Phillip Buhler has been practicing principally in the area of Admiralty and maritime law for over thirty-three years. He has worked in firms in Florida and Louisiana and is currently a senior partner with Moseley, Prichard, Parrish, Knight & Jones in Jacksonville. In addition to his law practice he has served as a Dozent (lecturer) in maritime law at the University of Hamburg and as a Dozent in intermodal transportation law and US/international civil procedure at the Lehrstuhl fur US-amerikanisches Recht of the Universitat zu Koeln in Cologne. He has served on the Boards of the Maritime Law Association of the United States and the Inter-American Bar Association as well as the ILS. Mr. Buhler is the editor of the International Maritime Law volumes of the seminal reference Benedicts on Admiralty, and is Florida Bar Board certified in both International Law and Admiralty and Maritime Law. He obtained his JD from the University of Miami and an LL.M. (Admiralty) from Tulane University. Mr. Buhler is currently working on a PhD in law at Dalhousie University in Halifax, and was resident in Canada for much of the last two years. His doctoral work is focused on international regulation of commercial shipping in Polar waters, following on the enactment of the Polar Code under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization in 2017.
Why did you become Board Certified in International Law? My primary incentive for seeking Board certification was for my own betterment. The process encouraged me to study areas of international law outside of those in which I work regularly, although maritime law is arguably the oldest form of international law (the earliest references going back to Roman, Byzantine and Rhodian sources). The certification may have helped to establish the latter point, an important consideration when issues not strictly maritime arise in my work. Certification could also have helped with my bona fides entering the academic world as both an instructor and a doctoral student.
What are some benefits you received from being Board Certified? I have been contacted by prospective clients with legal issues often closely related to my practice, although some might not consider them “maritime” in nature. Such matters, involving for instance international environmental regulation, international commercial transactions and sales of goods, and intermodal transportation have all been part of my practice and one can easily transfer skills from the water to the land side of such cases. On the litigation front, international maritime law utilizes all aspects of transnational litigation and arbitration, and Board certification identifies skills in this area especially.
Any best tips or advice to ILS Members preparing for the Certification Exam? Read, as broadly and widely, and deeply, as possible. The general subject of international law is probably the most comprehensive of any topic tested by the Florida certification process, and it is safe to say that no international lawyer will ever be fully conversant in all areas. There are some very good treatises and handbooks covering the subject, and I hope that the ILS will continue to offer its very good CLE review courses for all candidates.
To learn more about being Board Certified in International Law, visit https://www.floridabar.org/about/cert/cert-applications-and-requirements/  or email Phil at pabuhler@mppkj.com .