James B. Ellis II


Jim Ellis focuses his practice on complex corporate transactions and regulatory matters for clients in the maritime and transportation industry. Jim is an experienced negotiator in both the public and private sectors. He counsels clients in the following areas:

  • mergers and acquisitions
  • corporate structuring
  • financing
  • transportation regulatory matters

In addition, Jim routinely collaborates with our Blank Rome Government Relations team on Arctic policy and strategy.

Jim has extensive experience in working with all segments of the domestic and international maritime industry. This experience, combined with his practical, business-oriented approach to dealing with client issues, has allowed him to develop a practice in facilitating transactions involving multiple segments of the industry to achieve client objectives.

Jim was a founder of Dyer Ellis & Joseph, which merged with Blank Rome in 2003. Prior to this, he served in the U.S. Coast Guard, rising to the rank of commander. Jim also served as deputy U.S. representative to the UN Law of the Sea Conference for transportation issues, and graduated from the prestigious Sloan Fellows Program at MIT.


    • A Philadelphia shipyard, in the structuring and negotiation of an $850 million transaction for the financing, construction, and operation of 10 product tankers.
    • A Hawaiian ferry agency, in the negotiation of the financing and construction of two high-speed ferries to serve the Hawaiian Islands.
    • A marine support and transportation services provider, in the development of a joint venture to finance and construct the first new double-hull tankers for the U.S. domestic market.
    • An express freight services provider, in the development of high speed cargo vessels to serve the international market.


    • AV® Preeminent™, listed by Martindale-Hubbell®


    Professional Activities
    • Volunteer outside counsel to the U. S. Coast Guard Alumni Association.
    • Fellow at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s Center for Arctic Study & Policy, which serves as a research resource for the Coast Guard on Arctic issues.



    • District of Columbia


    • U.S. Coast Guard Academy, BS, summa cum laude
    • George Washington University Law School, JD, with highest honors
    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MS