Most Highly Regarded Firms: Insurance & Reinsurance 2012

In this section we analyse the findings of our research in greater depth to identify the firms and practitioners who stand out worldwide.

Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Mary Kay Vyskocil Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, New York
John Nonna Patton Boggs LLP, New York
Michael Mendelowitz Norton Rose, London
Jan Woloniecki Attride-Stirling & Woloniecki, Hamilton
Peter Rogan Ince & Co, London
Barry Ostrager Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, New York
David Kendall Edwards Wildman Palmer, London
Christian Bouckaert Bouckaert Ormer Passemard Sportes, Paris
Nigel Brook Clyde & Co LLP, London
Peter Chaffetz Chaffetz Lindsey LLP, New York

Once again Clyde & Co has the largest representation in the publication - increasing its listings by four to 14 entries in this edition. The London office fields five lawyers including the firm’s senior partner, Michael Payton. Payton is a “prominent figure” in the field, known for his representation of underwriters and insurers across the globe in high-profile issues. Head of the firm’s reinsurance team Nigel Brook is a “highly talented” practitioner handling disputes for companies and syndicates in the London market and internationally. In addition to his contentious work he also advises on policy wordings and economic sanctions on insurers, reinsurers and brokers. The “greatly respected” Stephen Lewis has extensive experience in insurance and reinsurance litigation and arbitration, while Rod Smith specialises in marine and other types of insurance and related reinsurance disputes; his work is described as “first rate”. Completing the London contingent is Andrew Holderness, global head of corporate insurance at the firm. Holderness focuses on corporate finance in the insurance sector and is “vastly experienced” in flotations, M&A, joint ventures, private equity transactions and reorganisations.

Also based in England, Paul Bugden is located in the Guildford office and specialises in representing clients in arbitrations and litigations and also has a “successful mediation practice”.

Two lawyers are based in the New York office including Paul Koepff, a “superb” lawyer with over 30 years’ experience handling coverage and reinsurance disputes. Alongside him, Michael Knoerzer is considered a “leading litigator” and has first-chaired many arbitration cases related to the credit crunch, including a recent case concerning the insurance of sub-prime mortgages.

In San Francisco, Peter Whalen is “highly revered” and has extensive jury trial, appellate and alternative dispute resolution experience. At the same office, Joan D’Ambrosio practises in the professional liability field and her “very active” practice involves handling coverage evaluations and disputes as well as helping to develop innovative insurance programmes and risk management solutions for insurers, brokers and other intermediaries and professionals.

In Canada, Mary Margaret Fox represents the Toronto office and is “a star” according to our research. John Nicholl is based in Montréal and has a “high profile” in the insurance bar. Nicholl focuses on liability defence, coverage advice and litigation on behalf of his insurer clients in all Canadian jurisdictions.

Following the merger with Barlow Lyde & Gilbert on 1 November 2011, the firm now includes David Smyth in its listings. Smyth is a “talented” dispute resolution lawyer based in Hong Kong and specialises in professional indemnity claims.

In Dubai, head of the region’s insurance and reinsurance team Wayne Jones is deemed a “definite inclusion” – he represents local and foreign insurance interests in a broad range of matters.

This edition sees Hogan Lovells dramatically increase its presence throughout the publication to 13, adding five lawyers to its contingent from last year. Five of the lawyers are based in the London office. Peter Taylor is a “highly experienced” litigator and transactional lawyer; his practice covers reinsurance, alternative risk transfer, coverage issues and exit solutions. Christian Wells is a “well-known name” in the field and his broad practice encompasses drafting of policies and treaties, the resolution of disputes, advising on transactions and aiding insurance brokers and insurers in the development of cutting-edge products. Newly appointed head of the firm’s corporate and regulatory insurance practice, Tim Goggin advises on mergers and acquisitions, reorganisations, joint ventures and authorisations and is an “astute technician”. Nick Atkins is best known for his experience representing clients in relation to professional indemnity disputes concerning insurance intermediaries and Victor Fornasier provides regulatory advice to insurers, reinsurers and intermediaries and corporate and retail clients and is a “go-to lawyer”.

The Paris office has two listings, Thomas Rouhette and Bénédicte Denis. Rouhette heads the French dispute resolution practice and is highly nominated in the research for his expertise in insurance and reinsurance disputes, while Denis provides corporate and regulatory advice to insurance industry clients and is said to be “brilliant”.

Three further European offices are represented in the research. In Madrid, head of the Spanish insurance and reinsurance team Joaquin Ruiz Echauri stands out for his “impressive” work in the corporate and regulatory field as well as being commended for his contentious advice. Based in Rome, the “highly capable” Paolo Ricci heads the Italian corporate insurance team and his clients include Italian, EU and US insurance and reinsurance companies. Beata Balas-Noszczyk is located in the Warsaw office where she is managing partner and head of the financial institutions group. Balas-Noszczyk is a “true expert” in the transactional field and advises both Polish and foreign companies on their cross-border activity.

