Joseph S. Stacey has practiced maritime law since 1982. He has handled all types of maritime cases, involving most types of vessels, all over the United States. His practice these days, however, concentrates mainly in the maritime personal injury and wrongful death areas.
Joe grew up on the coast of Maine. Although the history of the inhabitants on the Maine coast is rich with ocean-going sailor stories and vast fishing fleets, by the time Joe graduated from Calais High School, the main fishing work involved lobsters and some herring. The fishing off the Grand Banks was in decline.
After graduating from the University of Maine, Joe decided to go west and attend law school at the University of Puget Sound (now Seattle University). Immediately after law school, Joe went to work as a clerk for Federal District Court Judge William T. Beeks. At that time, Judge Beeks was Senior Judge. As such, Judge Beeks could pick and choose the cases he wanted to handle. Since Judge Beeks was an admiralty lawyer before going on the bench, Judge Beeks decided he would only handle maritime cases in his court. The experience as a clerk for a maritime judge could not be duplicated any place in the country. Joe was able to see lawyers who specialized in maritime law and see their work in court. Joe assisted the court in salvage, cargo, ship mortgages, marine insurance disputes, longshoremen and harbor workers cases, ship fires, sinkings, collisions, allisions, tugs and barges, ferry workers, all types of commercial fishing boats, and Jones Act Seamen.
After getting the maritime training with this federal maritime judge, Joe went to work at LeGros Buchanan & Paul, a 100-year-old maritime defense firm. There, Joe worked with major maritime insurance companies in the U.S., England, and Japan. Joe represented many of the ocean-going merchant marine vessels coming in and out of ports in Washington and Alaska. Joe also represented many of the major seafood companies working in Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. Joe spent 12 years working with maritime insurance companies and insurance adjusters. He was able to see how they operate and get to know the people who make decisions that affect the maritime workers. Frankly, Joe became increasingly disillusioned about the way insurance companies treated people, so in 1996, he joined Jim Beard and founded Stacey & Beard, a law firm representing injured maritime workers.
Since 1996, the lawyers at Beard Stacey & Jacobsen, LLP, have successfully represented thousands of injured Jones Act seamen and fishermen.