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Jonathan Benner

Senior Counsel

Washington, D.C.
202 585 6985 202 585 6985 direct

Jonathan's practice is focused on regulatory and litigation issues that affect domestic and international maritime and shipping matters, as well as international trade regulation issues that are incidental to the global movement of goods and commodities.

His practice has included high-profile environmental litigation centered on the operation of vessels, particularly tank vessels, and port air quality and infrastructure construction issues. These cases include constitutional challenges in various federal courts to state and local regulation of maritime activity. One of these cases, Intertanko v. Locke (consolidated for argument with United States v. Locke), 529 U.S. 89 (2000), has become a lead case in maritime constitutional preemption issues. Jonathan successfully argued this case for international shipping interests before the Supreme Court of the United States. He also recently prevailed in constitutional litigation challenging the validity of certain types of local port charges levied against cruise vessels.

Jonathan represents liner and bulk vessel operators, maritime trade associations, international marine insurers, port authorities, terminal operators, cruise operators and investment entities. His practice includes representation of major U.S. ports in addressing legal and regulatory issues concerning environmental controversies and improvements to port infrastructure. In 2009, the Federal Bar Association awarded him its "Transportation Lawyer of the Year" award for "superb leadership and immeasurable contributions" in his field.

Chambers Global (by Chambers & Partners) has described Jonathan in its national and global rankings of shipping lawyers as "a premier practitioner [who] has earned credibility and respect within the industry sector... 'he combines excellent strategic sense and top-notch negotiation skills with a strong presence in court'."

Prior to entering private practice, Jonathan served as a trial attorney, appellate attorney and as General Counsel of the Federal Maritime Commission.

Thompson Coburn Publications

U.S. Releases guidance addressing sanctions evasion practices in maritime, energy and metal trading sectors

A critique of current federal regulation of marine terminal operators


"Shippers, are you ready for SOLAS' verified container weight mandate?"
April 4, 2016


Thompson Coburn attorneys recognized in 2021 Chambers USA

Congratulations to our 2021 Best Lawyers ‘Lawyers of the Year’ and ‘Ones to Watch’

Thompson Coburn attorneys recognized in 2020 Chambers USA

17 Thompson Coburn attorneys recognized in 2019 Chambers USA

23 Thompson Coburn attorneys recognized in 2016 Chambers USA

25 Thompson Coburn attorneys recognized in 2015 Chambers USA

27 Thompson Coburn attorneys recognized in 2014 Chambers USA

Federal Maritime Commission decides administrative action over ‘split routing’

U.S. Supreme Court unanimously sides with position of Thompson Coburn airline client

Thompson Coburn files U.S. Supreme Court brief for international airline group

Jonathan Benner, former Federal Bar ‘Transportation Lawyer of the Year,’ joins Thompson Coburn’s D.C. office