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About me

JOHNLEE CURTIS is earning an M.B.A from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He also holds a Masters degree in International Trade Law and Economics, magna cum laude, from the World Trade Institute (Switzerland). He was awarded a Ph.D. fellowship from the University of Lucerne (Switzerland), where he taught graduate level law students the regulation of international trade, as a member of the University's faculty of law. Thereafter, through NCCR, the trade-advisory program sponsored by the Swiss government, Mr. Curtis served as an international trade law consultant in Berne, Lucerne, and Geneva in coordination with the International Communications and Art Law Lucerne at the University of Lucerne, the Berkman Center at Harvard University, and other centers of research, on the nexus between the rules governing international trade in cultural commodities and their application to new and emerging communication technologies. Thereafter, Mr. Curtis practiced law for many years at a prestigious Miami-based maritime and aviation law firm, where he founded the firm's art law practice group. Prior to his study and work in Europe, Mr. Curtis received his Juris Doctor degree from Stetson University College of Law, where he received the Book Award from professors Bickel and Lake, and the William F. Blews Pro Bono Service Award. Mr. Curtis earned his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Furman University, while maintaining a full music (violin performance) scholarship.

Mr. Curtis has handled a wide variety of business and asset acquisition deals, as well as disputes in state and federal courts and before international arbitration tribunals. The following are selected matters, both contentious and non-contentious, that Mr. Curtis has handled:

· Advising companies in the aerospace and commercial aviation industry in connection with the acquisition, sale, and leasing of aircraft, aircraft engines, and airframes both domestically and internationally.


· Advising high-net worth individuals in connection with the acquisition, sale, and charter of megayachts and superyachts, including with regard to issues of financing, insurance, registration/documentation/flagging, taxation, SPE structuring, and liability. Some notable vessels represented include: M/Y Lady Moura, M/Y Tatoosh, M/Y Cakewalk, M/Y Kismet, M/Y Mylin IV, and M/Y Never Enough.


· Advising high-net worth individuals in connection with the acquisition, sale, and leasing of private aircraft, including with regard to issues of financing, insurance, registration, taxation, SPE structuring, and liability management.


· Advising high-net worth individuals in connection with the acquisition and sale of art works, including with regard to issues of financing, insurance, gift/bequest, taxation, liability management, SPE structuring and disputes.


· Advising non-profit organizations in connection with issues of fundraisers, advertising, asset acquisition and sale, and taxation.


· Advising import/export companies in connection with regulatory compliance, international trade laws, and customs seizures.


· Advising artists, such as emerging contemporary artist Alvaro Ilizarbe, in various contract negotiations with companies, for their use of art and industrial design on commercial products.


· Advising a bank in connection with certain loans and mortgages for which yachts and aircraft were pledged as security.

· Advising a treasure claimant of the storied “Black Swan” shipwreck achieving a satisfactory settlement.


· Advising art galeries, such as The VanhaerentsCollection, in connection with art sale disputes with artists and art dealers, achieving satisfactory results.


· Litigating a maritime “wake damage” case on behalf of the plaintiff in a Florida federal court, achieving a multi-million dollar judgment.


· Litigating a maritime salvage case on behalf of a salvor in a Florida federal court, achieving a satisfactory settlement.


· Litigating a yacht brokerage dispute on behalf of a large yacht brokerage house, achieving a satisfactory settlement.


· Litigating a yacht refit dispute on behalf of a vendor, achieving a full judgment and recovery of the amount sought.


· Litigating an appellate action for attorney’s fees on behalf of a defendant, successfully reducing the attorney fee award from over $2 Million to under $12,000.


· Arbitrating disputes in connection with new yacht construction projects and breaches of contract in domestic and international arbitration forums.

Mr. Curtis also has foreign language skills in French and German.

He presently serves in-house as Vice President and Corporate Counsel for AeroTurbine, Inc., where he advises on a variety of corporate and commercial law issues.


Languages spoken: French, German, English

Practice areas


  1. Aviation: 50%
  2. Business: 40%
  3. International Law: 5%
  4. Corporate: 5%

Attorney endorsements

6 total 

Are you an attorney? Endorse this lawyer

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    I endorse this lawyer.


    Blair Brogan Admiralty and maritime Attorney
    Relationship: Co-worker

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    I have known Johnlee Curtis for many years and I am happy to endorse him. We have worked together on projects in the past and I can say from personal experience that he is a very hard-working attorney who truly cares about doing a great job for his clients.


