Rupert P. Hansen

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Rupert P. Hansen

900 Front Street,
Suite 350
San Francisco, CA 94111
Main: (415) 438-4600
Mobile: (415)250-7706


Of Counsel

Mr. Rupert P. Hansen is a founding partner of CWL, and is now Of Counsel. Prior to joining Cox Wootton Lerner, Mr. Hansen was a partner with the international law firm of Graham & James, LLP in San Francisco.

Mr. Hansen represents a variety of business interests, including financial institutions, developers, entrepreneurs, superyacht owners, shipping lines, property owners, construction companies, manufacturers, and transportation concerns. He has experience as lead counsel in complex trials and appellate matters in both federal and state courts, as well as in international arbitration. Mr. Hansen also engages in transactional and finance work, and is regularly called upon to serve as a mediator and arbitrator within the areas of his expertise. He is frequently retained by large law firms to assist them and their clients in transactions having complicated components of maritime finance or shipping regulation. Mr. Hansen has also testified as an expert witness on marine insurance and vessel emissions regulation.

Mr. Hansen has been practicing law for over forty years. He is “A.V.” rated with the Martindale-Hubbell national attorneys’ listing, and has been perennially named one of Northern California’s Super Lawyers by San Francisco Magazine and Northern California Super Lawyers(TM) Magazine. The honor is awarded to those lawyers who are deemed to be among the top 5% of Northern California attorneys, based on input by their peers and independent research conducted by Law & Politics. Mr. Hansen is also listed in Best Lawyers in America.

Area of Practice

  • Business, Environmental, Admiralty, Maritime, Superyachts, Construction, Finance, Real Estate, Transportation, Law and Litigation
  • Mediator and Arbitrator


  • B.G.S., University of Michigan (1975)
  • J.D., California Western School of Law (1978)
  • LL.M., University of London (University & King’s Colleges) London (1982)
  • LL.M. in Admiralty, Tulane University, with Distinction (1982)

Memberships & Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal
  • All Federal District Courts in California
  • Pro Hac Vice Admissions:
  • United States District Court for the District of Alaska
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia
  • United States District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas
  • Maritime Law Association of the U.S. (Proctor Member)
  • University of San Francisco Maritime Law Journal (Executive Committee Member and Permanent Advisory Board Member)
  • Pacific Admiralty Law Seminar (Past Chair)


  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America (2007 – 2024)
  • Named a Northern California Super Lawyer (2004 – 2024)
  • “AV” Rated by Martindale-Hubble for more than 30 years
  • Rated “10/10 Supurb” by

Academic Service

  • University of San Francisco Law School – Adjunct Professor of Law (1989 – 2003)

Representative Matters: Transactions

  • Represented bank in $32.5 million refinancing of marine entity involving 17 ship mortgages and deeds of trust as collateral.
  • Represented secured creditor banking institution in $60 million debt restructuring of credit facilities to major marine operator.
  • Lead counsel in over $1.5 billion of ship sales and financing transactions over a 30-year period.
  • Represented bareboat charterer with option to purchase $68 million all first-class cruise vessel.
  • Represented buyer of tugboat company.
  • Represented buyer of company which makes and operates underwater remote operating vehicles.
  • Represented buyers and sellers in the purchase and sale of commercial and residential real property.
  • Frequently retained by major law firms to assist in transactions with complicated maritime components.

Representative Matters: Superyachts

  • Represented Owner in the sale of a $60 million Feadship motor yacht
  • Represented Owner in $25,000,000 sale of 47 m Dutch-built sloop
  • Represented Owner regarding construction of 31 m Italian-built motor yacht, U.S. importation and tax issues.
  • Represented Owner regarding construction of 43 m U.S.-built motor yacht
  • Represented Owner of 90 m Dutch-built schooner regarding vessel management contracts and legal issues, crew employment issues, and port state control
  • Represented Owner of 58 m Dutch-built sloop regarding VAT advice, and vessel management legal issues
  • Represented Owner regarding construction of 37 m U.S.-built motor yacht
  • Represented Owner of 42 m Dutch-built J boat regarding port state control and tax issues
  • Represented Sports Team Owner in his sale of 43 m U.S.-built motor yacht to Professional Golfer
  • Represented Owner regarding construction of Taiwanese-built luxury ocean trawler
  • Represented Buyer of 25 m U.S. built motor yacht
  • Represented Buyer of 40 m U.S. built motor yacht purchased from U.S. District Court vessel arrest proceeding
  • Represented Seller of 31 m Italian-built motor yacht
  • Represented Charterer of 80 m German-built motor yacht, TALITHA G
  • Represented Charterer of 28 m German-built sloop
  • Lead counsel for Joint Owner of 21 m French-built catamaran in litigation over title and use of the yacht
  • Obtained full insurance payment to Owner of 40 m Taiwanese-built motor yacht which was destroyed by fire in Mexico
  • Lead counsel for multiple superyacht Owners regarding yacht transport disputes and litigation
  • Established California use tax exemption for Owner of 35 m Taiwanese-built motor yacht
  • Negotiated contracts for superyacht berths at America’s Cup Events
  • Crew employment law advice, drafting of superyacht employment agreements and crew manuals
  • Counsel and advice regarding marine insurance for superyachts
  • Counsel and advice regarding superyacht transport contracts
  • Offshore registration of superyachts, and port state control advice
  • World-wide network of correspondent superyacht legal counsel for 24/7 legal assistance

