Colin A. McRae

Partner

200 East Saint Julian Street
PO Box 9848
Savannah, GA 31412-0048

Tel 912.236.0261
Fax 912.236.4936

Colin McRae is a partner in the Savannah office. His practice areas include admiralty, transportation, logistics, business litigation, real estate disputes, landlord/tenant law, and tax appeal disputes involving both real and personal property. Colin’s maritime experience includes defense of personal injury claims, collisions, bill of lading and charter party disputes, cargo damage claims, oil spill and other environmental pollution cases, Coast Guard penalties, and recreational boating casualties. In addition to his experience in disputes involving real estate and commercial transactions, Colin has over fifteen years of experience representing property owners in tax appeal disputes in the Boards of Equalization and Superior Courts of southeast Georgia counties, including several jury trials representing property owners against county Boards of Assessors.

Colin is one of a select few United States-based attorneys to hold Qualification Certificates from the International Group of Protection and Indemnity (P&I) Clubs in connection with his work as a P&I Correspondent for the Port of Savannah. As part of his twenty-year service to the P&I Clubs, which insure the oceangoing vessels that call the Port of Savannah, Colin recently sat for and passed the P&I Qualification examinations for Module 1 (The Shipping Business), Module 2 (P&I Insurance: History, Operation and Practice), and Module 3 (Underwriting, Loss Prevention and Claims Handling) of the qualification process. The certificates Colin received for passing these three P&I Qualification examinations can be found here:

Certificate – P&I Qualification Module 1
Certificate – P&I Qualification Module 2
Certificate – P&I Qualification Module 3

In recognition of Colin’s two decades of experience in the maritime law field, he has been appointed an Adjunct Professor in Admiralty Law on the faculties of both the Mercer University School of Law and the Savannah Law School.

Colin is a member of the State Bar of Georgia and is admitted to practice in all courts of Georgia; the U.S. District Courts for the Southern, Middle, and Northern Districts of Georgia; and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. He is a member of the Savannah Bar Association, for which he served as president in 2015 and 2016. Colin has also served two terms as a member of the Savannah Bar Association’s Executive Committee and as president of its Young Lawyers Division.

A native Savannahian, Colin graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in History in 1995 and from the University of Georgia School of Law with a J.D., cum laude, in 1999. Colin is the current chairperson of the Chatham County Board of Registrars and served for fifteen years as attorney coach of the High School Mock Trial team at Savannah Country Day School, his alma mater, leading to an award from the State Bar of Georgia as Outstanding Attorney Coach for the 2008-2009 season.

Colin was presented by the Savannah Bar Association with the Robbie Robinson Award for outstanding service to the Savannah community in 2010. He is AV rated by his peers on Martindale-Hubbell.

Colin and his wife, Lindsay, live with their two children in the Ardsley Park neighborhood of Savannah, where they are active members of First Presbyterian Church.


Experience

Representative Engagements

  • Service for over twenty years as local correspondent for all thirteen member Clubs of the International Group of Protection and Indemnity (P&I) Clubs, and provide their ocean carrier members legal advice, casualty investigation, regulatory assistance, and related services for legal matters arising in the Port of Savannah and the Port of Brunswick.
  • Represented salvors in Supreme Court of Georgia in landmark case establishing the exclusivity of federal courts’ jurisdiction over in rem claims for marine salvage. Phillips v. Sea Tow / Sea Spill of Savannah, 276 Ga. 352, 578 S.E.2d 846 (2003).
  • Obtained a reversal of the trial court’s denial of summary judgment in favor of municipal owner of recreational dock facility involved in collapse involving ferry passengers. Chatham Area Transit Auth. v. Brantley, 353 Ga.App. 197 (2019).
  • Gained affirmance of trial court grant of summary judgment to oceangoing vessel owner sued by longshoreman injured by falling twistlock. Horton v. Maersk Line, Ltd., 603 Fed.Appx. 791 (11th Cir. 2015).
  • Established new law in the Eleventh Circuit regarding the “open and obvious” defense to personal injury claims brought under the “turnover duty” owed by cargo vessel owners to longshoremen. Washington v. Nat’l Shipping Co., 836 Fed.Appx. 846 (11th Cir. 2020).
  • Secured an appellate victory for oceangoing shipping line who had been sued under the “active control” duty by a longshoreman injured during cargo operations. Miller v. Navalmar (UK) Ltd., 685 Fed.Appx. 751 (11th Cir. 2017).
  • Engaged by regional warehousing provider to defend “toxic Chinese drywall” claims.

