• Texas


  • Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute
  • Maritime Law Association of the United States
  • Houston Mariners Club
  • State Bar of Texas
  • Houston Bar Association


  • Tulane University, JD, cum laude
  • Bradley University, BA, magna cum laude
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Douglas J. Shoemaker


Houston, TX v. +1.713.632.8646 f. +1.713.228.6605

Douglas Shoemaker is a member of our Maritime Emergency Response Team (MERT).

Douglas Shoemaker focuses his practice on complex maritime transactions and litigation. He has over 20 years experience advising clients on a wide range maritime law topics, including personal injury, property damage, pollution, onboard investigations, navigational error, Jones Act, stevedoring accidents, cargo damage defense, general average, charterparty negotiation and drafting, arbitration, vessel construction and flagging, purchase and sale, and mergers and acquisitions. He has particular experience in:

  • defending maritime personal injury and property damage cases in state and federal courts
  • defending and prosecuting maritime seizure proceedings
  • arbitrations before the Society of Maritime Arbitrators in New York, the Houston Maritime Arbitrators Association, the American Arbitrators Association, and JAMS
  • insurance defense and coverage
  • domestic and international mergers and acquisitions, particularly concerning maritime assets and issues
  • negotiating and drafting complex maritime agreements, including vessel construction, purchase and sale; time, voyage and bareboat charterparties; towage; contracts of affreightment; bills of lading; master services agreements; general terms and conditions; indemnity and insurance provisions

Mr. Shoemaker has worked as a master mariner licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard.


  • Lead counsel defending a stevedore in a fatality lawsuit in Brownsville, Texas, involving a truck driver crushed by falling steel cargo.
  • Lead maritime counsel for the financing, acquisition, reflagging, refurbishment, charter, and heavy lift transportation of a $68.5 million offshore drilling rig.
  • Co-counsel in a five-day trial representing the owner of an offshore construction support vessel in a dispute with a charterer over the formation of a charterparty.
  • Lead counsel in a lawsuit for a breach of contract for an offshore platform component part supplier, prevailing before the appellate court.
  • Lead counsel in a SMA arbitration in New York representing a charterer in a dispute with a vessel owner over a seaworthiness warranty, prevailing on all
    claims and obtaining a full award for attorney’s fees.
  • Lead counsel representing a vessel owner in Shipowner’s Limitation of Liability Act proceedings concerning a shipboard fire with three fatalities.
  • Lead counsel representing a Jones Act employer in an emergency search and rescue and subsequent federal court lawsuits concerning an offshore platform support vessel crew member suicide.
  • Lead counsel representing a major regional stevedore in numerous personal injury and cargo lawsuits and claims, and including nearly all aspects of stevedore liability exposure.
  • Lead counsel in multiple SMA arbitrations in New York and HMAA, AAA, and JAMS arbitrations in Houston.
  • Co-counsel representing cargo interests in multiple general average incidents with adjustments in New York and London.
  • Extensive experience with shipboard investigations of personal injuries, vessel collisions and allisions, and environmental incidents.
  • Lead counsel prosecuting or defending 100+ maritime seizure proceedings in federal courts throughout Texas Gulf Coast.
  • Drafted and negotiated 500+ voyage, time and bareboat charterparties.
  • Represented the purchaser or seller in 75+ major commercial vessel transactions, including documentation under U.S. and foreign-flags.


Mr. Shoemaker is a proctor in admiralty with the Maritime Law Association of the United States, and he is actively involved with the Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute, having served as a speaker, member of the Board of Directors, chairman of the Long-Range Planning Committee, editor, and editor-in-chief. Mr. Shoemaker is also active with his church and his children’s schools, and with fundraising for the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. He is a certified arbitrator and a member of the Board of Directors for the Houston Maritime Arbitrators Association (“HMAA”).


  • 2016, Transportation: Shipping/Maritime: Litigation Law, listed in Chambers USA
  • 2016, “Top Rated Lawyer” in Texas, listed in Texas Lawyer Magazine

A description of the standard or methodology on which the accolades are based can be found here.