• District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court - Eastern District of Virginia
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • United States Court of Federal Claims
  • United States Court of International Trade
  • Virginia


  • American Bar Association
  • Virginia Bar Association
  • Women's International Shipping & Trading Association


  • American University, Washington College of Law, JD, cum laude
  • Brown University, AB
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Kierstan L. Carlson


Washington, DC v. +1.202.772.5862 f. +1.202.572.1404

Kierstan L. Carlson focuses her practice on litigation and federal regulatory compliance. Ms. Carlson represents both corporations and individuals in administrative, civil, and criminal enforcement actions and internal corporate compliance investigations.

Ms. Carlson has significant experience representing clients in the maritime sector, including managing responses to U.S. Coast Guard and grand jury investigations of vessel owners and managers, as well as advising on compliance with occupational safety and environmental laws, the Jones Act, and OFAC regulations.

Ms. Carlson graduated cum laude from the Washington College of Law at American University. During law school, she served as an articles editor for the American University International Law Review, a student attorney in the Criminal Justice Clinic, and a Meyers Distinguished Teaching Fellow for the Legal Rhetoric Program. Prior to joining Blank Rome, Ms. Carlson worked as a law clerk at the United States Attorney’s Office in Camden, New Jersey.


  • Defended a major cruise line and the owner and operator of an oil tanker against allegations of environmental and recordkeeping violations.
  • Conducted an internal investigation for the owner and operator of a dry bulk cargo vessel following a whistleblower report of MARPOL violations and assisted with reporting to the vessel’s Flag state.
  • Defended a large surety company against a CBP enforcement action seeking the collection of unpaid duties.
  • Represented an oil and natural gas exploration company in an action challenging the legality of a Jones Act penalty.
  • Represented a non-profit corporation in internal investigation involving corporate governance issues and allegations of federal procurement fraud and kickbacks.
  • Advised clients on compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and U.S. economic sanctions programs.
  • Represented non-profit medical research company in connection with internal investigation into embezzlement of company funds by a corporate officer.
  • Defended a generic pharmaceutical company in a case involving alleged antitrust violations.
  • Represented the claimants in a breach of fiduciary duty and fraud action before a FINRA arbitration panel; mediated the dispute prior to arbitration.
  • Represented a presidential campaign in proceedings brought by the Federal Election Commission for allegedly improper campaign contributions.


Ms. Carlson is a member of the Firm’s Associates and Pro Bono Committees. She devotes a substantial amount of time to pro bono work and also volunteers with Miriam’s Kitchen.