Community Work

  • Chatham County Board of Registrars: Chairperson, 2009-Present
  • Community Health Mission: Board of Directors, Chairman, 2010-2014
  • Economic Opportunity Authority of Savannah/Chatham County: Board Member
  • Georgia High School Mock Trial Program: Attorney Coach, 2001-2015
  • Leadership Savannah: Class of 2008
  • Propeller Club of the United States – Port of Savannah Chapter: Member
  • United Way of the Coastal Empire: Attorneys Division, Co-Chairman, 2006-2008

Credentials

Education

University of Georgia School of Law: J.D., cum laude, 1999
Yale University: B.A., History, 1995

Affiliations

  • Maritime Law Association of the United States: Member (Proctor status)
  • Savannah Bar Association: President, 2015-2016
  • Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute: Board of Directors, Member; SEALI Newsletter, Associate Editor
  • Southeastern Warehouse Association: Member
  • State Bar of Georgia: iCivics Committee, 2016-2018; International Trade in Legal Services Committee, 2016-2017
  • Transportation Lawyers Association: Member

Recognition

Martindale-Hubbell: AV Rated
The Martindale-Hubbell® PEER REVIEW RATINGS™ are an objective indicator of a lawyer’s high ethical standards and professional ability, generated from evaluations of lawyers by other members of the bar and the judiciary in the United States and Canada.

Best Lawyers in America: Admiralty & Maritime Law, 2013-2023
Best Lawyers is the oldest and most highly-respected peer review guide to the legal profession worldwide. A listing in Best Lawyers is widely regarded by both clients and legal professionals as a significant honor, conferred on a lawyer by his or her peers.

Georgia Super Lawyers: Transportation/Maritime, 2016-2022
Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process is multi-phased and includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.

Lawyer of the Year: Admiralty & Maritime Law, 2016 & 2022
The Best Lawyers in America named Colin McRae the Lawyer of the Year for Savannah in the area of Admiralty & Maritime Law. The award is given to those who have earned a high level of respect from their peers for their expertise, professionalism, and integrity. Each year this honor is given to only one lawyer per location and practice area.

Georgia Trend Magazine Legal Elite: 2015-2016
Georgia Trend Magazine’s annual listing of Georgia’s top attorneys, selected by their peers. The list includes eight practice areas: business law; personal injury litigation; criminal law; labor and employment; taxes, estates and trusts; bankruptcy and creditors’ rights; family law; and general practice/trial law.

Community STAR: 2015
The Savannah Technical College Foundation Community Council honored HunterMaclean attorney Colin McRae at the 2015 Tribute to Community STARS. The event recognizes individuals for their service and dedication at work or in the community.

Georgia Super Lawyers Rising Star: 2007 & 2009-2013
Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process is multi-phased and includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.

GenerationNEXT: Savannah’s Rising Stars of Business, 2012
In their annual GenerationNEXT: Savannah’s Rising Stars of Business competition, Savannah Magazine and Business in Savannah recognize 21 local business and community leaders under the age of 40. The winners are nominated and selected based upon their business accomplishments and humanitarian efforts.

Savannah Bar Association: Robbie Robinson Award, 2010
The Savannah Bar Association presented the Robbie Robinson Award, named after the late Savannah civil rights attorney, to Colin McRae in May 2010. The award recognizes a member of the legal profession who has demonstrated dedication to the principles of service to individuals and of advancement of the legal, political, social, and civil rights of the citizens of the Savannah community.

Georgia High School Mock Trial Program: Outstanding Attorney Coach Award, 2008-2009
The Georgia Mock Trial Competition helps students gain an understanding of the legal system by providing opportunities for school teams to participate in academic competitions where players assume attorney and witness roles in a court case. Lawyers coach students in developing questioning, critical thinking and oral advocacy skills.

Licensed In

Georgia

Insights

Presentations

Legal Considerations in Implementing your Vision
Presented at the Southeastern Warehouse Association Convention in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, on September 18, 2015.

Navigating the Troubled Waters of the Law of Salvage
Presented to the Hilton Head Sail & Power Squadron in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, on September 8, 2014.

Legal Update: Issues Our Clients Are Asking Us About
Presented by Colin McRae and Brad Harmon at the Southeastern Warehouse Association Annual Convention in Destin, Florida, on September 14, 2013.

The Trial of the Slave Ship WANDERER
Presented at the Eleventh Circuit Judicial Conference in Savannah, Georgia, on May 2, 2013, by Colin McRae, Brad Harmon, and Adam Kirk.

Update on the Eleventh, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Circuits
Presented at the Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute Annual Seminar on June 26, 2009.

News