Image: Kelly Scalise
Kelly T. Scalise
Shareholder, New Orleans
Hancock Whitney Center
701 Poydras Street
Suite 5000
New Orleans, Louisiana 70139


Kelly Scalise is a litigator who concentrates her practice on claims on behalf of international and domestic clients in the energy sector.  She represents business entities, both defending and asserting claims involving:

  • Admiralty, insurance and indemnity issues
  • Tort defense
  • Products liability
  • Personal injuries
  • Offshore drilling
  • Legacy contamination

Kelly has represented clients in admiralty and land-based tort actions and other complex litigation.  These representations have included ship-building disputes and contractual issues, vessel collisions and other admiralty matters, products liability defense and premises liability actions and extend to trials, arbitrations, motions practice, discovery, extensive electronic productions and mediations.  Clients have also sought Kelly's help with contract negotiations and indemnity issues. 

Kelly served as a law clerk to the Honorable James L. Dennis, Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, from 2000–2001.  She co-founded the Admiralty Law Section of the Federal Bar Association and has been a leader of the Federal Bar Association.


Kelly helps clients with complex maritime law claims and disputes, often involving large-scale electronic document management and the use of technical experts.  Here are several recent representations that illustrate Kelly's work:

  • We represented a local ship builder in a contractual dispute and prevailed in a 12-day jury trial.
  • Chevron engaged us to represent the company in an on-going contamination claim involving a potential oil/gas leak.  We defended litigation brought by another pipe owner in the area, in addition to handling an agency review by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.
  • We represented BP as a plaintiff in a products liability case involving piping systems on platforms in the Gulf.  The firm's team conducted extensive work with experts and on-the-ground investigation.
  • We secured a victory at the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, affirming a summary judgment in favor of a trustee and finding the defendant in breach of his fiduciary duty.

According to Kelly, "My past experience with personal injury claims is an asset that benefits clients in every phase of litigation ­ from investigation, through deposing experts and beyond ­ whether it's maritime, trucking or any other kind of major accident or loss."



  • Board of Directors – Present
  • Federal Bar Association – Admiralty Law Section Chair (2015-2017); New Orleans Chapter President (2016-2017); Younger Lawyers Division, Chair;  Law Student Division Task Force Co-Chair;  Section and Division Council; Thurgood Marshall Moot Court Competition Co-Director; The Federal Lawyer Editorial Board
  • New Orleans, Louisiana State, and American Bar Association, Member
  • Louisiana Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • American Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel
  • Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute
  • Law Clerk to the Honorable James L. Dennis, Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, 2000–2001


  • Women's Energy Network, Member

  • Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association


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Kelly T. Scalise
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  • "Programming Best Practices," Federal Bar Association's 2021 Virtual Leadership Summit, May 19, 2021.
  • Kelly was a co-founder of the Admiralty Law Section of the Federal Bar Association and was elected to serve as chair, 2015-2017.  She has presented on topics such as developments in maritime personal injury law and punitive damages.
  • Kelly has also presented on contractual indemnity and insurance issues, negotiations of oilfield contracts, and ethical issues in personal injury cases.

After Hours

Aside from a weakness for Swedish and Norwegian crime fiction, Kelly spends her spare time with family.  You might, for example, find her on the sidelines watching her sons play soccer or football…or with her family at Disney World's Polynesian Village.