What is a Proctor in Admiralty?

There are very few Proctors in Admiralty actively practicing in the state of Maryland. This status is a good barometer to determine the experience level of an admiralty attorney. Historically after an attorney passed the usual regional bar exam he or she was required to sit for a additional bar exams if they wished to practice in Admiralty or Patent law. Although the requirement of a separate bar exam for Admiralty attorneys no longer exists, the designation is still granted by the Maritime Law Association of the U.S., "to designate the most distinguished class of membership for practicing maritime attorneys." This designation usually occurs after a minimum of 6 years practicing in the federal court system (four of which must be as a member of the association) and only after the recommendation of two existing Proctor's in Admiralty to a peer review committee who evaluates a myriad of factors including the applicants litigation experience, speeches, publications, and contribution to the field of maritime law.

From the Maritime Law Association "about" page:

The designation "Proctor in Admiralty" is of ancient origin and applied to lawyers entitled to handle maritime litigation. The word "Proctor" was derived from the Roman word "Procurator", which was translated into English as "Proctor" when the Admiralty Courts were set up in England in the 13th century with jurisdiction over disputes within the Royal Navy as well as purely commercial maritime matters. The designation was continued in the American colonies and, until recently, in our federal court system. Though no longer in official usage, "Proctor" was deemed appropriate for use in our Association to designate the most distinguished class of membership for practicing maritime attorneys.