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 190 colleagues around the world. Mr. Nolan concentrates his practice on complex commercial litigation and arbitral dispute resolution, with an emphasis on maritime, contract and insolvency matters. 

From the start of his career, Mr. Nolan has represented shipping owners, charterers, 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 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. This necessitates resolving disputes with regularity that are filed in courts in the key transportation hubs of California, Florida, Illinois and Texas as well as the Washington, D.C. metro area. In the last decade, he has developed a niche focus on an aggressive early resolution of thorny matters destined for court or arbitration.

Mr. Nolan is the only American lawyer to be included on the "Top 10 Maritime Lawyers" by Lloyd's List, a ranking of the most influential lawyers in the global maritime industry, in both 2019 and 2018. 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 spring 2020 U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief victory on behalf of amici curiae INTERTANKO, BIMCO and INTERCARGO.

Independent legal directories have said:

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

Christopher Nolan's practice offers a wealth of expertise across the contentious shipping sector, including charter party disputes, total loss claims and insolvency matters. A client enthused: 'He is pleasant to deal with,' and 'absolutely my go-to when I need someone from the USA.'

Chambers Global 2020

'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, elected 2018-2021 as an officer of the 10,000-plus member American Bar Association (ABA) Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS), the 2011-2012 ABA TIPS Admiralty Committee Chair and as a Maritime Law Association of the United States (MLAUS) Proctor in Admiralty and Vice Chair of its Arbitration & Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) committee. He has been quoted in maritime publications Lloyd's List, TradeWinds and Fairplay 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.

Per NYRPC7.1: "Attorney Advertising," "Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome."

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
  • 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
  • Section 1782 Discovery in Aid of Foreign Proceedings: Advise companies and persons seeking or challenging discovery under Section 1782 in aid of foreign litigation or arbitration
  • Cargo Defense/COGSA/Bills of Lading Disputes: Represent parties in cargo disputes concerning delivery, deviation, bills of lading obligations and defenses

  • Fraud, Breach of Duty, Conspiracy Defense: Defending a foreign oilfield facility and equipment company in a $350 million alleged contract breach, fraud and conspiracy suit in N.Y. State and Appellate as appellee/respondent 
  • Grain/Commodity Contract Defense: Defending 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
  • Commodities and Trader Claims: Defending international commodities company as to international claims concerning off-spec product and related contractual entanglements
  • Computer Fraud Coverage Dispute: Represented and settled claim for international bank concerning scope of computer fraud clause in broad commercial and crime protection policy
  • Train Derailment Claims: Represented 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 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 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 U.S. operator of terminal for storage, handling and processing of complex natural resource in N.Y. federal court contract breach dispute
  • Nonprofit Advice: Represented 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 N.Y. state court
  • Yacht Design Disputes: Defended an Italian yacht design company in copyright, trademark infringement, products 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 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 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 American logistics company in Chapter 7 concerning fraudulent transfers and a nondischargeability action
  • Reorganization Advice: Represented foreign senior lenders concerning 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 position of 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, 2018-2020
    • One of 15 lawyers elected to Section's Council, 2016-2018
    • Admiralty & Maritime Law Committee, Chair, 2011-2012; Vice Chair, 2008-2021
    • International Law Committee, Vice Chair, 2012-2020
    • TIPS Annual Section Conference, Co-Chair, 2017
    • Liaison to the Union Internationale Des Avocats (UIA), 2013-2018
    • Co-Chair, Business Development and Networking Task Force, 2018-19
    • 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, 2019-2021
    • Arbitration & ADR Committee, Vice Chair, 2017-2021; Secretary, 2014-2017
    • YLC liaison to the Arbitration & ADR Committee, 2010-2015

  • The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation, 2015-2021
  • Union Internationale Des Avocats, 2015-2021
  • 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
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Admiralty & Maritime Law, 2014-2022
  • The Legal 500 USA, Transport: Shipping - Litigation and Regulation
  • The Best of the Best USA, Shipping and Maritime, Legal Media Group's Expert Guides, 2019; one of 30 maritime lawyers listed nationally
  • Lloyd's List, Top 10 Maritime Lawyers, 2018, 2019
  • Chambers Global - The World's Leading Lawyers for Business guide, Shipping Litigation, Up and Coming, 2018, 2019; Shipping Litigation, 2020, 2021
  • Chambers USA – America's Leading Business Lawyers guide, Transportation: Shipping/Maritime: Litigation (New York), 2016-2021
  • New York Super Lawyers magazine, 2013-2021
  • Holland & Knight Public and Charitable Service All-Star Award, 2017
  • Rising Star, New York Super Lawyers magazine, 2011-2013
  • Holland & Knight LLP Inaugural Living the Commitment Award, 2016
  • ACI's Forum on the Defense of Admiralty & Maritime Claims and Litigation, Co-Chair and speaker, 2013-2017
  • 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