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MVP: Blank Rome's Jonathan Waldron

Blank Rome Partner Jonathan Waldron is profiled in Law360's 2017 MVP series. In his interview, Mr. Waldron reveals his biggest case of the year, reflects on what brought him to maritime law and what he loves about his practice, and offers advice to young attorneys. 

Interview Excerpt: 

Blank Rome LLP’s maritime practice co-chair Jonathan Waldron helped turn back a proposed regulation that would have banned most international vessels from serving U.S. offshore energy projects in the Gulf of Mexico, advised a shipyard faced with financial ruin in its effort to secure a Jones Act waiver, and represented developers of an offshore wind farm expected to be the largest in the U.S. upon completion, earning him a spot as one of Law360's 2017 Transportation MVPs.

His biggest case of the year:
Waldron represented major players in the global offshore oil and gas industry, including the International Marine Contractors Association and leading energy companies, in an effort to fend off a proposed expansion of the Jones Act that would have prohibited most large foreign-flagged vessels from operating on the U.S. continental shelf.

The regulation would have effectively banned foreign ships from providing offshore energy maintenance, construction and repair activities, with major consequences for the U.S. energy sector, Waldron said.

“It would shut down the entire Gulf of Mexico if you couldn’t use these vessels,” he said. “These companies have hundreds of employees in Houston and the Gulf, and it would have adversely affected U.S. jobs throughout the Gulf.”

The proposed regulations were issued by U.S. Customs and Border Protection days before Barack Obama left office, and Waldron oversaw a team of lawyers and lobbyists tasked with persuading the incoming Trump administration to reverse the policy.

Waldron and his team succeeded in getting the rule withdrawn, but the parties are still working toward a final resolution of the underlying issues.

“We got the government to withdraw [the regulations] and now we’re trying to find a resolution, whether it’s by new regulations or by law,” Waldron said. “It’s still a major amount of work.”

To read the full profile, please click here.

"MVP: Blank Rome's Jonathan Waldron," by Chuck Stanley was published in Law360 on December 20, 2017.