David’s law practice focuses on risk management in the marine-transportation and energy-service markets. David negotiates and litigates contracts and insurance policies. For the last 25 years, he has also taught a class on Towage & Offshore Services at Tulane Law School.

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David B. Sharpe

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David is a Lugenbuhl shareholder in the firm’s New Orleans office whose law practice is focused upon risk management in the marine-transportation and energy-service markets. Since 1990, David has represented vessel interests, their insurers, and oilfield-service companies who work both onshore and offshore. David helps his clients understand and manage their risks in the oilfield and alternative-energy markets in the Gulf of Mexico and beyond.

David’s work includes negotiating, interpreting, and litigating master service and equipment-rental contracts, vessel charterparties, purchase-and-sales contracts, and related insurance policies.

David is widely published, and he has lectured about maritime risk management in the US, UK, Norway, Singapore, and India.  David is an editor of Cases & Materials on Admiralty (6th ed. 2017), a leading law-school casebook on admiralty and maritime law. David is also an adjunct professor at Tulane Law School, where since 1996 he has taught an upper-level class currently called “Towage & Offshore Services.”

David holds a degree in electrical-engineering (BSEE 1985) from Tulane University. Before getting his law degree from George Washington University Law School (JD 1990, with honors), he worked for several years as a radio-systems engineer for Motorola in Houston.

David and his wife, Eleanor, have three, adult children.


  • Best Lawyers (2018-2023)
  • Super Lawyers (2008-2023)
  • Named a Top Lawyer by New Orleans Magazine (2014, 2019-2020)
  • 2018 New Orleans CityBusiness Leadership in Law Class
  • Chair of the Program Committee for the Tulane Admiralty Law Institute; served on Program or Planning Committees continuously since 2000
  • 2005–2007: Board of Directors, New Orleans Bar Association (2005-2007)
  • Fleur de Lis Leader, New Orleans Bar Association (2006)
  • Proctor in Admiralty, Maritime Law Association of the United States (1996–Present)

Recent Appellate Success

  • NuStar Energy Services v. M/V Cosco Auckland, 760 Fed. Appx. 245 (5th Cir. 2019) (maritime lien awarded to bank as assignee of contract supplier, not for physical supplier which did not take order from someone with authority to incur liens)
  • Alebamon Marine Services v. Ocean Marine Contractors, No. 15-30928 (5th Cir. 2016) (per curiam affirmance of district judge’s ruling for client on breach of contract for sale of vessels for scrap)
  • Chenevert v. Travelers Indemnity Co., 746 F.3d 581 (5th Cir. 2014) (workers’ compensation carrier can assert a subrogation lien against tort recovery by injured maritime worker who received compensation under the LHWCA before asserting he was a seaman under the Jones Act)

Selected Publications

  • David B. Sharpe contributed a chapter to Moore’s Federal Practice (3d ed. 2019), published by Matthew Bender Elite Product (3rd Ed. 2019)
  • Stewart F. Peck and David B. Sharpe, "What is a Vessel?: Implications for Marine Finance, Marine Insurance, and Admiralty Jurisdiction," 89 Tul. L. Rev. 1103 (June 2015)
  • Sharpe, Sharpe & Winship, ADMIRALTY: CASES & MATERIALS (6th Ed. – 2017)
  • Healy, Sharpe, Sharpe & Winship, ADMIRALTY: CASES & MATERIALS (5th Ed. 2012)
  • Healy, Sharpe & Sharpe, ADMIRALTY: CASES & MATERIALS (4th Ed. 2006)
  • Healy, Sharpe & Sharpe, HANDBOOK OF MARITIME LAWS & FORMS (2007 Edition)
  • BENEDICT ON ADMIRALTY – Maritime Arrest (Berns, Sharpe & Sharpe - released 2004)

Business Accomplishments

  • Practicing attorney for nearly 30 years
  • Martindale-Hubbell Bestowed AV Rated Attorney since 2001
  • Member of the American Bar Association, Louisiana State Bar Association and New Orleans Bar Association
  • Member of Maritime Law Association of the U.S. and Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute
  • Co-editor of current West casebook, “Admiralty: Cases & Materials” (6th Edition, 2017), one of the oldest continuously used case books utilized by law students in the country
  • Published excerpts included in “Handbook of Maritime Laws and Forms (2007 Edition) used by law students and practitioners of admiralty and maritime law
  • Presenter at international law gatherings in countries including England, Norway, Singapore, and India, speaking on maritime and offshore energy law
  • Argued and won legal cases before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Louisiana state appellate courts, and state and federal district courts

Community Involvement

  • Currently serves as Adjunct Professor of Law at Tulane University Law School teaching Towage & Offshore Service Law since 1999
  • 2006 – 2009: Chairman of the School Board, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School
  • 2004 – 2006: Vice Chairman of the School Board, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School

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