John M. Elsley joined Phelps Dunbar’s Houston, Texas office as a partner in the firm’s admiralty and litigation practice. His addition further expands the firm’s ability to serve clients in Texas and throughout the Gulf South with admiralty, litigation and arbitration needs.

Mr. Elsley practices in the areas of admiralty law and litigation. He has handled a range of litigation for maritime clients in state and federal courts, including trials and appeals. Most recently, Mr. Elsley represented Transocean in the Deepwater Horizon MDL and related insurance litigation before the Eastern District of Louisiana, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the Texas Supreme Court.

His practice also includes the representation of numerous vessel owners and operators in connection with major pollution incidents, collisions, cargo damage, Charter Party disputes, Contracts of Affreightment, demurrage/freight, general average, salvage, ship repair and general commercial litigation matters.

“We are pleased to welcome John to the Phelps Dunbar team of attorneys,” said David Lee Crawford, managing partner of Phelps Dunbar’s Houston office. “His wealth of diverse experience in admiralty law matters area will be a great asset for our firm and our clients along the Gulf Coast.”

Mr. Elsley earned his bachelor’s degree with honors from the University of Houston in 1975 and his J.D. with honors from the University of Houston Law Center in 1979, where he served as editor of the Houston Law Review. Prior to joining Phelps Dunbar, Mr. Elsley practiced at Texas litigation firm Royston Rayzor. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas, the Maritime Law Association of the United States and the Houston Maritime Arbitrators Association.


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