Leo Kailas heads our litigation practice. Leo handles a broad array of international, maritime and commercial litigation and arbitration matters, representing clients ranging from international Fortune 50 companies such as Lockheed Martin, conglomerates to early-stage companies and individuals.

Leo has first-chaired more than one hundred completed trials and arbitrations before courts and arbitral panels throughout the United States. Leo has also served as an appointed arbitrator and mediator in a number of commercial disputes. Leo often sits as the lawyer/chair appointed by commercial arbitrators. 

With many years of experience in commodities and marine disputes, Leo advises trading and shipping companies in negotiation of vessel construction contracts, vessel sale and purchase transactions, and shipping and long term charters.  

Among other successful representations, Leo has:

  • Represented a large multinational defense contractor in a despute with its subcontractor relating to the manufacture of a class of modern vessels for the US Navy
  • Represented a large multinational defense contractor and advanced technology company, in a multi-million dollar, multi-year case involving the ownership of and payment for two cutting-edge sea vessels built by the client. The vessels had a value in excess of $35 million
  • Represented an owner of a prototype vessel in a federal trial against a marine insurer where the jury returned a verdict in favor of Lockheed Martin that included attorneys’ fees, with the jury deliberating only two hours after a five week trial and hundreds of voluminous exhibits
  • Represented Lantern Maritime Company, an international financier of chemical tankers, in connection with a default by an international shipping company, procuring an attachment of assets of the defaulting party in Connecticut, arresting a vessel of the defaulting party in Texas, and achieving a settlement in favor of our client
  • Represented NIC Holding Corp. (Northville), a New York based petroleum supply, distribution and trading company, and a major market maker in the gasoline and heating oil markets in the Northeast and Gulf Coast, in connection with its claim for lost profits and hedging losses incurred due to a late delivery of a gasoline cargo to the Gulf Coast in October 2005. After the trial commenced, the case was settled with NIC Holding receiving a multimillion dollar payment
  • Represented Travel Dynamics International, successfully obtaining a preliminary injunction against V ships in arresting TDI vessels.
  • Obtained a judgment of $6.6 million, plus interest, for our client in a contested income tax refund suit against the U.S. government in Federal court.

Columbia Law School (J.D., 1973), where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar.

Columbia College (B.A., 1970), cum laude.

  • Chairman of the Admiralty Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York from 1985 through 1988 and Secretary from 1984 through 1985. Co-authored a report on the effects of the Supplemental Admiralty Rules on proposed amendments to Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
  • Member of the Panel of Arbitrators for the American Arbitration Association
  • Member of the New York chapter of the American Inn of Court
  • Member of the Maritime Law Association of the United States, where he served as Chair of the Arbitration and ADR Committee.

New York

Court Admissions

  • Southern and Eastern District Federal Courts of New York
  • First, Second, Seventh and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeal New York
  • New York State Courts
  • Rated “AV® Preeminent™” (32 years)
  • Selected as “Super Lawyer” - Litigation/Maritime (2013 -2019).
  • Named one of the “Top Rated Lawyers in Business Litigation” by The National Law Journal and The American Lawyer publications.
  • Named New YOrk Times BEst LAwyers in the New York Metro Area 2015-2019