Michael Orlando


Strategic thinking has been Michael A. Orlando’s strength throughout his four-decade-long legal career to help clients tackle any legal challenge.  Michael is a Partner in the Houston office of Chaffe McCall, where he focuses his practice on admiralty, energy, insurance litigation, and transactions.  He has represented various business and insurance interests in numerous claims, litigation, and arbitrations across Texas and the Gulf Coast.  His experience spans a wide range of areas, including:

  • Maritime
  • Energy
  • Commercial
  • Products and Professional Liability
  • Appellate
  • Insurance defense and coverage
  • Construction
  • Transportation

Michael has worked with a wide variety of marine and energy operators and service and supply companies.  He has experience working as a National Counsel for both a foreign and a domestic manufacturer, handling product liability and commercial litigation.  He has worked with clients in numerous industries, including:

  • Oil and gas
  • Ship owners
  • Manufacturers
  • Charterers
  • Oilfield contractors
  • Stevedores
  • Terminal operators
  • Cargo owners
  • Insurers
  • Financial institutions

Michael has also tried cases throughout Texas in federal and state courts and administrative tribunals. He is certified in civil pretrial practice and civil trial advocacy by the National Board of Trial Advocacy.  He has worked jointly with international solicitors and handled both domestic and international arbitrations. In addition to his litigation practice, Michael has experience drafting and negotiating contracts for energy and marine companies, focusing on Master Service Agreements, indemnity, insurance, and risk allocation issues.

Since 1982, Michael has been a member of the Maritime Law Association of the United States, serving on the Marine Insurance, Offshore Industries, and Proctor Admissions Committees. He’s extensively written and lectured on marine, energy, and insurance topics and has taught pretrial litigation as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Houston Law School.

Michael graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1979 with a degree in the Business Honors Program and Finance.  He earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Houston Law Center in 1981.



  • Pacific Operators Offshore LLP v. Valladolid: Substantial Nexus Text Provides Little Guidance, IRMI.com (April 2012)
  • One Beacon v. Crowley Marine: Towing Maritime Contracts into the Internet Age, IRMI.com (January 2012)
  • No Sea Change in Causation Standards under the Jones Act, IRMI.com (July 2011)
  • U.S. Supreme Court Constricts Carmack Amendment, IRMI.com (September 2010)
  • Clearing the Muddy Waters of Offshore Contractual Indemnity Disputes: Implications of Grand Isle v. Seacor, IRMI.com (March 2010)
  • Significant Narrowing of Rule B Attachments, IRMI.com (November 2009)
  • Supreme Court Declares Punitive Damages Available for Maintenance and Cure Claim, IRMI.com (September 2009)
  • Choice-of-Law Clauses in Marine Cargo Insurance Policy, IRMI.com (January 2009)
  • Consistent Dispute Resolute Clauses Needed in Maritime Contracts, IRMI.com (July 2008)
  • Spill Fund Reimbursement Allowed because of Willful Misconduct, IRMI.com (January 2008)
  • Supreme Court Resolves Circuit split on Forum Non Conveniens, IRMI.com (August 2007)
  • Room for Debate on Proximate Cause versus Relaxed Standard of Causation in a Jones Act Context, IRMI.com (February 2007)
  • OCSLA Trumps Admiralty Jurisdiction, IRMI.com (August 2006)
  • A New Arrow in the Jones Act Employer’s Quiver, IRMI.com (February 2006)
  • ADA Applies to foreign-Flag Cruise Ships—In Theory—by Michael A. Orlando, IRMI.com (August 2005)
  • Taking Some Teeth Out of the Louisiana Oilfield Indemnity Statute—by Michael A. Orlando, IRMI.com (March 2005)
  • Supreme Court Rules a Dredge is a Jones Act Vessel—by Michael A. Orlando, IRMI.com (March 2005)
  • Enforcement of Federal Law on Foreign-Flagged Ships in U.S. Waters—by Michael A. Orlando, IRMI.com (November 2004)
  • Circuit Split Widens over Exculpatory Clauses in Maritime Contracts—by Michael A. Orlando, IRMI.com (February 2004)


  • Selected for inclusion in Texas Super Lawyer® for Energy & Natural Resources, 2006, 2012 – present
  • Named as a Texas Legal Leaders Top Rated Lawyer®
  • Rated AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell’s highest ranking by peers for ethical standards and legal ability, 2024


  • Past Chair, American Bar Association’s Tort and Insurance Practice Section
  • Committee Member, American Bar Association’s Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee, and Corporate Counsel Committee

  • Served as lead counsel in a U.S. Supreme Court case involving over $100 million in alleged damages, ultimately securing a complete dismissal for the clients.

Key Matters

  • Served as lead counsel in a U.S. Supreme Court case involving over $100 million in alleged damages, ultimately securing a complete dismissal for the clients.