Three lawyers hail from the US offices. Sean Keely is based in New York and focuses on litigation and arbitration and “excels” in handling disputes in the insurance and reinsurance industry. In Philadelphia, David Newmann is a “first-class litigator” with extensive experience in insurance coverage disputes covering D&O claims and professional liability. Based in Washington, DC, David Hensler is “widely recognised” for his handling of complex insurance coverage disputes.

Eight lawyers from Sidley Austin LLP appear in the publication. The Chicago office emerges as the most represented with five of its lawyers featuring in the publication. Co-chair of the firm’s insurance and financial service group Michael P Goldman is a “leading light” and advises insurance companies and entities on corporate transactions as well as providing regulatory advice on insurance holding company systems and investment practices. Susan Stone is co-chair alongside Goldman and is a “fantastic” litigator known for her representation of clients in federal and state courts. Kenneth R Wylie is “renowned” around the world for his regulatory know-how and William M Sneed has a broad contentious insurance practice and represents property and casualty and life and health companies in litigation and arbitration. Michael J Pinsel is head of the firm’s property and casualty alternative risk transfer practice, and clients deemed him "very professional, experienced and efficient". In New York, Jeff S Liebmann has over 30 years’ experience practising exclusively in the insurance corporate, restructuring and insolvency areas and his work is described as “first class”. In London, head of the office’s insurance and reinsurance litigation practice Dorothy Cory-Wright represents clients in litigation, arbitration and dispute resolution and is “highly responsive” to clients. The “unrivalled” Nigel Montgomery specialises in insurance transactions and in particular schemes of arrangement and business transfers, run-off reorganisation and risk transfers for both UK and international insurance and reinsurance companies.

Conyers Dill & Pearman has a significant presence in this edition with seven lawyers selected for entry, five of whom are based in Bermuda. Head of the office’s litigation department Narinder Hargun specialises in insurance and reinsurance disputes and is “internationally renowned”. Robin Mayor is a “favourite with clients” and advises solvent and insolvent insurance companies. Chris Garrod is “very active” in the market, advising clients on regulatory matters. David Doyle provides clients with corporate and commercial advice with a specific focus on the area of segregated accounts insurance companies, and the “talented” Michael Frith advises on insurance and reinsurance regulatory and transactional matters including the private placement equity financing of insurance companies. In the Cayman Islands, Nigel Meeson QC heads the office’s litigation and restructuring practice and is a “notable figure” while Kevin Butler specialises in corporate law as it related to insurance and reinsurance companies.

Covington & Burling LLP continue to perform well in our research with seven lawyers listed in the following pages. In Washington, DC, William Greaney is “highly experienced” in insurance coverage disputes including those arising under first-party property policies, business interruption and contingent business interruption losses as well as environmental and D&O claims. Mitchell Dolin chairs the firm’s global insurance recovery practice and is a “highly notable figure” in the industry. Dolin focuses on litigation, arbitration and mediation of complex insurance coverage cases. The “tremendous” John Buchanan III represents clients in a wide range of insurance coverage disputes including environmental liability, IP and competition-related claims, D&O and E&O and satellite in-orbit claims. William Skinner is a “first-rate” litigator and his clients include Fortune 100 policyholders. In San Francisco, David Goodwin is a “well-respected” lawyer with more than 25 years’ experience representing corporate policyholders in coverage disputes. Donald Brown is a “leading trial lawyer” and represented ExxonMobil in its lawsuit against more than 100 insurers over more than $2 billion of coverage for environmental cleanup liabilities associated with some 5,000 sites. Lawrence Hobel has represented policyholders in litigation and negotiations on a broad range of insurance claims in the environmental sector.

Jenner & Block LLP has seven lawyers listed across its offices in Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, DC. In Chicago, John Mathias Jr is a “worthy inclusion” and chair of the firm’s insurance litigation and counselling practice. His practice encompasses insurance disputes related to contracts, coverage and reinsurance arbitrations. David Greenwald is a “very articulate” lawyer and co-chairs the firm’s reinsurance practice. His counsel is sought in relation to disputes relating to insurance and reinsurance coverage. Co-chair of the firm’s international arbitration practice Lawrence Schaner is “top notch”. In Washington, DC, Lorelie Masters and Matthew Jacobs are both “highly recommended”. Masters is a “highly knowledgeable” litigator advising in relation to general liability, directors and officers, fiduciary liability, business-interruption among other financial lines. Jacobs is “terrific” at handling multiparty insurance coverage matters. Based in Los Angeles, Jerold Oshinsky is a “well-known name” and Mary Craig Calkins is a “highly sought-after” litigator as well as counsel for senior executives and company on management on maximising their insurance protection and recovery.

