Terence S. Cox (September 13, 1951 – January 18, 2023)

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Terence S. Cox

September 13, 1951 – January 18, 2023

Terence S. Cox was a founding partner of CWL, formed in 1997. Prior to forming CWL, Mr. Cox was a partner with Derby, Cook Quinby & Tweedt in San Francisco.

Mr. Cox represented a variety of business interests, including entrepreneurs, shipping lines, property management enterprises, marinas, tug and barge companies, municipalities, property owners, transportation concerns, manufacturers and employers in various trades. He was lead counsel in complex trials and appellate matters in state and federal courts throughout the Western States, including Hawaii, Alaska, Nevada, Arizona and Utah, and acted as an arbitrator and mediator. His expertise included catastrophic maritime injury claims and deaths, loss of vessels by fire and grounding, vessel collisions, products liability and salvage. He tried some of the more prominent limitation of liability and salvage cases on the West Coast over the past thirty years. He tried more than 80 cases in these fields and prevailed in 90+% of his cases.

Mr. Cox was “A.V.” rated for more than 25 years with the Martindale-Hubbell national attorneys’ listing and was named a Northern California Super Lawyer in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. This honor is awarded to those lawyers who are among the top 5% of Northern California attorneys based upon input from their peers and through independent research conducted by Law & Politics.

Areas of Practice

  • Litigation, Maritime catastrophic claims, Real Estate, Business, Transportation, Employment and Insurance
  • Mediator


  • B.A. University of California at Berkeley (1973)
  • J.D. University of Santa Clara, cum laude (1979)

Memberships & Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal
  • All Federal Courts in California
  • Pro Hac Vice Admissions
    • United States District Court for the Western District of Washington
    • United States District Court for the District of Alaska
    • United States District Court for the District of Arizona
    • United States District Court for the District of Utah
    • United States District Court for the District of Hawaii
  • American Bar Association
  • San Francisco Bar Association
  • Marin County Bar Association
  • Maritime Law Association of the U.S.


  • Named a Northern California Super Lawyer in General Litigation (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019).
  • “A.V.” rated by Martindale-Hubble
  • Academic and Pro Bono Service
  • Faculty member with the Hastings College of Advocacy, one of the most prestigious clinics in the United States instructing practicing attorneys in the improvement of their jury trial techniques, from 1985 until 1998.
  • Guest speaker for many maritime trade groups, including the San Francisco Board of Marine Underwriters and the Association of Marine Underwriters in New York City.
  • Founding member and original legal counsel to Shakespeare at Stinson, an outdoor Shakespeare festival.

Representative Matters

  • Amicus counsel in 1991 before the United States Supreme Court in the case Sisson v. Ruby, one of the most important maritime jurisdictional decisions by the Court, which broadly interpreted the right of pleasure vessel owners to have access to the federal courts and the benefits of maritime law.
  • Lead counsel in multiple wrongful death cases.
  • Lead counsel in more than a thousand serious personal injury cases.
  • Lead counsel in dozens of products liability cases.
  • Lead counsel in real estate disputes, including cases involving claims of non-disclosure, fraud and breach of fiduciary duties.
  • Lead counsel in a Northern District of California federal court trial that was one of the few cases in which a vessel owner defeated liability based upon the “Act of God” defense. He won both at the trial court and on appeal, and the case represents the lead case in which the Ninth Circuit federal appellate court has held, in a written opinion, that pleasure vessel owners have the right to the benefits of the federal Limitation of Liability Act. Hechinger v. Caskie, 890 F.2d 202 (9th 1989).
  • Lead trial counsel in a five-week jury trial in Los Angeles successfully defending Warner Bros. and Malpaso Productions in a maritime personal injury case arising out of the filming of Clint Eastwood’s movie the Flags of our Fathers in Iceland
  • Lead counsel in a trial involving a defectively manufactured pleasure craft brought under the Song Beverley Consumer Remedies Act.
  • Successfully negotiated favorable resolutions for employers with Cal OHSA and Fed OSHA involving alleged job safety issues.
  • Defeated wrongful termination cases brought against various employers.
  • Acted as legal counsel in cases involving complex medical causation, including toxic exposure cases involving benzene, diesel fuel, diesel exhaust and other substances.
  • Lead trial counsel in a three-week jury trial in Boston Federal Court successfully defending a product manufacturer in a “mega-luxury” sailing yacht lawsuit.


Terry will be missed by his friends, colleagues and many others in the greater maritime community.