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Serving a diverse clientele of Businesses and individuals in the Mid-Atlantic Region of the U.S. and across the nation.

JoAnne Zawitoski

JoAnne Zawitoski



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Baltimore, MD Office
Suite 1400
25 S. Charles Street
Baltimore MD, 21201
Washington, DC Office
Suite 1000
1025 Connecticut Avenue, N. W.
Washington DC, 20036


Ms. Zawitoski has more than 30 years of experience helping businesses of all kinds resolve their disputes, through counseling, mediation and, where necessary, litigation. She has handled complex matters involving covenants not to compete, intellectual property matters and claims of unfair competition, defamation cases, securities litigation, contract disputes, and many others. She has special expertise in representing individuals and businesses in maritime-related matters, both of a transactional nature and of a litigation nature. On the transactional side, she has helped clients with the sale and purchase of vessels, including vessel documentation problems, given advice regarding marine insurance coverage issues, and drafted maritime contracts, including leases of maritime real property, slip rental agreements, charterparties, and stevedoring and marine terminal agreements. On the litigation side, she has represented individuals and businesses in maritime matters before the Federal Maritime Commission, the U.S. Coast Guard, and in the Federal and State Courts. In her many years of practice, she has handled virtually every kind of maritime dispute, including suits on marine insurance policies, suits involving maritime lien claims and claims of cargo damage, suits involving breaches of maritime contracts, such as ship repair and supply contracts, cases involving collisions and allisions, suits for maritime personal injuries under the Jones Act and Longshore Act, administrative suits under the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, license suspension and revocation proceedings before the Coast Guard, oil spill claims under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, and matters involving passenger vessel claims.

Ms. Zawitoski achieved an A/V® rating from Martindale Hubbell®, the highest possible peer review rating for ethics and legal ability.


  • 2011, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit;
  • 1997, United States District Court for the District of Columbia;
  • 1989, Superior Court for the District of Columbia;
  • 1986, Supreme Court of the United States;
  • 1985, United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit;
  • 1981, United States District Court for the District of Maryland;
  • 1981, Court of Appeals of Maryland;
  • 1981, United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit


  • Georgetown University Law Center, Wash., D.C. (J.D., 1980)
  • Law Review: The Tax Lawyer, Lead Articles Editor (1979)
  • University of Maryland, College Park, cum laude, with Honors in English (1977)
  • Honorary Societies: Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Alpha Lambda Delta

Professional Associations

  • Bar Association of Baltimore City
    • Chair, Admiralty Law Committee (1997-1998)
  • Federal Bar Association, Maryland Chapter
    • President (1991-1992)
    • Chair, Board of Governors (1987-1988)
  • American Bar Association, Litigation Section, Admiralty and Maritime Law Committee
  • Maryland Bar Association, Section of International Commercial Law
  • District Of Columbia Bar Association
  • Defense Research Institute (DRI)
    • Chair, Transportation Law Committee (1996-1998)
    • Chair, Admiralty Law Subcommittee (1995-1996)
  • Maritime Law Association of the United States
    • Proctor in Admiralty (Qualified in 1981)
    • Director (2001-2004)
    • Chair, Stevedoring & Terminal Operations Committee, (1989-1994)
    • Vice Chair, Strategic Planning Committee (1996-1998)

Civic and Community Activities

  • Society for Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication
    • Chair, Board of Directors (2009-present)
    • Member since 2007
  • North Atlantic Ports Association, Inc.
    • General Counsel (2006-present)
    • Member since 1991
  • Pride of Baltimore, Inc.
    • Board of Directors (1995-2009)
    • Chair, Board of Directors, (2001-2002)
  • Charleston Maritime Law Institute
    • Advisory Board, (2005-present)
  • Canton Railroad Company
    • Board of Directors (1999-present)
  • Propeller Club of Baltimore (1992-present)
    • Charitable Trust Board (2014-2018)
    • Membership Secretary (2007-2018)
    • President (2000-2001)
    • Board of Directors (1992-2014)
  • Propeller Club Charitable Trust
    • President (2001-2002)
  • Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute
    • Board of Directors (1998-2009)
  • Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association
    • President, Baltimore Washington Chapter (1999-2000)
  • Baltimore Port Alliance, Baltimore, Maryland (1995-present)
  • U.S. Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on Private International Law
  • U. S. Delegate to International Convention on Liability of Operators of Transport Terminals in International Trade (Vienna, Austria, 1991)
  • Traffic Club of Baltimore (1992-present)
  • Leadership Howard County (Class of 1990)
  • Maryland International Trade Association (1988-1997)
  • Young Audiences of Maryland, Board of Directors (1985-1987)
  • University of Maryland Law School ATLAS Mentor Program for Minority Law Students (1986-1987)

Editorials, Publications and Lectures

  • Associate Editor, American Maritime Cases (2001-present)
  • Associate Editor, Benedicts Maritime Bulletin (2003-present)
  • Recent Developments in the Re-Regulation of the Marine Terminal Industry by the Federal Maritime Commission, Tulane Admiralty Law Institute/Maritime Law Association of the United States, New Orleans, LA, October 27, 2016.
  • Everything You Have Always Wanted to Know About Maritime Law, Spring Training, Singles on Sailboats, Annapolis Maryland, March 2012 – March 2016.

Honors and Awards

  • Listed annually in Super Lawyers® list of top District of Columbia Attorneys since 2013, published by Baltimore Magazine.
  • Listed annually in Super Lawyers® list of top Maryland Attorneys since 2007, published by Baltimore Magazine.
    • Selected as one of Baltimore’s “Top 100 Lawyers in Maryland” and “Top 50 Women Lawyers in Maryland” (January, 2018)
    • Selected as one of Maryland’s “Top 100 Women” for 2002, 2000 and 1997 and inducted into the “Circle of Excellence” (March, 2002)
    • Selected as one of Baltimore’s “Top 50 Women in Business”, Baltimore Magazine (May, 1997)
  • Named on the Best Lawyers in America © list from 2007 – 2019, including being named the Baltimore Lawyer of the Year in 2015 and 2018, for Admiralty and Maritime Law
  • Who’s Who Legal: Transport 2015, for Shipping Law
  • Recipient, Leadership in Law Award, The Maryland Daily Record (November 2013)
  • Recipient, the 2004 Etta H. Maddox Lifetime Achievement Award, the Women’s Bar Association of Maryland, University of Baltimore Chapter (April 2004)
  • Port of Baltimore’s “Woman of the Year” for 2003
  • John W. Sims Distinguished Visiting Practitioner (April, 2001)
    • Tulane Law School, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Judge John R. Brown Admiralty Moot Court Competition
    • (Brief Judge: 1994-1997, 1999, 2002, 2004-2008, 2010-2011)
    • Selected to the “A” List of Baltimore’s Favorite Business Lawyers, by the readers of The Daily Record (December, 1999)