Marine law firm announces merger

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Miami-based Houck Anderson, a maritime and admiralty law firm, said it merged with The Chartwell Law Offices LLP, one of the fastest-growing law firms on the East Coast.

The merger became effective March 1.

Houck Anderson is rated AV-Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell. The firm is also named a Best Law Firm in America in Maritime Law by US News and World Report. Founded in 1992, the firm has earned an outstanding reputation in maritime and admiralty law, and its principals, Mark Houck and Andy Anderson, are sought-after speakers at maritime conferences worldwide.

The firm, with offices in Miami and in Fort Lauderdale, expanded its practice areas to include general liability, premises, construction, aviation and other defense litigation in recent years. Houck Anderson represents many of the leading insurers, P&I clubs, brokers and commercial interests, here and abroad, in matters ranging from superyacht and pleasure craft liability to international shipping, hull and machinery claims and crewmember litigation.

Chartwell was founded by four lawyers in 2002 in Valley Forge, Pa. Following rapid growth and the opening of offices in Pittsburgh, Scranton, Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pa., Chartwell expanded into New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Florida. The firm now has 85 attorneys practicing principally in first- and third-party insurance coverage, casualty, employment and commercial litigation. With the addition of the Houck Anderson attorneys, Chartwell now has 13 lawyers in its Florida offices.

"This is an important new chapter for Houck Anderson," firm founder Mark Houck said in a statement. "We have worked hard to gain the respect of the maritime industry, and to be a leader in this arena. The timing of this merger is perfect, as it gives us the opportunity to use Chartwell's positioning to expand our marine-based practices to the entire Eastern Seaboard, while Chartwell can increase its footprint in the important Florida market."

Houck also said the two firms share important contacts in the London insurance market, as well as a culture of providing top-flight niche expertise. "This merger is a great fit.”

The merged firm will operate under the Chartwell name.

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