Keith W. Heard


KEITH has practiced maritime law since 1980, concentrating on matters in litigation and arbitration. Keith’s work on litigated matters has included the defense of claims for cargo damage, shortage and loss, including liquid, dry bulk and containerized shipments. It has also included work on collision and other casualty cases, including claims for General Average contribution, as well as the defense of matters involving the assertion of maritime liens. Keith’s work on arbitrated matters has included the prosecution and defense of claims for breach of charter parties, Service Contracts and other types of maritime contracts. The charter party matters have involved claims for failure to pay charter hire, contract cancellation, vessel misdescription, damage to main engines due to contaminated bunkers and other causes, demurrage, safe berth claims, cargo damage and hull damage to ships.

Keith has advised shipowners and charterers on ways to handle and resolve operational disputes arising under charter parties in an effort to facilitate contractual performance and avoid the need for formal dispute resolution proceedings. In addition, he has successfully represented parties in mediation, resulting in the cost-efficient resolution of various litigated matters.

Keith has assisted cargo shippers in reviewing Service Contracts and bills of lading and liner operators in re-drafting ocean bills of lading. In addition, he has provided advice on amendments to specific contractual provisions in bills of lading, Service Contracts and charter parties.

Finally, Keith has served as an arbitrator and mediator in various maritime and commercial matters.


  • Yale University, B.A. 1977
  • Vanderbilt University School of Law, J.D. 1980

Memberships and Affiliations

  • American Maritime Cases (Associate Editor)
  • The Association of the Bar of the City of New York:
    • Chair, Admiralty Committee, September 2012 to August 2015
  • Connecticut Maritime Association
  • Maritime Law Association of the United States:
    • Chair, Committee on Arbitration and Alternate Dispute Resolution (2008-2012);
    • Delegate to the BIMCO Documentary Committee (2004-2011); and
    • Member, Nominating Committee (2008 to the present)
  • NYMAR: New York Maritime Inc.

Bar and Court Admissions

  • New York, 1981
  • District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, 1981
  • Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 1994
  • Supreme Court, 1998
  • Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, 2001

Practice Areas

  • Vessel casualty cases
  • Cargo damage litigation
  • General Average claims
  • Maritime lien disputes
  • Charter party disputes
  • Litigation and arbitration
  • Contract drafting

Published Articles and Presentations

  • “Manifest Disregard After Hall Street,” The Arbitrator, Vol. 40, No. 2, January 2009
  • “The ‘Winter Storm’ Continues to Rage,” Shipping & Transport International, Vol. 7, No. 2, October 2008
  • “En Banc Fifth Circuit Considers Extent of Arbitrator’s Disclosure,” The Arbitrator, Vol. 38, No. 3, April 2007
  • “Federal Circuit Provides Arbitrability Guidelines,” The Arbitrator, Vol. 38, No. 2, January 2007
  • “Preventing Unintended Contractual Consequences,” Standard Bulletin, October 16, 2006
  • “Circuit training: Can parties expand the scope of judicial review of arbitration awards in the US?,” The Maritime Advocate, Issue 31, October 2005
  • “Can parties expand the scope of judicial review of arbitration awards?,” The Arbitrator, Vol. 37, No. 1, October 2005

1599 Post Road East
Westport, Connecticut 06880
Tel: 203-256-8600 / 203-255-5700
Fax: 203-256-8615 / 203-255-5702
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GrayBar Building
(Grand Central Terminal)

420 Lexington Ave., Suite 300
New York, NY 10170
Tel: 212-490-6050
Fax: 212-490-6070
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