Maritime law is among the oldest branches of law. In every country in which maritime law exists, it is treated as a separate and distinct area of the law. In general terms, maritime law concerns events and transactions that occur on navigable waters, whether oceans, gulf, or inland waterways. A lthough initially concerned with maritime commerce, the body of law has expanded to address contemporary issues such as those involving the environment and the wide-spread use of recreational vessels.
Tulane Law School is especially well situated to offer its students specialized study in admiralty and maritime law. New Orleans and its environs constitute one of the largest ports in the world, and the second largest admiralty bar in the United States. Tulane regularly offers 15 semester-long admiralty and maritime law courses, and at least two specialized mini-courses in the field each year. Two full-time Tulane faculty members teach in this area, as well as adjunct faculty from New Orleans' distinguished admiralty bar. In addition, prominent scholars and practitioners from the US and abroad visit Tulane each year to give lectures and teach month-long courses. These include visitors from Canada, Norway, England, Italy, and Israel.
The John E. Sims Distinguished Admiralty Practitioner-in-Residence program brings a distinguished maritime attorney or shipping executive to Tulane to spend one week each year exchanging ideas with students and faculty. Other admiralty and maritime-related activities abound.
Tulane's Maritime Law Center, a division of the Law School endowed by admiralty law and shipping firms, coordinates the many maritime programs operating at the Law School and fosters legal scholarship in the field. The Tulane Maritime Law Journal is a student-edited law review devoted to admiralty issues. Tulane's law library contains one of the most extensive maritime collections in the United States. Tulane co-sponsors an admiralty moot court competition each year. A credit-bearing maritime law externship is available with the US Department of Labor, and a summer position with the Center for Seafarers' Rights in New York is reserved for a Tulane student each year.
The Maritime Law Society is an active student organization at Tulane, arranging field trips to maritime industry sites and speaker programs on campus. Scholarships and awards dedicated to the maritime program have been created. The LLM in Admiralty brings as many as 20 lawyers to Tulane each year to pursue advanced study in maritime law, many from abroad. Continuing legal education programs and conferences, including the biennial Admiralty Law Institute, bring hundreds of practitioners to New Orleans and to Tulane each year, providing valuable networking opportunities for students.
JD students interested in this field may use a portion of their elective hours during the second and third years of law school to obtain the Certificate of Specialization in Maritime Law. Students must successfully complete Admiralty I, Admiralty II, and three additional courses that carry the prefix "ADMIRALTY" or " ADM" including mini courses Charter Parties and Shipbrokering and Charter Parties. The courses in Law of the Sea, Injured Employee Compensation and Tort Remedies, Marine Pollution and Maritime and National Security may also apply towards the certificate for a total of 12 credit hours of electives. Approximately 30 students receive the Certificate of Specialization in Maritime Law at graduation each year.