RWU Law Acquires Top Marine Law Journal

Rhode Island’s only law school acquires the U.S.’s leading maritime law periodical, a boon for the profession and students alike.

Michael M. Bowden
JMLC editors
RWU Law's JMLC editorial team at the Port of Providence: Julia Wyman, Director of RWU Law's Marine Affairs Institute & the Rhode Island Sea Grant Legal Program, Professor Justin Kishbaugh and Professor Jonathan Gutoff. Image Credit: James Jones/RWU Law

Roger Williams University School of Law is the new home of the Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce (JMLC), the premier periodical in the field of maritime law in the United States.

Founded in 1969, the JMLC is a scholarly and practice-oriented periodical “devoted to all aspects of admiralty and maritime law, including the law of the sea.” Since its inception 50 years ago, courts and arbitrators – including the Supreme Court of the United States and foreign courts – have cited the Journal hundreds of times. 

“RWU Law is a fitting home for this leading publication,” said Dean Gregory W. Bowman. “We are a nationally known maritime law school that provides strong training in this field to the next generation of lawyers and leaders through our excellent faculty, the Marine Affairs Institute (MAI), and our partnerships with the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island Sea Grant.”

RWU Law faculty and students will administer, edit, and publish the Journal in both online (  and print editions twice a year, coinciding roughly with the fall and spring academic semesters.

‘The JMLC will serve a dual mission: providing a vital resource to maritime professionals in the field, while also putting our students to work alongside those professionals.’ 

“This is a wonderful opportunity for the law school and the Marine Affairs Institute,” said Julia Wyman, director of the MAI & the Rhode Island Sea Grant Legal Program at RWU Law. “The Journal  is an internationally respected, professionally published journal that experts in the maritime field rely on for important analysis of current issues.”

Linking Students and Professionals

At its new home, the JMLC will remain a peer-reviewed publication supported by external funding. It came to Roger Williams as a generous gift from the family of George Jay Joseph, the Washington, D.C., lawyer who founded the Journal. Two RWU Law alumni, Alison Laboissonniere Boyd ’06 and Bradford Boyd ’08 – founders of ANOVA Marine Insurance Services LLC, a major marine insurance firm headquartered in Pembroke Pines, Fla. – have generously agreed to underwrite the Journal’s production for five years.

“We were thrilled to be able to help RWU Law add yet another component to its already strong maritime law reputation,” said Bradford Boyd. “As a student, I chose Roger Williams because of its maritime law opportunities, and my career has benefited greatly from that decision. Alison and I both felt that a journal focusing on the commercial side of maritime law would be a great complement to RWU Law’s already strong ocean and coastal law opportunities.”

RWU Law Professors Jonathan Gutoff and Justin Kishbaugh will serve with Wyman as the Editors-in-Chief. Second- and third-year law students will act as student editors. “I look forward to working with Julia and Justin to maintain the integrity of the Journal while offering opportunities for our students to assist with the production of the Journal,” said Gutoff. “We plan on keeping George Jay Joseph’s vision for the Journal alive and strong.”

Kishbaugh remarked, “The JMLC is essentially a professional journal, with working lawyers in the field actively involved in the editorial process. This dynamic will provide students with a substantially different experience than that of editing a traditional law review.”

“Our intent is for students to be an active part of the editorial team,” Wyman explained. “That means they’ll be working not only with us internally but also with professionals in the field. In essence, the JMLC will serve a dual mission: providing a vital resource to keep maritime professionals up to date on important issues in the field while also putting our students to work alongside those professionals in practice.”

 ‘I’m a Little Jealous!’

Many of those maritime professionals are, in fact, alumni who came to RWU Law specifically for its nationally recognized focus on maritime law.

For example, Marc Fialkoff ’14 is a national expert on nuclear security and transport law who works with Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, currently on a detail to the U.S. State Department. A few years ago, he published a piece in the JMLC on the intersection of maritime law and nuclear law  with floating nuclear power plants. He is serving as a guest editor for the first Roger Williams Law edition.

“The Journal is an invaluable forum for important discussions that showcase the interdisciplinary nature of maritime law,” he said. “And Roger Williams is really a perfect fit, being home to the MAI, the admiralty moot court team, the joint J.D./Marine Affairs degree, and so many other outlets. To be honest, I’m a little jealous that I’m not studying there today! This really highlights and elevates the outstanding maritime law programs at Roger Williams.”

Casey O’Brien ’15, an associate attorney at Hill Rivkins LLP in New York City and secretary of the Maritime Law Association’s Arbitration and ADR Committee, is also a guest editor for the inaugural Roger Williams edition of the Journal.

“This is a very exciting development,” she said. “The Journal is a very well-known publication and a great resource for practitioners. The professionals who contribute articles are familiar names in the field. I’m really excited for the law school; this is a real feather in their cap.”

O’Brien is equally excited that students will be involved in producing the publication.

“It’s such a great opportunity to learn and understand, to be exposed to the issues currently facing the industry and how they might develop over the coming years,” she said. “Add in the practical editing skills students will gain – not to mention making those introductions in the industry with the writers – and it’s just a fantastic opportunity. Way to go again, Roger Williams!”

A Unique Mixture

Gutoff said the JMLC offers a unique mixture of scholarly depth and practical know-how that the RWU Law team is committed to maintaining.

“Articles in the Journal are held to a very high standard of writing and research, but they also tend to focus on current practical issues facing the maritime industry and the maritime bar,” he said. “There’s a lot less theoretical work in the JMLC than you might find in the average student-edited academic journal. Sometimes there are more technical explorations – say, a five-paragraph piece on how to do x in a particular court – and sometimes the articles can be historical when history is key to resolving a given legal question.”

“As someone who’s been interested in maritime law for my entire career and published work in the Journal – one of my JMLC pieces was cited by the U.S. Supreme Court – this is especially exciting for me,” Gutoff added.

Kishbaugh noted, “Having this prestigious journal in-house will allow our student editors to develop their writing and editorial skills on an international stage and gain invaluable professional experience prior to even graduating from RWU Law, which is just such an excellent opportunity that we are so excited to provide our students.”