Areas of Practice
  • Tulane University Law School, J.D., 1979
  • Georgetown University, A.B., 1976, cum laude
Bar Admissions
  • Louisiana, 1979
Court Admissions
  • 5th Cir.
  • 11th Cir.
  • E.D. La.
  • M.D. La.
  • W.D. La.
  • Ct. Intl. Trade
J. Duncan
201 St. Charles Ave
New Orleans, LA 70170-5100
504.582.8218 tel
504.589.8218 fax
504.452.6438 cell

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Kelly Duncan is a partner in the firm's Admiralty & Maritime Practice Group and a past member of the firm's Board of Directors (2006-2014). He is Co-Chair of the firm’s Gaming Industry Team.

Mr. Duncan has more than 35 years of experience handling admiralty, maritime, and international and customs law matters. His maritime practice includes both 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. Mr. Duncan has served as a speaker at maritime seminars throughout the country. His international practice includes, among other things, international commercial transactions, customs rulings, protests, reliquidations, seizures, forfeitures, and classification disputes.

Mr. Duncan is a Past President of the International Masters of Gaming Law and is a member of the International Association of Gaming Advisors. He was one of only nine gaming attorneys from the United States listed in the 2017edition of Chambers Global Guide as a notable practitioner in the area of Gaming & Gambling. Mr. Duncan was also recognized in the 2009-2015 editions of the publication.

Since the passage of legislation in states outside of Nevada and New Jersey starting in the early 1990s authorizing video poker, riverboat gaming, land based casinos, and racinos, Mr. Duncan has been integrally involved in the representation of major casino companies – both commercial and tribal, manufacturers, suppliers, and financial institutions regarding all matters relating to the development, financing, and operation of such facilities. His extensive experience in such matters includes public private leases, financings, land use approvals, statutory and regulatory interpretation and compliance, gaming operations, administrative hearings, and litigation. He regularly serves as a speaker at international gaming conferences. Mr. Duncan's clients include many of the largest gaming operators and gaming equipment manufacturers and suppliers in the world, as well as 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 a result of his maritime, gaming, and international practices, Mr. Duncan has extensive experience appearing before regulatory bodies and state and federal courts.


  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® 2019 (Copyright 2018 by Woodward/White, Inc., Aiken, SC) in the areas of Admiralty and Maritime Law and Gaming Law (listed annually since 2005) 
  • Named Best Lawyers® 2011, 2015, 2017, and 2019 Gaming Law "Lawyer of the Year" in New Orleans
  • Listed in The International Who’s Who of Sports & Entertainment Lawyers 2017 (listed annually since 2014)
  • Recognized in Chambers Global Guide in the area of Gaming & Gambling (annually since 2009)
  • Recognized in "Chambers USA – America’s Leading Lawyers for Business" in the area of Gaming & Licensing (listed annually since 2005; Nationwide recognition since 2015) and Banking & Finance: Marine Finance (listed annually since 2012)
  • Recommended by Legal 500 US in the areas of Transport: Shipping - Finance, Transport: Shipping - Litigation, and Transport: Shipping - Regulation (listed annually since 2017)
  • Recipient of New Orleans CityBusiness' Leadership in Law Award (2005, 2009, 2016)
  • Inducted to New Orleans CityBusiness Leadership in Law Hall of Fame (2016)
  • Listed in the 2018 edition of Louisiana Super Lawyers in the area of Gaming and Transportation/Maritime (listed annually since 2007)
  • Recognized as a Top Lawyer by New Orleans Magazine annually since 2004
  • AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rating in Martindale-Hubbell

Representative Matters

  • Representation of a federally recognized Indian Tribe in acquisition of integrated casino resorts in the United States and Caribbean Islands.
  • Representation of operator and processor with worldwide fishing operations in connection with Title XI and other financings and refinancings of fishing vessels secured by domestic and non-domestic ship mortgages.
  • Special maritime counsel in connection with multi-billion dollar credit facility and modifications thereto secured by U.S. ship mortgages.
  • Representation of money-center bank in connection with loan restructuring involving fleet of offshore supply vessels secured by U.S. fleet ship mortgages.
  • Representation of casino owner and operator in connection with a $85 Million credit facility secured by U.S. ship mortgages.
  • Representation of money center bank in connection with $575 Million credit facility secured by  U.S. ship mortgages.
  • Licensure of domestic and foreign gaming manufacturers and suppliers.
  • Representation of major entertainment companies relative to gaming licensure and compliance matters in multiple states.
  • Representation of regional casino in connection with multi-million dollar debt financings associated with emergence from bankruptcy.
  • Representation of major private equity company seeking to acquire major international lottery company.
  • Representation of national casino company  in successfully obtaining important workforce concessions.
  • Representation of international gaming manufacturers in connection with gaming issues arising out of mergers.
  • Representation of various lenders in connection with a $700 million casino project.
  • Representation of casino owner in connection with a $600 million casino project.
  • Representation of international casino company in connection with a billion dollar casino project.
  • 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








