J. Kelly Duncan

J. Kelly Duncan


Jones Walker LLP

Recognized since 2005

New Orleans, Louisiana

Practice Areas

Admiralty and Maritime Law

Gaming Law

Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2021 - Gaming Law Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2019 - Gaming Law Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2017 - Gaming Law Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2015 - Gaming Law Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2011 - Gaming Law
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Kelly Duncan is a partner in the Maritime Practice Group. He serves currently as co-chair of the firm’s Gaming Industry Team and served on Jones Walker’s board of directors from 2006 to 2014. Kelly has 40 years of experience handling admiralty, maritime, and international and customs law matters, including domestic and international matters relating to marine acquisitions, financings, vessel construction, regulatory issues, maritime lien enforcement and foreclosures, contracts of affreightment, terminal tariffs, and charter parties. His international practice encompasses international commercial transactions, customs rulings, protests, reliquidations, seizures, forfeitures, and classification disputes. Since the early 1990s and the passage of legislation in states outside of Nevada and New Jersey authorizing video poker, riverboat gaming, land-based casinos, and racinos, Kelly has been integrally involved in the representation of major commercial and tribal casino companies as well as manufacturers, suppliers, and financial institutions regarding all matters relating to the development, financing, and operation of such facilities. He has extensive experience handling public-private leases, financings (including gaming vessel financings), land use approvals, statutory and regulatory interpretation and compliance, gaming operations, administrative hearings, and litigation. Among Kelly’s clients are many of the largest gaming operators and gaming equipment manufacturers and suppliers in the world. He also advises major investment banking firms and large commercial lenders involved in secured and unsecured lending, and debt offerings and bond offerings in connection with the development of various gaming projects, as well as REITs. Kelly is a past president of the International Masters of Gaming Law and a member of the International Association of Gaming Advisors. He has served as a speaker at international gaming conferences and at maritime seminars around the world, and is one of only six gaming attorneys from the United States listed as a notable practitioner in the 2020 edition of Chambers Global Guide. As a result of his maritime, gaming, and international practices, Kelly has had extensive experience appearing before regulatory bodies and federal courts.

Location

  • 201 Saint Charles Avenue
    New Orleans, LA 70170-5100

Education

  • Georgetown University , AB, graduated 1976
  • Tulane University , J.D., graduated 1979

Bar Admissions

  • Louisiana, Louisiana State Bar Association

Affiliations

  • Chamber of Commerce of New Orleans and the River Region - Past Chairman, Port and Waterways Advisory Committee
  • Committee for a Better New Orleans - Member; Past Participant
  • Georgetown University - Past Member, Board of Governors; Past President, Georgetown University Club of Louisiana; Member, Alumni Admissions Program, Louisiana Admissions Committee
  • Louisiana Children's Museum - Past President, Board of Directors
  • Louisiana Nature and Science Center - Past President, Board of Directors
  • Metropolitan Area Committee - Member; Past Participant
  • New Orleans Museum of Art - Fellow Member
  • New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute - Member of Class of 2005
  • Sawtooth Society - Member, Board of Directors
  • St. Martin's Episcopal School - Member, Treasurer, Board of Trustees; 2018–2019
  • Trinity Episcopal Church - Co-Chair Stewardship Campaign (2019–2020); Past Clerk of the Vestry and Member of Executive Committee
  • Trinity Episcopal School - Past Member of Board of Trustees
  • United Way - Past Professional Group Solicitor
  • World Trade Center - Past Member of Transportation Committee
  • Young Leadership Council - Past Member, Board of Directors
  • American Bar Association, Sections of Admiralty and Maritime Law and Business Law - Member, Gaming Law Committee; Past Co-Chair, Gaming Law Minefield National Institute
  • Audubon Commission - President; Member of Executive Committee
  • Bureau of Governmental Research - Chairman, Endowment Committee; Past Chairman, Board of Directors
  • Federal Bar Association - Member
  • Gaming Law Review and Economics - Member, Editorial Board
  • International Association of Gaming Advisors - Member
  • International Masters of Gaming Law - Past President; Member of the Executive Committee
  • Louisiana State Bar Association, Sections of Admiralty and International Law - Member; Chairman, Cuba Task Force
  • Maritime Law Association of the United States - Member, Committee on Marine Financing
  • New Orleans Bar Association - Past Co-Chair, Maritime and International Law Committee
  • New Orleans Maritime Seminar - Member, Advisory and Planning Committee
  • Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute - Member; Past Speaker at Annual Meeting
  • UNLV Gaming law Journal - Member, Advisory Board

Court Admissions

  • US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • US Court of International Trade
  • US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
  • US District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana
  • US District Court for the Western District of Louisiana

Jones Walker LLP
Headquarters: New Orleans, Louisiana

129 The Best Lawyers in America® awards

29 Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America awards

Full Firm Profile

Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2021 - Gaming Law Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2019 - Gaming Law Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2017 - Gaming Law Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2015 - Gaming Law Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2011 - Gaming Law

Named "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers® for:

  • Gaming Law, New Orleans (2021)
  • Gaming Law, New Orleans (2019)
  • Gaming Law, New Orleans (2017)
  • Gaming Law, New Orleans (2015)
  • Gaming Law, New Orleans (2011)

Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® 2022 for work in:

  • Gaming Law
  • Admiralty and Maritime Law

Special Focus

  • Charter Parties
  • Commercial
  • Contract
  • Ship Financing
  • Terminal Operations

Awards:

  • Named "New Orleans Best Lawyers Gaming Law Lawyer of the Year" 2011
  • Best Lawyers in America in the areas of Admiralty & Maritime Law and Gaming Law (listed annually since 2005)
  • Chambers Global Guide in the area of Gaming & Gambling (annually since 2009)
  • Chambers USA – America’s Leading Lawyers for Business" in the area of Gaming & Licensing (annually since 2005) and Banking & Finance: Marine Finance (listed annually since 2012)
  • Named to New Orleans CityBusiness' Leadership in Law (2005, 2009)
  • Louisiana Super Lawyers in the area of Gaming (listed annually since 2007)
  • AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rating in Martindale-Hubbell

Recent Marine Finance and Gaming Transactions

  • Special maritime counsel in a $405-million sale of all marine assets of a publicly traded utility to a private equity group
  • Special maritime counsel in a $9.5-billion acquisition financing associated with a publicly held entity being taken private
  • Special maritime counsel in a $2.2-billion debt exchange offer
  • Special maritime counsel in a $5-billion debt exchange offer
  • Gaming counsel to a multijurisdictional casino company in connection with its $2-billion-plus Chapter 11 bankruptcy

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