Christopher R. Nolan is a litigation attorney in Holland & Knight's New York and Chicago offices and serves as co-chair of the firm's Transportation and Infrastructure Group comprising 220 colleagues in the U.S. and around the world, including Mexico City, Monterrey, Bogota and aviation finance in London. Mr. Nolan is an international dispute resolution and arbitration lawyer whose practice concentrates on complex commercial litigation with an emphasis on maritime, contract and insolvency matters.

From the start of his career, Mr. Nolan has represented a broad range of transportation clients from shipping owners, charterers, shippers, consignees of cargo, supply chain logistics providers, traders and foreign instrumentalities who have sought his business judgment in order to resolve shipping disputes arising from charterparties, bills of lading, fire and explosion, total loss, limitation, demurrage and detention invoicing and insolvency. He is regularly instructed on behalf of Hull underwriters and protection and indemnity (P&I) Clubs on marine insurance matters.

Mr. Nolan acts as national counsel for a major ocean carrier, and as such is frequently instructed in cargo disputes, logistics challenges and contamination claims. The scope of claims necessitates resolving disputes with regularity that concern proceedings in the key transportation hubs of California, Florida, Illinois, the New York Tri-State area and Texas, as well as the Washington, D.C., metro area before the Federal Maritime Commission involving the U.S. Shipping Act and Ocean Shipping Reform Act matters. In the last decade, as risk tolerances differ from dispute to dispute, he has assisted companies with developing aggressive early resolution programs for thorny matters.

Mr. Nolan is the only American lawyer to be included three times on the "Top 10 Maritime Lawyers" by Lloyd's List, a ranking of the most influential lawyers in the global maritime industry, in 2018, 2019 and 2023. He was also featured in a 2020 Lloyd's List article in connection with his frequent representation of non-U.S. based transport companies, including his client's spring 2020 U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief victory on behalf of amici curiae INTERTANKO, BIMCO and INTERCARGO.

Independent legal directories noting client testimonials have said:

Christopher Nolan is a standout maritime lawyer.

Legal 500 USA 2022

He is a smart attorney who writes well and is smooth in a tribunal setting. He promptly attends to requests, provides opinions and recommendations in a timely manner, and has a calm, positive and decisive way of handling of cases.

Chambers USA 2021

Clients describe him as "a great attorney who is very knowledgeable, deeply experienced, diligent, dedicated and produces fantastic results." Active on charter party and total loss cases, among others, he is further applauded as a "very skilled and effective lawyer with strong commercial and tactical understanding."

Chambers Global 2021

'Chris has expertly guided us through the pitfalls in the litigation process,' [lauded a client to the guide], adding 'I trust his judgement and ability to lead others on his team.'

Chambers Global 2018

In 2014, Mr. Nolan served as delegate for the Comité Maritime International (CMI) at the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law – Working Group IV on the pending convention on electronic shipment documentation to determine its impact on the proposed new ocean cargo liability convention (the "Rotterdam Rules"). In 2020, he co-authored an American Bar Association (ABA) book chapter on "Damages in Cargo Cases and General Average," which includes Rotterdam Rules considerations.

Mr. Nolan is active in the legal community. He has been elected chair-elect of the American Bar Association (ABA), Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) and will be TIPS chair in August 2024. Mr. Nolan was elected 2018-2024 as an officer of the 10,000-plus member ABA Section, the 2011-2012 ABA TIPS Admiralty Committee Chair, and as a Maritime Law Association of the United States (MLAUS) Proctor in Admiralty and its 2021-2025 Chairman of its 90-year-old Arbitration & Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) committee. He has been quoted in maritime publications Lloyd's List, TradeWinds and the like on a wide range of topics.

In 2016, Mr. Nolan was one of two partners to receive Holland & Knight's inaugural Living the Commitment Award recognizing his work as the New York office's community service chair in connection with the firm's 9/11 Day of Service commitment. He also is the New York office's representative for pro bono work with Kids In Need of Defense (KIND), and he has handled pro bono cases for journalists on First Amendment grounds in defamation suits and a workers' compensation proceeding arising out of the Sept. 11 tragedy.