  • American Association of Exporters and Importers (Member) 
  • American Bar Association (Member, Sections of Admiralty and Maritime Law and Business Law, Marine Financing and Gaming Law Committees) 
  • American Bar Association Gaming Law Minefield National Institute (Past Co-Chair)   
  • Association of Average Adjusters of the United States (Member)
  • Audubon Boulevard Association 
    • Past President 
    • Member, Board of Directors
  • Audubon Commission 
    • President
    • Member of Executive Committee
    • Past First Vice-President
  • Audubon Fund Committee
    • Past Chairman
  • Audubon Nature Institute 
    • Past Chairman
    • Past First Vice-Chairman
    • Past Second Vice-Chairman
    • Past Treasurer and Chairman of Finance Committee
    • Past Parliamentarian
    • Honorary Co-Chair, 2015 Zoo-to-Do
  • Audubon Nature Institute Foundation 
    • Past Member, Board of Directors 
  • Bureau of Governmental Research 
    • Past Chairman, Board of Directors
    • Past Member of Executive Committee
    • Past Chairman of Nominating Committee
    • Past Member of Strategic Planning/Communication Committee
    • Past Vice-Chairman
    • Past Treasurer and Chairman of Finance Committee
    • Past Chairman of Development Committee 
  • Chamber of Commerce of New Orleans and the River Region 
    • Past Chairman, Port and Waterways Advisory Committee 
  • Committee for a Better New Orleans 
    • Past Participant in the  MAC Leadership Forum
    • Member
  • Federal Bar Association (Member) 
  • Gaming Law Review (Editorial Board) 
  • Georgetown University Alumni Admissions Program 
    • Member, Louisiana Admissions Committee 
  • Georgetown University Board of Governors 
    • Past Member 
  • Georgetown University Club of Louisiana 
    • Past President 
  • International Association of Gaming Advisors (Member) 
  • International Masters of Gaming Law
    • Past President
    • Past Vice-President
    • Past Treasurer
  • John Charles Olmsted Society for Audubon Park 
    • Founding Member
  • Louisiana Children's Museum 
    • Past President
    • Past Member of Executive Committee
    • Past Vice-President
    • Past  Treasurer and Chairman of Finance Committee
    • Past Chairman of Development Committee
    • Past Chairman of Nominating Committee
    • Past Member of Long Range Planning Committee
  • Louisiana Nature and Science Center (National Center for Wetlands Education and Society for Environmental Education)
    • Past President
    • Past Member of Executive Committee
    • Past Vice-President
    • Past Member of Finance Committee
    • Past Member of Long Range Planning Committee
  • Louisiana State Bar Association (Member, Sections on Admiralty and International Law) 
  • Louisiana State Bar Association (Chairman, Cuba Task Force) 
  • Maritime Law Association of the United States (Member, Sections of Marine Financing and Carriage of Goods; Past Speaker at the Annual Meeting) 
  • Metropolitan Area Committee (Member; Past Participant, MAC Leadership Forum, 1982) 
  • New Orleans Bar Association (Past Co-Chairman, Maritime and International Law Committee) 
  • New Orleans Maritime Seminar (Advisory and Planning Committee) 
  • New Orleans Museum of Art (Fellow Member; Odyssey Ball Co-Chair, 2017)
  • New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute 
    • Member of Class of 2005 
  • Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute (Member; Past Speaker at Annual Meeting)
  • St. Martin's Episcopal School (Member, Board of Trustees) 
  • Trinity Episcopal Church 
    • Clerk of the Vestry
    • Member of Executive Committee
    • Delegate to the 2015 Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana Convention
    • Past Member of Endowment Committee
  • Trinity Episcopal School 
    • Past Member of Board of Trustees
    • Past Chairman of Development Committee
    • Past Member of Finance Committee
  • Tulane Latin American Law Institute (Advisory Committee) 
  • UNLV Gaming Law Journal (Advisory Board) 
  • United Way 
    • Past Professional Group Solicitor 
  • World Trade Center 
    • Past Member of Transportation Committee 
  • Young Leadership Council 
    • Past Member, Board of Directors