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Two Norton Rose lawyers appointed to top positions in maritime law organizations

Tuesday, August 20, 2019 @ 10:28 AM | By John Chunn


Two Vancouver-based Norton Rose Fulbright lawyers have been appointed to high-level positions within prominent Canadian maritime law organizations.

Shelley Chapelski, partner and shipping lead in the law firm’s Canadian transport group, was elected to serve as president of the Canadian Maritime Law Association (CMLA), making her just the second woman to hold this position in the association’s 68-year history.

According to the firm’s press release, during her two-year term, Chapelski will represent Canada at global events and before the Comité Maritime International, a non-governmental organization promoting uniformity and reform in international maritime law and commerce.

The CMLA, whose members include practising maritime lawyers and industry groups, promotes the development of maritime law.

Kaitlin Smiley, senior associate on Norton Rose Fulbright’s dispute resolution and litigation team, was also named chair of the British Columbia branch of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) Maritime Law Section. Smiley became the second woman to hold this position after Chapelski, who served as chair 15 years ago.

The CBA BC Branch Maritime Law Section provides knowledge on all legal issues surrounding domestic and international maritime law and practice, and fosters collegiality among the maritime bar in B.C.

Norton Rose Fulbright women in Canadian maritime law are strongly represented across shipping organizations both nationally and internationally.

Montreal-based of counsel Vanessa Rochester is the current president of WISTA Canada (Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association), a global organization connecting 3,000 female professionals from all sectors of the maritime industry. She is also vice-president of the CMLA in the Quebec region.

Chapelski, whose clients include commercial vessel owners and operators, protection and indemity clubs and marine insurers, ports and terminals and maritime service providers, said: “Heading such a venerable institution is a tremendous honour, and I am grateful to members across the country for electing me to represent Canada on the global maritime stage. I am also very proud of the Norton Rose Fulbright women who continue to strengthen and grow our Canadian shipping practice.”

Smiley, who regularly engages in alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, including negotiations and mediations, said: “I feel privileged to follow in Shelley’s footsteps by serving as chair of the CBA BC Branch Maritime Law Section and hope, along with my colleagues, to inspire higher representation from women in maritime law organizations in the future.”