Representative Experience

  • Vessel Casualty/Limitation Action: Summary judgment dismissal for party in $275 million U.S. Limitation Act proceeding arising out of the MSC Flaminia explosion
  • General Average and Seaworthiness: Filed claim and settled for war risk insurers of general average claim seeking repayment of ransom from cargo interests arising from VLCC hijacked by Somali pirates/claims arising out of the grounding of the M/V Ever Forward in Chesapeake Bay
  • Safe Port Warranty: Submission of amicus brief and attendance at the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of industry leaders BIMCO, the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO) and the International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners (INTERCARGO) on the key shipping issue of whether a charterers’ promise in a particular maritime contract to provide a safe port for an owners' ship was a warranty of safety or merely a promise to exercise due diligence
  • Error in Navigation/Limitation Action: Filed claim and settled for general contractor in U.S. Limitation Act proceeding damages claims arising out of an allision of the Brooklyn Bridge
  • ICDR Arbitration/Rule B/Repudiatory Breach Claims: Prevailed in representing international energy company in multiple litigations and arbitrations concerning multimillion-dollar repudiatory breaches by counterparty of two bareboat charter parties for vessels delivered by shipbuilder
  • Deepwater Horizon Casualty/Indemnity: Counseled several companies, banks, hedge funds and investors concerning offshore drilling contract and joint venture indemnity clauses and considerations post-Gulf of Mexico oil spill
  • SMA Arbitration/Security: Represented a charterer in multijurisdictional SMA arbitrations involving more than $75 million of suits to compel arbitration and security proceedings in a fraudulent charter dispute
  • Limitation Action/Underwater Cable Casualty: Represented a public utility in litigation of a $25 million property damage claim arising from anchor drag against a submerged utility electrical cable
  • Bunker Claims: Prosecuting claims against suppliers and defending noticed claims by end users for international bunkers intermediary as to off-spec product allegations in multiple venues
  • Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act Advice: Advise foreign countries and their instrumentalities concerning Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act challenges and international treaty obligations
  • Judgment Enforcement: Represented a Norwegian ship owner concerning a multimillion-dollar judgment enforcement in the U.S., including the restraint of assets, alter-ego liability issues, escrow agreement litigation and settlement
  • Marine Environmental Casualty: Represented a foreign country in a $1 billion tanker oil spill casualty
  • Rule B and Rule C Security Proceedings: Advise P&I Clubs, marine companies and foreign government entities concerning numerous security cases relating to the attachment of assets under Rule B or arrest of vessels under Rule C
  • Cargo Defense/COGSA/Bills of Lading Disputes: Represent parties in cargo disputes concerning delivery, deviation, bills of lading obligations and defenses

  • WhatsApp Sale of Goods Trial Victory: Represented a global fertilizer buyer against a seller in a Florida federal court trial finding that the seller had entered into valid purchase agreements under the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods, and the seller breached the agreements that were partially negotiated over WhatsApp to sell 45,000 metric tons of ammonium sulfate, resulting in an order to pay $7.7 million in damages
  • Fraud, Breach of Duty, Conspiracy Defense: Defended a foreign oilfield facility and equipment company in a $350 million alleged contract breach, fraud and conspiracy suit in New York state and appellate courts as appellee/respondent
  • Grain/Commodity Contract Defense: Defended a not-for-profit organization that assists companies exporting grains from the ports in North America in Florida state court and New York arbitration on issues arising out of the industry standard North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA) 2 Free on Board (FOB) contract
  • U.S. Shipping Act Violations Claims: Representing clients in assessing alleged U.S. Shipping Act violations and the recently enacted Ocean Shipping Reform Act, including representation before the Federal Maritime Commission
  • Commodities and Trader Claims: Defending an international commodities company as to international claims concerning off-spec product and related contractual entanglements
  • Computer Fraud Coverage Dispute: Represented and settled claim for an international bank concerning scope of computer fraud clause in broad commercial and crime protection policy
  • Train Derailment Claims: Represented an ocean carrier and shippers in contract breach and cargo contamination claims arising out of train derailments in the United States and abroad
  • Breach of Aircraft SPA: Represented a Middle East cargo company in foreign and domestic activities in recovering aircraft and appurtenances arising out of a breached Share Purchase Agreement (SPA)
  • SPA Breach Claim: Represented an Argentinian seller of company providing logistical services and transport of iron ore in post-closing $8.3 million mediated-to-conclusion dispute for nonpayment and indemnification breaches
  • Natural Resource Storage Defense: Defended a U.S. operator of terminal for storage, handling and processing of complex natural resource in New York federal court contract breach dispute
  • Nonprofit Advice: Represented a national nonprofit organization in New York state matter seeking medical and academic information
  • Distributorship Breach Defense: Defended a Spanish light fixture manufacturer in alleged distributorship breach suit in New York state court
  • Yacht Design Disputes: Defended an Italian yacht design company in copyright, trademark infringement, product liability and personal injury litigation in New York and Minnesota
  • Software License Breach: Represented a U.S. software license company in breach of contract suit against end user of services
  • Doing Business in the U.S. Advice: Represented a foreign bunker supplier in establishing a presence in U.S. cities and related commercial, regulatory and operations advice
  • ICDR Arbitration/Contract Dispute: Represented a Mexican shipping company in a multimillion-dollar New York arbitration concerning post-lay pipeline trenching in the Gulf of Mexico against a dredging company
  • Aviation Repair Breach Dispute: Represented a Brazilian aeronautics service provider in breach of contract dispute against aircraft owner
  • Government Instrumentality Defense: Represented a Caribbean tourist board government instrumentality in court and threatened arbitral dispute over motion picture festival agreement

