John Robert Walker

Partner / Houston

P: 713.588.0446

As captain of the Baylor University sailing team, John Robert Walker learned how to respond quickly to difficult situations and command a group of fellow college students, turning them into a well-disciplined team.

After college, he worked as a professional sailmaker and sailor, including as first mate aboard a 100-foot yacht. But law school called. After earning his J.D. from South Texas College of Law in 1989, he joined a firm that focused on maritime law. He became an expert at various maritime regulations and learned the art of multi-jurisdictional negotiations, working on deals all over the world — including in Zanzibar, Panama, Grenada, St. Vincent, and likely every jurisdiction bordering on navigable waters.

Being a lifelong sailor taught John how to navigate rough and sometimes uncharted waters, a skill that was dramatically tested during the aftermath of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill. One of his clients owned and operated the vessels and remote-operated vehicles that first responded to the disaster, leading to an avalanche of lawsuits. John’s expert understanding of maritime law, careful analysis, insightful counsel, creation of comprehensive contracts and risk-mitigation recommendations facilitated efficient and successful resolutions.

After three decades handling maritime cases, as well as claims under the Jones Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act and the Defense Base Act, he has seen just about every type of problem that might come along and knows how to best respond to them. In fact, a great deal of the standing law in his practice areas is the result of rulings in his cases. He has broken new ground and established important precedents.

Despite his prestigious reputation in legal circles, he is hands-on with clients and zealously represents their interests. And as is true of every good sailor, he always knows which way the wind is blowing, enabling him to plot the best course for every case, despite initial headwinds.

Practice Areas

Practice Areas

  • General Liability
  • Admiralty and Maritime
  • Defense Base Act
  • Federal Workers’ Compensation
  • Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation
  • State Workers’ Compensation
  • Subrogation


  • J.D., South Texas College of Law
    • South Texas Law Review
    • Order of the Lytae
  • B.A., Baylor University

Court Admissions

  • State Bar of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of International Trade

Representative Cases

  • Carter v. Caleb Brett LLC, 757 F.3d 866 (9th Cir. 2014)
  • Caldera v. Insurance Co. of the State of Pa. 716 F.3d 861 (5th Cir. 2013)
  • Facility Ins. Corp. v. Gibbs, 298 S.W.2d 791 (Tex. App. – Eastland 2009)
  • Levingston Ship Building Co. v. Pelaez, 312 Fed. Appx. 711 (5th Cir. 2009)
  • Do v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, 427 F. Supp. 2d 1224 (CIT 2006)
  • Sant v. Southern Sandblasting and Coatings, Inc., 35 BRBS 499 (ALJ 2001)
  • Gutierrez v. Patterson Services, Inc., 30 BRBS 380 (ALJ) (1996)
  • Borne v. Vantage Petroleum, 949 F. Supp. 492 (S.D. Tex. 1996)
  • Carter v. Bergaila & Associates, 27 BRBS 279, 283 (ALJ 1993)
  • Simons v. Texas Mooring, Inc., 27 BRBS 692 (ALJ 1992)
  • Carriere v. C.C. Crane Corp., 812 F. Supp. 90 (S.D. Tex. 1992)
  • Smith, Wright & Weed v. Stone, 818 S.W.2d 926 (Tex. Civ. App.– Houston 14th Dist., 1991)

Published Works

  • “The Contingent Workforce in Texas – What Every Corporate Counsel Using Temporary, Contract or Leased Employees Needs to Know” – Corporate Counsel Review (2010)
  • “Spoliation of Evidence in Texas and the Corporate Records Retention Policy” – Corporate Counsel Review (2001)
  • “What Every Corporate Counsel Using Temporaries Needs to Know” – Corporate Counsel Review (1998)

Speeches and Presentations

John regularly speaks to industry and trade groups on topics related to litigation and insurance.

Classes and Seminars Taught

  • CPCU – Insurance Law Instructor

Professional Memberships

  • State Bar of Texas
  • Houston Bar Association
  • Houston Mariners Club

Community Involvement

John represents U.S. citizens, pro bono, seeking redress in trade disputes in the U.S. Court of International Trade.