Frank L. McNiff, Jr., a graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, a former commanding officer and a recent retiree of 20 years in the U. S. Coast Guard Reserve, brings unique nautical experience to the practice of law in the firm’s Maritime and General Litigation sections.

The Selma, Alabama, native is a Proctor in the Admiralty, a rare distinction bestowed on attorneys by the Maritime Law Association of the United States, and has been designated a Master of the Bench in the American Inns of Court, is AV rated and further is a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation.

His path toward a career in maritime law began in high school when he received an award and was questioned about his future. He answered that he planned to enter the military and later become a maritime attorney, and that’s exactly what he did.

During his time in the Coast Guard, Frank realized his nautical experience would prove helpful in maritime law. His most difficult professional challenge came in shifting his mindset from “military” to “civilian,” a shift he accomplished by realizing that both systems work and then using the best of each.

Mr. McNiff represents ship owners, agents, charterers, maritime employers and contractors in all areas of maritime torts, seamen’s injuries, contracts, oil and chemical releases and other regulatory violations. He also handles cases involving stowaways, charter disputes, cargo claims, investigations, property damage and other matters involving maritime commerce, and represents insurance companies in cases involving personal injury and other non-maritime torts. He has also developed an active general litigation practice involving trucking accidents as well as commercial disputes.

Frank has represented clients before federal and state courts and administrative agencies, including the United States Coast Guard, United States Department of Immigration and Naturalization and Texas General Land Office.

He believes in resolving the problem as quickly and as cost-effectively as possible while maintaining the highest ethical standards. His interpersonal skills and maritime knowledge have earned him a reputation as a “closer” who resolves issues rather than stringing them out.

In August 2003, he and his partners formed Welder Leshin, LLP.

He is married to Frances “Trav” Collins McNiff and has four sons and one daughter. Frank’s hobbies include golf, fishing, and attending his children’s piano recitals, soccer matches and baseball games.

Education: United States Coast Guard Academy (B.S., 1982); Southern Methodist University (J.D., 1990)

Admitted to Bar: Texas, 1990

Practice Areas: Admiralty; Personal Injury Defense, General Litigation.

Professional Activities: Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute (Director 2003-2007); United States Naval Institute; Nautical Institute (London); Maritime Law Association of the United States (Proctor); Propeller Club; International Seamen’s Center (Board Member); American Bar Association; State Bar of Texas; Corpus Christi Bar Association; Corpus Christi Young Lawyers Association (President, 1994)

Civic Activities: Navy Mutual Aid Association (Non-Resident Director, 1996); United States Navy League (Life Member); Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce; Gulf Coast Conservation Society (Director, 1996); National Eagle Scouts Association; Rotary Club; Corpus Christi Area Council for the Deaf (Board Member); Silent Foundation (President)

 Military Service: United States Coast Guard (Commanding Officer, Deck Watch Officer, other administrative duties); United States Coast Guard Reserve (Lieutenant Commander)

No designation has been made by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization for a Certificate of Special Competence in this area.