black, stood to represent the body of common law brought over to the American Colonies by the British, which forms the foundation of our current jurisprudence. Id. Maritime law is a term of art used to describe the wider body of international law, much of which can trace its roots back to Eleanor of Aquitaine and her place in history as the only woman to be Queen of both England and France (through marriage to different monarchs). Aquitaine was/is a coastal French province, and many of the rules and customs existing there when Eleanor was a child and woman found their way into both English and French jurisprudence.

Admiralty law is a specialized field. It is the only remaining Federal common law after Erie Railroad Co. v. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64 (1938). Admiralty law is also unique in that it is made by both the Courts, specifically the Supreme Court of the United States (when it chooses to hear a dispute) and by Congress. It impacts, as British author Rose George notes, "90 Percent of Everything."