Representative Matters: Aircraft

  • Represented Seller of private jet aircraft and helicopters
  • Represented Sports Team Owner in sale and purchase of multiple jet aircraft
  • Represented aircraft fleet seller in sale of 18 jet aircraft

Representative Matters: Environmental

  • Lead counsel for a construction interest in a $70 million construction and environmental litigation involving a 288-acre Mega-Terminal.
  • Lead counsel for a financial institution in complex litigation involving a groundwater contamination site at one of Silicon Valley’s first chip manufacturing sites.
  • Lead counsel for a construction interest in an environmental litigation involving construction of a 31-story office building and contaminated soils.
  • Lead counsel for a major developer in litigation involving groundwater contamination of a shopping center caused by a major oil company.
  • Headed transactional due diligence team investigating environmental conditions at 326 storage sites worldwide and more than 100 solvent litigation matters in connection with a client’s acquisition of a major chemical storage and supply company.
  • Lead counsel for owner of land in environmental regulatory proceedings and in cost recovery litigation for contamination caused by boat repair yard tenant.
  • Represented product manufacturers in Prop 65 litigation.
  • Represented a financial institution in 10-year groundwater regulatory proceedings involving multi-million dollar clean-up of TCE solvent contamination and successfully obtained no further action resolution from regulators.
  • Represented banking institution in environmental indemnity case against chemical company.
  • Regularly advise developers and property owners regarding environmental issues related to real estate sales and acquisitions.
  • Successfully defended (through appeal, with recovery of attorneys fees both at trial level and on appeal) the seller of an MTBE impacted property that was sold “as is” to a petroleum company, who tried to overcome the sale contract’s “as is” clause with indemnity claim for site clean-up costs.

Representative Matters: Maritime & Aviation Litigation

  • Representation of vessel owners and charterers in litigation of vessel casualties, including collisions, allisions, groundings, salvage and general average.
  • Litigation and defense of maritime liens.
  • Representation of financial institutions and private equity lenders in ship mortgage foreclosures.
  • Achieved defense award for Chinese ship repair yard in arbitration with U.S. shipping line
  • Obtained one of California’s “Top 100 Settlements” for a private equity ship mortgage holder, including multi-million dollar recovery of all principal, interest, custodial expense, attorney’s fees, and interest on attorney’s fees.
  • Represent foreign shipbuilder in its U.S. based litigation.
  • Defense of shipbuilder in fatal crane accident.
  • Defense of crane manufacturer in fatal crane accident.
  • Representation of aircraft sellers, purchasers and importers in contract disputes.
  • Lead counsel in international arbitration regarding foreign military ship construction dispute.
  • Litigation and arbitration of all manner of maritime and aviation contracts.
  • Representation of contractors and subcontractors in marine construction disputes.
  • Representation of maritime lien creditors in bankruptcy proceedings to obtain adequate protection, relief from stay, and to prosecute and defend adversary proceedings involving maritime interests.

Representative Matters: Business Litigation

  • Represented former owners of a Major League Baseball team in contract dispute over team’s sale.
  • Achieved $1.5 million settlement for outdoor advertising company client in revenue dispute between two Southern California outdoor advertising companies.
  • Obtained defense verdict for client following eight-month trial in state court with California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement regarding employer client’s alleged Labor Code violations, with recovery of $60,000 in costs.
  • Represented toy company in foreign distributorship dispute.
  • Representation of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in litigation.
  • Representation of Banking institutions and private equity lenders in financial litigation.

Representative Matters: Real Estate Litigation

  • Represented major developer in inverse condemnation case affecting 1,000-acre residential development.
  • Successfully obtained an award in arbitration granting contract rescission, deposit refund, interest and recovery of attorney’s fees and costs, for a residential purchaser in a non-disclosure action against a seller of a $4.1 million dollar residence.
  • Represented 105 clients pro bono, in a matter involving implied dedication right of way – achieved settlement that preserved historic public access rights to open space.

Sailing Resume

Mr. Hansen has 30 years of sailing experience, including racing in California and the Great Lakes, and bareboat chartering throughout California, the Pacific Northwest, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean.