James P. Jacobsen

James P. Jacobsen

Seattle, Washington
866-974-9633 (Toll Free)

Jim has more than thirty years of waterfront experience. Jim has worked as a longshoreman, commercial fisherman, and as an able seaman on tug boats.

Jim started on the waterfront his last year of high school and worked his way though college loading logs and lumber on bulk carriers and barges. After graduating from college, he went to sea on commercial fishing boats and served as a deckhand and then mate. Working as a commercial fisherman, Jim sailed the Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea, Prince William Sound, Southeast Alaska, Canadian Coastal Waters, and Puget Sound. Jim knows first hand what 80 knots of wind and 35 foot seas mean to a 105-foot fishing vessel. While working in Alaska, Jim was a member of the Alaska Fishermen's Union.

Jim also sailed on tug boats in Puget Sound and the Gulf of Mexico. The largest was a 150-foot 5,000 horsepower tug which towed a cargo barge on a regular run from Galveston, Texas to Tampico, Mexico. Jim also towed oil barges, gravel barges, spoils barges, and preformed ship assist work. Jim knows first hand what happens when the tug draws more water than the barge and runs aground when the tug is on a short wire. He knows just how dangerous towing can be because of the awkwardness of handling barges and ships with high horsepower tugs. Jim has been there when a tug is in irons and in danger of tripping. While working on tugs, Jim was a member of the Inlandboatmen's Union of the Pacific (IBU).

Taking his maritime career ashore, Jim graduated from law school, with honors, in 1986. Planning a career in maritime law, he clerked for a United States District Court Judge. Jim was then hired as an Admiralty Trial Lawyer in the Attorney General's Honors Program at the United States Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Jim handled scores of maritime cases across the United States. After four years with the Justice Department, Jim entered private practice and he has exclusively represented injured fishermen and seamen and their families.

Jim's practical experiences in all aspects of cargo loading, navigation, seamanship, and tugs and towing have been an invaluable asset in his legal career as a maritime lawyer. In maritime law, there is no substitute for real life sea-going experience.

Jim practices maritime law because it is his passion as well as his profession. Members of Jim's immediate family continue to work in the maritime trades as longshoremen, deckhands, masters, and marine engineers. Jim's family daily faces the perils of the sea and he knows, but for the Grace of God, he could be representing one of his brothers or nephews. The fact that Jim and his family have worked at sea fuels his advocacy and his commitment to battle for his clients. Jim also represents maritime labor unions.

Jim has traced his maritime ancestry back to Norway where his great-great grandfather was a sailing ship master. His great-grandfather was an Able Seaman and mate on sailing ships, and his great-uncle was a master and early hard-hat diver. Jim takes a keen interest in all things maritime, and he has an extensive personal library on maritime subjects.

Although Jim no longer works at sea, he still goes to sea on his sailboat, which he named ARENDAL in honor of his grandfathers who shipped out of Arendal, Norway. He works hard to pass his family's maritime traditions onto the next generation.

Areas of Practice

  • Wrongful Death
  • Mooring Line Snapback
  • Sinkings
  • Pilot Ladder Accidents
  • Amputations
  • Major Head Injuries
  • Falls on Ladders
  • Falls From one Deck to Another
  • Falls on the Dock
  • Falling Overboard
  • Hand Crushes
  • Leg Crushes
  • Vessel Explosions
  • Crane Injuries
  • Wire Rope Injuries
  • Anchor Winch Injuries
  • Lifting Injuries
  • Exposure to Toxic Engine Room Chemicals
  • Exposure to Toxic Paint Fumes
  • Sexual Assault
  • Foot Crushes
  • Life Boat Failures
  • Mooring Line Accidents
  • Tag Line Failure
  • H-Bitt Failure
  • Fall From Ship onto Tug Deck
  • Fall From Ship into the Ocean
  • Crab Pot Injuries
  • Pot Launcher Injury
  • King Coiler Injury
  • Collisions
  • Groundings
  • Heavy Weather Injuries
  • Waves on Deck Injuries
  • Crushing Chest Injuries
  • Defective Ladders
  • Injuries from Loading Heavy Stores
  • Capsizings

Litigation Percentage

  • 100% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Bar Admissions

  • Washington
  • Alaska


  • University of Oregon School of Law, Eugene, Oregon - 1986
    • Honors: Order of the Coif

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Inland-Boatmen's Union of the Pacific, Former Member
  • Alaska Fishermen's Union, Former Member

Past Employment Positions

  • Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea, Southeast Alaska and Puget Sound, Deckhand and Mate
  • Hon. Robert C. Belloni, U.S. District Court Judge, D. Oregon, Law Clerk
  • U.S. Department of Justice in Washington D.C., Admiralty Trial Attorney