Infinite Menus, Copyright 2006, OpenCube Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Semmes Attorney Profiles
JoAnne Zawitoski, Principal

JoAnne Zawitoski

Click to save Electronic Business CardE-Business Card

Baltimore Office
Suite 1400
25 S. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
410.539.5223 (Fax)

Washington Office
Suite 1000
1025 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, D. C. 20036

Semmes Practice AreasExperience

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

Affiliations, Associations & Special Achievements

  • Who’s Who Legal: Transport 2015, for Shipping Law
  • Named “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers in America® 2015, for Admiralty and Maritime 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
  • Selected as one of Maryland's "Top 100 Women" for 2002, 2000 and 1997 and inducted into the "Circle of Excellence" (March, 2002)
  • John W. Sims Distinguished Visiting Practitioner (April, 2001)
    • Tulane Law School, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Associate Editor, American Maritime Cases (2001-present)
  • Associate Editor, Benedicts Maritime Bulletin (2003-present)
  • 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)
  • Selected as one of Baltimore's "Top 50 Women in Business", Baltimore Magazine (May, 1997)
  • 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)
  • Defense Research Institute (DRI)
    • Chair, Transportation Law Committee (1996-1998)
    • Chair, Admiralty Law Subcommittee (1995-1996)
  • 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
  • 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 (1980-present)
    • President (2000-2001)
    • Board of Directors (1992-present)
  • 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. Delegate to International Convention on Liability of Operators of Transport Terminals in International Trade (Vienna, Austria, 1991)
  • U.S. Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on Private International Law
  • 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)
Leadership in Law Award - (November 2013)

 Powered By SLEEPER Technologies, Inc Professional Web Design

An STI Site  | Web Design By SLEEPER Technologiesimage
Copyright © 1/21/2017 Semmes, Bowen & Semmes | All Rights Reserved | Reproduction in whole or in part
in any form or medium without the express written permission of Semmes Bowen & Semmes is prohibited.
Disclaimer and link information regarding this web site