Carlson, James

Carlson, James




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James D. (Jim) Carlson is a partner in the Miami office of Hamilton, Miller, & Birthisel LLP.  His practice focuses on regulatory matters, to include compliance with Customs and Border Protection, Coast Guard, NHTSA, TSA, OSHA, EPA, immigration, and other international and domestic maritime regulatory regimes.  Additionally, Jim handles maritime disputes, waterfront facility, privacy, and transportation matters, as well as compliance related to the emerging Cuba market.

An experienced crisis manager, Jim is a retired Coast Guard officer, to include serving 15 years as a Coast Guard judge advocate, where he gained litigation experience through prosecuting military courts-martial and representing the United States in administrative hearings. Just prior to retirement he served as Regional General Counsel and Acting Deputy District Commander of the Coast Guard’s Seventh District, located in Miami.  Jim also served as a Special Advisor for Homeland Security to the Vice President of the United States, where he advised the Vice President and his National Security Advisor on homeland security, domestic counter-terrorism, and the Arctic.  Jim also served as a policy advisor to two Coast Guard Commandants.


J.D., magna cum laude, 2001, University of Miami School of Law
B.S., Mathematical and Computer Sciences, 1988, United States Coast Guard Academy


  • Served 29 years in the Coast Guard, attaining the rank of Captain
  • Former military prosecutor and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, lead or co-lead for 12 courts-martial
  • Participated in numerous complex investigations of individuals and corporations for environmental crimes, criminal conspiracy, seaman’s manslaughter, fraud, and obstruction of justice
  • Agency representative for three Administrative Procedure Act challenges to agency actions
  • Sailed in three Coast Guard Cutters, commanding one


  • State:
    • Florida, 2001
  • Federal:
    • United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida
    • United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces

Memberships & Recognition


  • Florida Bar
  • American Bar Association Section of International Law
  • Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute
  • Maritime Law Association
  • International Association of Privacy Professionals


  • American Bar Association Outstanding Military Service Career Judge Advocate Award (2016)
  • Office of National Drug Control Policy Director’s Distinguished Service Award (2012)
  • Defense Superior Service Award (2011)
  • Legion of Merit (2012 & 2016)
  • Meritorious Service Medal (2005)
  • Law Enforcement Officer of the Year (2004)
  • Numerous other personal and unit military awards


Speaker: October 8, 2015
Rotary Club of Miami
“Coast Guard Regulatory & Operational Impacts to Port Miami”
Speaker: August 12, 2015
Federal Bar Assoc. Boardroom Lunch
“Recent Developments in Maritime Travel to Cuba”

Publication: Multiple Years, 2013 to 2016
American Bar Association, ABA Section of International Law Year in Review, National Security Law Developments
47 ABA/SIL YIR (n.s) 453 (2013) (co-editor, contributor of “International Response to Iran’s Nuclear Program”)
48 ABA/SIL YIR (n.s) 471 (2014) (co-editor, contributor of “International Response to Iran’s Nuclear Program”)
49 ABA/SIL YIR (n.s) 373 (2015) (co-editor, contributor of “International Response to Iran’s Nuclear Program” and “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant”)
50 ABA/SIL YIR (n.s) 499 (2016) (co-editor, contributor of “International Response to Iran’s Nuclear Program”, “Islamic State,” and “Other Developments”)
51 ABA/SIL YIR (n.s.) __ (forthcoming)(co-editor, contributor of “International Response to North Korea’s Weapons Programs”)

Publication: June 2014
“Commentary: Transnational Organized Crime in the Maritime Domain, and Broader Considerations for the United States’ Interagency,” University of Miami School of Law National Security and Armed Conflict Law Review, 2014 Symposium Edition, June 2014

Community Involvement

  • Assistant Coach, St. Jane DeChantal CYO Basketball, 2009-2012
  • Board Member, Old Saybrook Youth Football, 2005-2009
  • Head Coach, Old Saybrook Youth Travel Basketball, 2005-2009