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Local team, global success

Local team, global success
As an advisor to the Turkish shipping community since 1983, Mahmut Karaman has established one of the most qualified teams of maritime law practice in Turkey

Local team, global success

Karaman Law Firm was established by Mahmut Karaman in the early 2000s and specialises in maritime law.

Having worked together since 2000, his team approach each case with solidarity and stability; they are respected for their legal expertise, client relationships, and  strategic vision.

Karaman Law Firm is committed to serving clients within the legal areas of their expertise. Shipping has been the traditional focus of the firm but it has equal expertise in insurance, reinsurance, ship finance, international trade and general commercial law.

The firm represents clients by handling each case with clarity and precision, providing detailed solutions in a swift and timely manner.  In litigation disputes, the clients are kept informed and are always briefed on future expectations. The firm provides effective advice on which risks are worth taking. The team is ambitious but not adventurous.

Areas of practice

Karaman Law Firm handles all types of commercial matters, from marine casualties to assisting parties in non-contentious matters, including owners, insurers, ports, shipyards, banks, traders and foreign investors.
The firm is well known for its experience in both foreign and domestic litigation. The firm draws on the diverse strength of individuals with a variety of education and practice backgrounds, which allow them to handle a wide range of commercial disputes and liability litigations in both Turkish Courts and foreign jurisdictions. The law firm has handled arbitration before the Chambre Arbitrale de Paris on behalf of Turkish companies as well as representing foreign companies with seven digit claims before the Turkish Courts. Recently, Karaman Law Firm obtained declaratory relief in international arbitration proceedings relating to gas turbine damage in the Turkmenistan-located Dashoguz Power Plant in favour of the London reinsurance market.

Karaman Law Firm, with its wide experience in debt recovery, provides efficient service in the arrest of ships in Turkish waters or in foreign jurisdictions. The firm, in cooperation with a large network of correspondents, has managed the arrest of vessels in several jurisdictions including Singapore and Jamaica. Serra Unsal, the most experienced senior associate in arrest of ships spoke at the Tenth Annual Conference on Ship Arrest, organised by the Lloyd"s Maritime Academy in London on 29-30 November 2004. Since the beginning the of global financial crisis, Mahmut Karaman and Serra Unsal led arrest cases for the recovery of approximately US $20,000,000.

 The firm not only offers litigation services, but combines its wide litigation experience with a deep knowledge of business practices. This allows the team to continuously offer quality services on a non-contentious basis. In the Ministry of Defence Tender Project for the construction of 16 new types of patrol boats, the firm assisted the shipyard in the meetings with administrative authorities and also in tough negotiations with the main suppliers. Last year, the firm has assisted a major port in the Istanbul region in transactions exceeding ?10,000,000 for the purchase of crane units and in terminal contracts concluded with major lines at the port.

The firm is also involved in numerous ship sale and purchase, and finance transactions. Recently, the firm assisted the sale and purchase of a ship registered in Lithuania, and managed her post-sale certification under the Panama flag and her registry to the Russian Bare-Boat Registry simultaneously with the closing in Denmark. The firm manages many similar transactions in cooperation with its wide network of correspondents.

In recent years, Karaman Law Firm has expanded its commercial practice to include general corporate issues and administrative litigation. The firm assisted one of the largest tour operators in its reorganization of its employment system in Turkey. The firm also obtained successful outcomes in administrative and environmental litigation, related to the construction of one of the largest shipyards in Middle East.

The team
Karaman Law Firm"s is a niche team well respected for its legal expertise, for its client relationships, and for its strategic vision. The lawyers of the firm combine their various backgrounds and experience in a friendly and stable working environment.

Mahmut Karaman, the founding partner of the firm, has ten years of experience on vessels as a marine chief, which helped him develop an outstanding marine law career. As a former marine engineer, he is in close contact with the shipping community in Istanbul. His background in engineering also assists the team with the complex, technical issues that arise. He was President of the Maritime Academy Alumni Foundation between 2005 and 2006. Over the last 15 years, he has played a major part in the most catastrophic casualty cases in the Bosphorus and Dardanelles. Karaman"s outstanding legal experience provides the foundation and support for this impressive team. He continues to develop the firm"s strategy and provide leadership within his firm.

Serra Unsal is a specialist in maritime claim handling, including bunker supplies, cargo and charter disputes. In the current market fall, she manages at least three ship arrests every week in Turkey or in different jurisdictions. She assists P&I Clubs in personal death and injury matters. Serra has also developed an expertise in ship and sale purchase and ship finance, overseeing 20 ship sale and purchase transactions in the past two years.

Ercan Demir handles recovery actions on behalf of local and foreign insurance companies, including large scale industrial damages cases. He is currently handling cases related to cargo loss recovery from the May 24, 2006 fire at Atatürk International Airport. Last year, he won a recovery action related to freezing damage sustained in Afsin Elbhistan power plant station. Ercan is also the major consultant to the largest and most prominent salvage and tug services company in the Tuzla region.

Fatma Kurt mainly provides non-contentious assistance to owners, shipyards and terminal operators. She represents a major Istanbul port on a regular basis by drafting and negotiating its supply and terminal contracts. Her ongoing doctorate studies, following her Masters of Law at New York University, enable the team to handle very complex legal issues. Last year, she achieved success in a seven digit tax case before the Istanbul Tax Courts. She has been instructed by foreign clients to handle court and arbitration cases in Turkey. Most recently, while representing the London reinsurance market, she won an international arbitration case related to a complex cargo reinsurance dispute.
There are two associates in the firm, Serpil Y?lmaz and Miraç Uçankale. Serpil is a bright associate who joined the team in 2004. Serpil is involved in most of the major cases at the firm, including civil and administrative litigation. Her assistance in debt recovery and arrest cases is indispensable. Miraç Uçankale joined Karaman Law Firm"s team bringing her experience in non-contentious work, in particluar the purchase, sale and finance of ships. Her hard work is already appreciated by the firm"s clients.

Vision for the future
Karaman Law Firm strives to serve clients in areas where the firm is fully equipped with knowledge and experience. The firm offers the advantage of working with lawyers with a high level of understanding of the Turkish legal system as well as the needs and implications of international trade.

The firm"s vision is to always maintain the quality of our legal services. Wheras other law firms standardise work and sacrifice quality as they grow, Karaman Law Firm insists that each file and each client is carefully represented and all options are considered. The firm"s purpose is to grow if and only with the quality of its services.

For further information +90 212 219 18 18; www.karamanlaw.com

Source: World Finance Magazine


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