  • British Virgin Islands (BVI) & Chapter 15 Proceeding: Represented a foreign bank in Chapter 15 and advising in its BVI liquidation claim concerning $16 million in losses arising out of a letter of credit/fraudulent transactions by liquidated entity
  • Chapter 15 Proceeding: Defended three shippers in a $24 million Chapter 15 maritime adversary proceeding in New York brought on behalf of a Danish debtor
  • Creditor Advice in Chapter 11: Representing a Japanese financing company in Chapter 11 seeking monies owed in connection with an airplane and its engines contract breach and forensic accounting firm in Chapter 11 seeking monies owed for services rendered to debtor
  • Creditor Advice in Chapter 7: Representing an American logistics company in Chapter 7 concerning fraudulent transfers and a nondischargeability action
  • Reorganization Advice: Represented foreign senior lenders concerning a foreign tanker company debtor and bondholders in regard to substantial U.S. reorganization, vessel arrest and asset disruption issues; further advice on the sale of a vessel at book value instead of market value as to increasing the risk of recategorization
  • Judgment Enforcement and Chapter 15 Proceeding: Represented foreign shipowners in $54 million foreign judgment enforcement suit in New York and subsequent Chapter 15 adversary proceeding as creditors

  • Admiralty/Maritime Law: Advise on admiralty and maritime litigation as well as contractual and insurance issues arising out of incidents involving ships, barges, boats, offshore rigs and over sea-going vessels within and around the waters of Alaska


  • Hofstra University School of Law, J.D., cum laude
  • Binghamton University, B.A., cum laude
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • Illinois
  • New York
Court Admissions
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
  • All State Courts in New York
  • American Bar Association (ABA), Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS)
    • Officer positions of Chair-elect, Vice Chair and Secretary in one of the largest sections in the ABA and brings together lawyers, judges, law students and non-lawyers in the areas of tort law, trial practice and insurance-related matters, 2018-2024
    • One of 15 lawyers elected to Section's Council, 2016-2018
    • Admiralty & Maritime Law Committee, Chair, 2011-2012; Vice Chair, 2008-2024
    • International Law Committee, Vice Chair, 2012-2024
    • TIPS Annual Section Conference, Co-Chair, 2017
    • Liaison to the Union Internationale Des Avocats (UIA), 2013-2018, 2023
    • Co-Chair, Business Development and Networking Task Force, 2018-2019
    • Representative to the Joint Study Committee on Harmonization of the Law of Canada, Caribbean Nations, and the United States Concerning Registration of Foreign Judgments, 2013-2016

  • Proctor in Admiralty, Maritime Law Association of the United States (MLAUS)
    • Appointment as MLA liaison to the American Bar Association, House of Delegates, 2019-2024
    • Arbitration & ADR Committee, Chair, 2021-2024; Vice Chair, 2017-2021; Secretary, 2014-2017; YLC liaison to the Committee, 2010-2014

  • International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC)
  • The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation, 2015-2024
  • Union Internationale Des Avocats, 2015-2024
  • Connecticut Maritime Association, 2014-2015
  • Federal Bar Council, Joint Committee on Local Rules, Local Admiralty and Maritime Rules Subsection, 2012
  • Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Committee on Admiralty, Rule B Subcommittee, 2009
  • Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), New York Office Pro Bono Coordinator, 2013-2021
  • PENCIL, Business Partner, 2007-2021
  • Holland & Knight Public and Charitable Services Committee, Chair, 2011-2021
  • PENCIL, Honor Rollers Young Leaders Program, 2013-2014
Honors & Awards
  • Chambers USA – America's Leading Business Lawyers guide, Transportation: Shipping/Maritime: Litigation (New York), 2016-2024
  • Chambers Global – The World's Leading Lawyers for Business guide, Shipping Litigation, Up and Coming, 2018, 2019; Shipping Litigation, 2020-2024
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Admiralty & Maritime Law, 2014-2024
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, New York Admiralty & Maritime Law Lawyer of the Year, 2023
  • The Legal 500 USA, Leading Lawyer, Transport: Shipping – Litigation and Regulation, 2021-2024
  • New York Super Lawyers magazine, 2013-2023
  • Lloyd's List, Top 10 Maritime Lawyers, 2018, 2019, 2023
  • The Best of the Best International, Shipping and Maritime, Legal Media Group's Expert Guides, 2021; one of five maritime lawyers listed nationally
  • The Best of the Best USA, Shipping and Maritime, Legal Media Group's Expert Guides, 2019; one of 30 maritime lawyers listed nationally
  • Holland & Knight Pro Bono All-Star, 2021
  • Holland & Knight LLP Inaugural Living the Commitment Award, 2016
  • 21st John W. Sims Distinguished Admiralty Practitioner in Residence, Tulane University Law School, 2013
  • Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), Allegiance Award, accepted on behalf of Holland & Knight, 2013
  • American Bar Association (ABA) TIPS Overall Excellence Award, Admiralty and Maritime Law Committee Chair, 2012
  • Holland & Knight Opening Doors for Children, Volunteer of the Year Award, primarily for leading the Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) Program and Goldilocks on Trial mock trial program at Public School 19 in Manhattan, 2006
  • Distinguished Service to School Award, Corpus Juris Secundum Award in Contracts, Hofstra University School of Law, 1999
  • The Honorable Anita R. Florio, Associate Justice, Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, Second Judicial Department; and the Honorable Luis A. Gonzalez; the Honorable John P. Collins; and the Honorable Alexander W. Hunter Jr. – Justices of the Supreme Court, Bronx County, Intern, Summer 1999


Speaking Engagements