Robert E. O’Connor


Robert “Bobby” O’Connor is Montgomery McCracken’s New York Office Co-Managing Partner. He is a member of the Firm’s Litigation Department and co-chair of the Maritime and Transportation Industry Group. He represents commercial and individual clients in all aspects of civil litigation, including trials and appeals, in federal and state courts as well as in agency proceedings and private arbitration.

Bobby’s primary practice is counseling international and domestic maritime industry clients like owners, operators, and charterers of vessels and their insurers. He has defended high-profile claims of cargo loss and damage arising from major marine casualties such as explosions, fires, collisions, allisions, groundings, and heavy weather incidents pursuant to the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act and the Shipowners’ Limitation of Liability Act. He has handled numerous environmental matters relating to oil pollution, coral damage, and emissions violations under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, and MARPOL. He was also lead maritime counsel to one of the world’s largest marine fuel traders in its bankruptcy proceedings and related litigation during which he appeared in federal courts throughout the United States, several foreign courts and arbitration tribunals, and the United States Supreme Court.

Bobby has additional maritime experience conducting onboard investigations of personal injury and cargo damage claims, arbitrating charter party and bunker disputes, attaching and arresting vessels and other property as security, drafting documents for the sale and purchase of vessels, and advising shippers and carriers about customs regulations. He provides pro bono legal assistance to mariners during suspension and revocation proceedings before the United States Coast Guard.  He was pro bono general counsel to the American Caribbean Maritime Foundation.

As a general commercial litigator and advisor, Bobby has handled a variety of contract and license disputes, enforced arbitration awards and foreign judgments, represented creditors in bankruptcy proceedings, defended complex civil RICO claims, acted as local counsel in New York federal courts, taken discovery in the US in aid of foreign proceedings under 28 U.S.C. § 1782, given expert opinions on US and New York law in support of foreign litigation, and counseled businesses on many general matters such as the formation of corporations and partnerships, negotiation of agreements, and drafting of standard terms and conditions.

Before joining Montgomery McCracken, Bobby was an attorney with Chalos O’Connor LLP. Previously, he was a research associate with an environmental economics consulting firm where he conducted natural resource damage assessments.

Bobby earned his J.D. degree from St. John's University School of Law, where he served as president of the Joseph A. Calamari Admiralty Law Society, editor-in-chief of The Admiralty Practicum, and vice president of the Student Bar Association. He earned his B.A. degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Montgomery McCracken’s Litigation Department offers a deep bench of skilled and experienced litigators whose practice areas encompass a broad array of industries and substantive legal disciplines.  Our clients include individuals, […]

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Bankruptcy and Financial Restructuring

The attorneys in Montgomery McCracken’s Bankruptcy and Financial Restructuring Department assist clients in all aspects of restructuring, including bankruptcies, out-of-court restructurings, reorganizations, liquidations, workouts, debt refinancings, adversary proceedings, and contested […]

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Maritime and Transportation

Montgomery McCracken’s Maritime and Transportation Industry Group attorneys are globally recognized leaders in major casualty litigation, marine pollution, and cargo defense. We represents our clients in a broad range of […]

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Selected Representations
  • Represented ship owners, operators, and charterers in litigation arising from explosions, fires, collisions, allisions, and heavy weather incidents pursuant to the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act and the Shipowners’ Limitation of Liability Act.
  • Represented OPA 90 Responsible Parties during emergency responses to oil spills and threats of oil spills, throughout natural resource damage assessments, when presenting claims for reimbursement to the National Pollution Funds Center and the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, and when defending claims brought by third parties and natural resource damage trustees.
  • Represented the owner and operator of a fleet of ships in connection with a broad U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Coast Guard subpoena and investigation concerning the fleet’s compliance with APPS and MARPOL emissions regulations.
  • Represented one of the world’s largest marine fuel suppliers in its bankruptcy proceedings and related litigation.
  • Represented ship owners and charterers in arbitration, and enforced arbitration awards and foreign judgments
  • Conducted onboard investigations concerning allegations of personal injuries and cargo damage
Selected Speaking Engagements
  • Speaker, “Prejudgment Security and Post Judgment Enforcement,” International Maritime Law Seminar, June 2024
  • Speaker, International Maritime Law Seminar, November 2023
  • Panelist, “Marine Casualty Response Strategies,” International Maritime Law Seminar, October 2022
  • Panelist, “Trends and Developments in Admiralty and Maritime Claims and Litigation: Hot Buttons to Know and Consider,” The Knowledge Group, November 2020
  • Panelist, “Legal, Compliance and Regulations Panel,” International Bunker Industry Association, November 2020
  • Moderator, “Issues and Solutions Arising from IMO 2020 ULSFO Requirements,” International Maritime Law Seminar, October 2019
  • Presenter, “A New Legal Landscape,” IBIA Caribbean Bunker Conference, September 2019
  • Presenter, “Bunkers in the US: Compliance with Emissions Regulations and Enforcement of Maritime Liens,” International Maritime Law Seminar, October 2018
  • Presenter, “OPA 90 – Liability & Claims,” Gallagher Marine Systems Maritime Symposium, November 2017
  • Presenter, “MARPOL & The Department of Justice – Environmental Compliance Programs,” Gallagher Marine Systems Maritime Symposium, July 2017
  • Presenter, “Athos I – Recovery of Response Costs and Damages,” Gallagher Marine Systems Maritime Symposium, November 2016
  • Keynote Speaker, “Maritime Bankruptcies,” St. John’s Admiralty Law Society, April 2016
Selected Publications
Honors & Awards
  • Selected to Law360’s Rising Star: Transportation list in 2022. This list is issued by ALM and a description of the selection methodology can be found here. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey or the highest court of any other state.
Professional Activities
  • Vice Chair, Maritime Bankruptcy Committee, Maritime Law Association of the United States
  • Member, Law 360’s Transportation Editorial Advisory Board
  • Correspondent, P&IQ Certification
  • Committee Member, Marine Pollution and Maritime Crimes, Maritime Law Association of the United States
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, New York State Bar Association
  • Member, Connecticut Maritime Association
  • Member, North American Marine Environmental Protection Association

Law School

  • St. John’s University School of Law

Undergraduate School

  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill