Dennis McElwee, Partner

Dennis McElwee


Dennis McElwee
3200 Travis Street, 3rd Floor
Houston, Texas 77006
Phone: (713) 524-3500
Fax: (713) 751-0412
Toll Free: (800) 917-1318


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Dennis McElwee has spent more than two decades dedicated to the practice of Maritime Law. He makes it his personal mission to stay up-to-date on court ruling concerning seamen and their daily living expenses because he knows that these details make a world of difference in his clients’ quality of life.

Mr. McElwee began his legal career working under Arthur Schechter, founder of Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris. As Mr. Schechter’s protégée, he learned not only the fine points of trial law in U.S. courtrooms but also the arguments and cross examinations that win cases. “A funny thing happens when you put people under oath—the truth comes out,” he’s known to say.

In his practice, Mr. McElwee focuses on maritime law cases, including Jones Act claims, General Maritime Law claims and seaman’s wage claims. He also handles general personal injury claims and has enjoyed a high rate of success for his clients over the years.

Mr. McElwee is licensed to practice law in Texas and Minnesota, and has also handled cases in four U.S. District Courts, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. Previously he has taught at the Southeast Admiralty Law Center and the University of Texas Maritime Law Conference.

Current Employment Position

  • Partner

Areas of Practice

  • Personal Injury — Plaintiff
  • Jones Act
  • Longshore & Harbor Workers Compensation Act
  • Maintenance and Cure
  • General Maritime Law
  • DOHSA – Death on the High Seas Act
  • Maritime Piracy
  • Public Vessel Act
  • Suits in Admiralty
  • Merchant Mariners Act
  • Admiralty Extension Act
  • OSCLA – Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act
  • Military Sealift Command
  • Houston Motorcycle Accidents – Plaintiff
  • Premises Liability – Plaintiff
  • Railroad Accidents – Plaintiff
  • FELA Claims – Plaintiff
  • Products Liability Law
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Aviation Accidents — Plaintiff
  • Wrongful Death — Plaintiff
  • Shipping

 Litigation Percentages

  • 95% of practice devoted to litigation

Bar Admissions

  • Texas, 1986
  • Minnesota, 1998
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Texas
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court


  • South Texas College of Law, Houston, TX, 1986 – J.D.
  • Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, Camden, New Jersey, 1980 – B.A.

Classes/Seminars Taught/Papers Presented

  • Instructor, Southeast Admiralty Law Institute , SEALI, 1996 Instructor, 7th Annual Admiralty and Maritime Conference, University of Texas, 1998

Honors and Awards

  • Texas Super Lawyers – 2011 – 2014

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Association of Trial Lawyers of America, 1986 – Present
  • Southeast Admiralty Law Institute, 1999 – Present
  • Houston Trial Lawyers Association, Member
  • Texas Trial Lawyers Association, Member


  • “The Relationship Between Medicare and a Vessel Owner’s Duty to Provide Cure,” SEALI, June, 1996
  • “Occupational Ilness Cases in a Maritime Context,” University of Texas, September, 1998

Birth Information

  • 1954, San Antonio, Texas, United States of America



I would absolutely recommend this lawyer. I was injured in an accident at work and they company was trying to give a little for what was going to keep me out of work for a very long time. Thanks to Mr Mcelwee and everyone at Schechter Mcelwee Shaffer and Harris.

Julio – Avvo

What can I say about Dennis other than he is an amazing attorney. He really helped me and my family out when I was hurt while working. I owe him a lot of thanks!

Tiffany – Avvo

Dennis his partners and his staff treat me as family. From the day I was introduced to the firm I was very comfortable with the services rendered.They allowed me to actually feel as though I was a part of the firm. A part of the litigation not just a client or possible revenue. I would never feel comfortable with any other firm after my experience with Dennis.

Reginald – Avvo

I had no idea of what to do ,legal wise or medical wise. I got a hole of Dennis Mcelwee.He handle everything and got me the medical attention i needed, and handled may case like no body i’ve ever seen. He took the woory off my back so i could consentrate on getting better. I don’t think there is
any thing he dosen’t no about the law or being a great human being.In my book he is the greatest and anybody would be very lucky to have him
on thier side.

Personal Injury client – Avvo