Seth S. Holbrook


Mobile: (617) 645-6730

Seth S. Holbrook has been a well-known member of the New England admiralty law community for many years. Before law school, he worked as an underwriter in the Ocean Marine division of a prominent insurer. A graduate of the University of Miami School of Law, where he specialized in Ocean and Coastal Law matters, Mr. Holbrook is admitted to practice in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maine. He has tried cases, both jury and non-jury, before courts in those jurisdictions and in Connecticut. He has also appeared before the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit on several occasions.

Mr. Holbrook has been involved in important cases affecting the New England maritime community, including cases resulting from the loss of the fishing vessel that was the centerpiece of The Perfect Storm and the largest boatyard fire in recent Massachusetts history. Additionally, he recently assisted in an amicable resolution of one of the more significant seafood warehouse fires litigated in Massachusetts. He also defended an engine repairer in litigation concerning a major tugboat fire and has been involved in several high profile pleasure boat accident cases. He recently concluded the successful resolution of a highly publicized amputation accident in Boston Harbor.

His practice is focused primarily on litigation, but he is also involved with transactional and administrative law work in the maritime arena.

Mr. Holbrook served as Skipper of the Mariners Club of Massachusetts and is a long time Proctor member of the Maritime Law Association of the United States. An avid boater, he keeps current on developments in the maritime field.

His clients range from multinational insurance companies to small boat owners. Mr. Holbrook has spoken before various maritime industry groups over the years and his advice is frequently sought by practitioners throughout New England. He was recently named a Massachusetts Super Lawyer.

Outside of the office, Mr. Holbrook, an Eagle Scout, previously served on the Executive Board of the Spirit of Adventure Council, Boy Scouts of America. He was recently awarded the N.E.S.A Outstanding Eagle Scout Award.

Robert J. Murphy


Robert J. Murphy’s practice is quite broad, leveraging numerous areas of expertise for his clients’ benefit. He represents domestic and international clients and their insurers in a wide variety of commercial and maritime matters. Bob has extensive experience defending personal injury and death claims under the Jones Act, DOHSA and the general maritime law. He has advocated for his clients in the areas of maritime collisions, property damage, demurrage, cargo losses, charter party disputes, salvage, oil pollution and regulatory matters. He has litigated many of the leading Massachusetts cases concerning admiralty and maritime matters.

Bob also represents and advises underwriters and brokers in all aspects of insurance coverage disputes and first party claims. On the transactional side, Bob represents and counsels commercial institutions, vessel owners and vessel operators in negotiating and drafting agreements and in connection with financing.

Bob was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Plymouth State College in 1986, where he was on the President’s List and played second row for the rugby team. He received his J.D., cum laude, from New England School of Law in 1990. In law school, Bob served as a Judicial Intern in the Suffolk, Middlesex and Essex Superior Courts. He was also a Senior Editor of the New England Law Review and a New England Scholar. He won the American Jurisprudence Award for Trial Competition, the American College of Trial Lawyers Medal for Excellence in Advocacy and the Trustees Award for Service.

Bob is a Proctor Member of the Maritime Law Association of the United States and a frequent writer and lecturer on commercial and maritime topics.

Samuel P. Blatchley


Mobile: (401) 330-7417

Samuel P. Blatchley represents clients in litigation and transactional matters with a focus on admiralty and maritime law. He represents vessel owners and operators, charterers, construction and dredging firms, freight forwarders, inland carriers, lenders, marina operators, marine surveyors, marine trades providers, stevedores, and terminal operators in maritime litigation, as well as in marine-related commercial and corporate transactions. Sam’s practice covers an array of maritime disputes, including maritime collisions and casualties, charter party and marine services agreements, personal injury and death claims, Admiralty Rules B, C, and D actions, and insurance coverage disputes. He also handles maritime financing, purchase and charter, documentation, and registration matters in connection with both commercial vessels and private yachts. Prior to joining Holbrook & Murphy, Sam was a partner and Chair of the Admiralty and Maritime Group at a leading New England law firm.

Sam received his J.D. and Maritime Law Certificate from Tulane University Law School, where he was the Notes and Comments Editor of the Tulane Maritime Law Journal. Before law school, Sam graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison with a Bachelor of Arts in History, with honors, and Political Science, with distinction. While at the University of Wisconsin, Sam was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.

 Sam is admitted to practice in Massachusetts, Maine, New York, and Rhode Island. He is also admitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit; the U.S. District Court, Connecticut; the U.S. District Court, Massachusetts; the U.S. District Court, Maine; and the U.S. District Court, Rhode Island. Sam was a member of the Ad-Hoc Subcommittee for the District of Rhode Island Local Rules Review Committee, which drafted the Local Admiralty Rules for the District of Rhode Island, effective as of January 15, 2013. Sam is designated as a Proctor in Admiralty by the Maritime Law Association of the United States, and serves as the Chairman of the Association’s Practice and Procedure Committee. He was also designated as a Massachusetts Super Lawyers Rising Star, Transportation and Maritime Law in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Jonathan Upchurch


Jonathan S. Upchurch received his J.D., cum laude, from Boston University School of Law where he competed in the John R. Brown Admiralty Moot Court Competition. Jon is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire where he studied economics and political science.

Since joining Holbrook & Murphy, Jon has represented clients in various maritime matters including collisions, property damage, cargo disputes, Jones Act and general maritime law claims, limitation of liability proceedings, as well as subrogation actions.

Jon is admitted to practice in Massachusetts and the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

Daniel C. Kelley


Daniel C. Kelley holds a United States Coast Guard Second Mate (Unlimited) License as well as a 1600 Ton Master’s License and received his J.D. from Suffolk University Law School in Boston, Massachusetts. In law school, Dan was a member of the Transnational Law Review and a Student Attorney with Suffolk Law’s nationally ranked defense clinic. Before law school Dan graduated, magna cum laude, from Massachusetts Maritime Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation and a United States Coast Guard Third Mates License. Dan received honors for earning the highest grade point average in the Marine Transportation Major.

After graduating from the Academy, Dan sailed deep sea in the United States Merchant Marine with the United States Navy’s Military Sealift Command. Dan spent his time with Military Sealift Command sailing on Dry Cargo/ Fuel and Ammunition ships and Fleet Ocean Tug Boats as a Second and Third Officer. Dan delivered fuel and ammunition to U.S. Navy ships at sea during Underway Replenishment Operations, conducted salvage/dive operations with U.S. Navy Divers, and planned and participated in voyages including towing decommissioned nuclear submarines through the Panama Canal.

Since joining Holbrook & Murphy, Dan has represented clients in various maritime matters including vessel documentation, contract drafting, collisions, property damage, cargo disputes, Jones Act and general maritime law claims, limitation of liability proceedings, as well as subrogation actions.

Francis X. Downey


Francis “Jake” Downey began his career at Holbrook & Murphy as a law clerk before receiving his J.D. from Suffolk University Law School in Boston, Massachusetts.

Born and raised in coastal Maine, Jake is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire where he earned a degree in both Business Management and Communications. While at UNH, he held the position as President of one of the largest organizations on campus and was awarded the highest individual award as a member of the Greek community. Prior to attending law school, Jake worked at a Cambridge based start-up company handling business development matters with large insurance carriers. He also leased and sold real estate leading up to and throughout law school.

Since joining Holbrook & Murphy, Jake has represented clients in various maritime matters including Jones Act and general maritime law claims, transactional matters, collisions, cargo disputes, property damage, insurance coverage disputes, as well as subrogation actions.