Robert "Chip" Birthisel, J.D.
Robert “Chip” Birthisel is a founding partner in our Tampa office. He practices transportation and maritime law, personal injury and wrongful death defense, marine pollution, general liability defense, and insurance law. His practice includes international and domestic litigation and transactions. He is a retired Coast Guard officer, who spent his final years on active duty as a law specialist and trial attorney assigned to the U.S. Department of Justice, Aviation and Admiralty Litigation Section.
Chip represents a wide range of transportation, maritime, and general litigation clients, providing a myriad of services including litigation of maritime and land-based wrongful death and personal injury, maritime lien, bunker, P & I, cargo, and hull and machinery claims. He represents many of the world’s largest insurers and has provided coverage opinions and defense, and litigated declaratory judgment actions on behalf of numerous insurers. He also handles contractual matters (charters, bills of lading, sales, brokerage and finance agreements, concession agreements, franchise and license agreements, vehicle lease and purchase agreements, owner/operator agreements), from drafting to litigation.
His practice includes rendering advice on all marine regulatory matters, including coverage placement, flagging of vessels, classification society compliance, and U.S., flag state, and international (i.e. SOLAS, IMO, and Law of the Sea Conventions) regulatory compliance. In addition, he has provided counsel regarding the establishment of a variety of maritime businesses including cruise line operations, cargo lines, Ocean Transportation Intermediary licensing and compliance (VOCC, NVOCC, and Freight Forwarders), and marine and land-based terminal operations. He renders advice daily on compliance with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, Coast Guard, Immigration, Federal Maritime Commission, National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, and other international and domestic regulatory schemes.
Chip has represented and represents a variety of foreign entities and clients in international business transactions and litigation including clients in Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Panama, the Marshall Islands, England, Norway, Venezuela, Ireland, Korea, Costa Rica, Brazil, Honduras, the Philippines, most every island nation in the Caribbean, and Canada.
J.D., Cum Laude, University of Miami School of Law
M.S., The John Hopkins University
B.A., University of San Francisco