Clifford Chance retains a “highly respected” insurance and reinsurance team and six lawyers feature in the following pages. The London office is a “hub of talent” and fields four of the selected lawyers. Terry O’Neill is a “very able practitioner” with a thorough knowledge of the Lloyd’s market and financial reinsurance. The “distinguished” Katherine Coates heads the financial institutions and her expertise covers insurance start-ups, M&A, reorganisations, demutualisation, capital raising and Lloyd’s, to name a few. Philip Hertz is “among the best” for insurance reconstruction and insolvency work and David Steinberg is “very well known”. In Frankfurt, Daniela Weber-Rey provides advice to German and international insurance companies advising on corporate law, capital markets and acquisitions and her expertise is “highly valued” by clients. Based in Moscow, Nicholas Munday heads the office’s litigation and arbitration group specialising in political risk and Lloyd’s matters.

Six lawyers feature from DLA Piper LLP representing five jurisdictions. Two lawyers are located in the Chicago office. Stephen Schwab focuses his insurance and reinsurance practice on regulation, transactions, contentious matters and receiverships and is known for his “high-profile” work in the field. The “brilliant” David Mendelsohn specialises in transactional and regulatory work and chairs the Chicago corporate and finance practice. In Sydney, Michael Gill has a “long-standing reputation” in the field and his practice spans over 40 years in which time he has represented clients from Asia, Europe, the US, Australia and New Zealand. In Cologne, head of the German insurance and reinsurance group Gunne Bähr specialises in corporate and regulatory field and is a “highly respected” lawyer. Justyn Jagger is “top notch” and based in the firm’s Singapore office where he conducts arbitrations across Asia. Representing the Stockholm office the “intelligible and astute” Bengt Kärde leads the insurance and reinsurance practice group and advises on transactions as well as contentious matters.

The insurance and reinsurance team at Norton Rose is held in “high esteem” and with six entries in this publication demonstrates its leading capabilities in the field. Among those listed is head of the contentious insurance and reinsurance practice Michael Mendelowitz, a consistent feature of our most highly regarded list and a “leading notary” in the field. Mendelowitz is “highly prized” by clients for his “unparalleled” expertise in the field. Also based in London, James Bateson is head of the financial institutions practice and praised for his corporate, regulatory and transactional know-how. In South Africa, two names feature prominently – Michael Hart and Donald Dinnie. Hart is head of litigation and dispute resolution in South Africa and has over 40 years’ experience advising in the insurance field. Dinnie is “great to work with” and advises short-term insurers in South Africa as well as Lloyds and its syndicates in contentious and regulatory matters. In Sydney, Tricia Hobson advises on directors’ and officers’ and professional indemnity claims for both local and London insurers. The “top-notch” Alan Rudakoff in Calgary is vastly experienced in ADR and has a “successful practice” acting as a mediator in insurance claims.

Other notable entries include two “leading lights” at the New York office of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, Barry Ostrager and Mary Kay Vyskocil. Ostrager has a “wealth of expertise” in litigating insurance matters and his representative work includes acting as lead trial counsel for Swiss Re in the insurance coverage dispute involving the World Trade Center tragedy. Vyskocil is “highly regarded” for her representation of insurers in coverage litigation.

John Nonna at Patton Boggs LLP in New York is one of the most highly regarded individuals in the research overall. Nonna’s extensive experience in litigating and arbitrating insurance and resinsurance disputes earns him a “well deserved” place in the listings.

In New York, Peter Chaffetz of Chaffetz Lindsey is a “true leader in the field” with more than 20 years’ experience in the insurance and reinsurance industry. Chaffetz specialises in litigation and arbitration and he has handled asbestos and environmental claims as well as cases against insurance liquidators.

In London, Peter Rogan at Ince & Co is “internationally renowned” for his practice encompassing reinsurance, marine, professional indemnity and political risks. Co-chair of the international insurance and reinsurance department David Kendall at Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP focuses on insurance coverage disputes, reinsurance disputes, run-off and insolvency, arbitration and litigation with a particular speciality for Bermuda form arbitrations in London.

In Bermuda, Jan Woloniecki at Attride-Stirling & Woloniecki retains a “high profile” around the globe and is well known for his litigation and arbitration practice.

Paris-based Christian Bouckaert at law firm Bouckaert Ormer Passemard Sportes concentrates on international commercial litigation, arbitration and mediation and is “among the leading names worldwide” in this sector.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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