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) 282-2122


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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 – 2012

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