    Jessica Ticktin
    Relationship: Worked together on matter

Contact info

AeroTurbine, Inc.

15701 SW 29th St.
Miramar, FL, 33027


DCActive 200807/06/2016
FLMember in Good Standing200706/17/2016
We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
Aviation 100 - Lessor of the Year: ILFCAirline Economics Magazine2013
Florida Legal Elite - Top Up & Coming AttorneysFlorida Trends Magazine2012
Ph.D. FellowshipUniversity of Lucerne2005
William F. Blews Pro Bono Service AwardStetson University College of Law2004
Music Scholarship (4 year)Furman University1998
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
Vice President, Corporate CounselAeroTurbine, Inc.2015 - Present
Senior Associate CounselAeroTurbine, Inc.2013 - 2015
Chairman, Art Law Practice GroupMoore & Company, PA2007 - 2012
AttorneyMoore & Company, P.A.2007 - 2012
Faculty MemberUniversity of Lucerne2005 - 2006
International Trade Law ConsultantNCCR (Swiss Government)2005 - 2006
N/AHolland & Knight, LLP2001 - 2001
Association namePosition nameDuration
LegalArt MiamiAttorney Contributor2011 - Present
The International Seakeepers SocietyAttorney2010 - Present
Marine Banker's AssociationMember2010 - Present
Federal Bar AssociationMember2010 - Present
Coral Gables Bar AssociationMember2009 - Present
Dade County Bar AssociationMember2009 - Present
United States Court of Appeals for the Federal CircuitMember2009 - Present
Propeller ClubMember2009 - Present
United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh CircuitMember2008 - Present
Southeastern Admiralty Law InstituteMember2008 - Present
Maritime Law Association of the United StatesMember2008 - Present
International Superyacht SocietyMember2008 - Present
United States District Court for the Southern District of FloridaMember2008 - Present
American Bar AssociationMember2007 - Present
Moore & Company Art Law DivisionChairman2007 - Present
United States District Court for the Middle District of FloridaMember2007 - Present
American Bar Association, International Law and Practice SectionMember2007 - Present
Florida Yacht Broker's AssociationMember2007 - Present
United States Court of International TradeMember2007 - Present
Customs and International Trade Bar AssociationMember2007 - Present
International Communications and Art Law LucerneAttorney Contributor2006 - Present
Phi Alpha DeltaMember2002 - Present
Florida Bar JournalEditorial Board2012 - 2014
Florida BarAdmiralty Law Committee2012 - 2013
Marquis Who's WhoMember of Who's Who in American Law2009 - 2010
Legal cases
Case nameOutcome
H&R Yacht Service v. M/Y "SERQUE"Recovery of Full Amount Sought
PBYB v. DONNICKPlaintiff won an award at arbitration
Sea Tow Key Biscayne v OSGSettled
See all legal cases 
Publication nameTitleDate
FYBA COMPASSThe Assistance A Maritime Lawyer Provides In Share Transfer Yacht Transactions2012
FYBA Compass MagazineChartering in Italy and France: Query whether VAT can be avoided2010
Wynwood: The Art Magazine - The Law of Art and the Art of Law columnA Glance at the Present State of Art Auction Signs and Symbols2009
Wynwood: The Art Magazine - The Law of Art and the Art of Law columnThe Fairey Use Doctrine: A Present Battle in the Legal Wars Arising from Derivative Art2009
ArtPulse - The Law of Art and the Art of Law columnNo Work of Art is Truely "Un-Titled": The Role of Title Insurance in the Art World2009
Yacht CouncilIYC Defeats Motion for 1.79 Million in Attorney’s Fees2009
South of Fifth MagazineGlobal Citizen: Profile on Attorney Johnlee Curtis2009
FYBA Compass MagazineNew Yacht Ownership Structures in a Changing Ownership Environment2008
International Journal of Cultural PropertyCulture and the Digital Copyright Chimera: Assessing the International Regulatory System of the Music Industry in Relation to Cultural Diversity2006
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
Northwestern University, Kellogg Graduate School of ManagementBusinessMBA2017
Universität Bern - World Trade InstituteInternational Trade & EconomicsMaster of International Trade Law & Economics2005
Stetson University College of LawLawJD - Juris Doctor2004
Furman UniversityPolitical ScienceBA - Bachelor of Arts2001
Speaking engagements
Conference nameTitleDate
SeminArtContracts for Artists2011
Law Clinic for ArtistsArt Law2011
World Trade ForumInternational Trade Law2005