Most Highly Regarded Firms: Insurance and Reinsurance 2013

In this section we analyse the findings of our research in greater depth to identify the firms and practitioners who stand out worldwide. Clyde & Co is the leading firm in our research with an impressive 17 listings across seven offices. It has been a triumphant year for the firm, which has gone from strength to strength after its 2011 merger with Barlow Lyde & Gilbert. International “heavyweight” Hogan Lovells narrowly misses out on the top spot with 16 “outstanding” lawyers listed. The firm has a particularly solid base in Europe, with 11 lawyers featured from seven countries. DLA Piper demonstrates its huge international footprint with 11 lawyers featured from eight offices spanning five continents. Norton Rose also has a strong presence in our publication with nine lawyers listed. It is best represented by its practice in South Africa where we feature three leading practitioners.

Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Jan W Woloniecki Attride-Stirling & Woloniecki, Bermuda
Mary Kay Vyskocil Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, New York
David Kendall Edwards Wildman Palmer UK LLP, London
Michael Mendelowitz Norton Rose LLP, London
James Grennan A&L Goodbody, Dublin
Colin Edelman QC Devereux Chambers, London
Peter R Chaffetz Chaffetz Lindsey LLP, New York
Oscar Shub Clyde & Co Australia, Sydney
John Edmond Clyde & Co Australia, Sydney
Katherine Coates Clifford Chance LLP, London

Clyde & Co LLP is the leading firm in our research with an impressive 17 listings across seven offices. It has been a triumphant year for the firm, which has gone from strength to strength after its 2011 merger with Barlow Lyde & Gilbert and now boasts over 1,400 lawyers across 30 offices worldwide. Clyde & Co garners an additional three listings this year, all of which come from its Australian offices which opened in October 2012.

The firm is most strongly represented in the UK where we feature six lawyers from its offices in London and Guildford. Michael Payton, senior partner at the firm, is a “leading practitioner” in the area and “extremely well known and respected”. Global head of the firm’s corporate insurance group, Andrew Holderness, is a “sharp transactional lawyer” who advises Lloyds and the insurance companies market. Nigel Brook heads the reinsurance team and is a “smart and effective advocate” who specialises in international reinsurance disputes. David Abbott and Rod Smith are also “stars” of the London office. Abbott is an “established frontrunner” in the field who specialises in dispute resolution related to traditional and emerging risks while Smith is a tax adviser who is “held in high esteem” by many of our respondents. In Guildford, Paul Bugden provides “sophisticated advice” on a wide range of matters including issues arising in respect of businesses in run-off. Elsewhere in Europe, Gildas Rostain, managing partner of the Paris office, is an “excellent professional” with expertise in industrial risk-related disputes for the maritime, shipbuilding and rail transportation industries.

Michael Knoerzer and Paul Koepff are highly rated lawyers based in the firm’s New York office. Knoerzer has been litigating insurance and reinsurance matters for more than 20 years and is “definitely one to have on your side during a complex dispute”, while Koepff is a “vastly experienced arbitrator and trial lawyer” who has served as counsel for coverage and reinsurance disputes. In San Francisco, Joan D’Ambrosio is praised by clients for her “innovative problem-solving” and “client-orientated approach”. She has a broad practice but specialises in representing professional liability and employment practices liability insurers and reinsurers. In September 2011, Clyde & Co merged with Canadian firm Nicholl Paskell-Mede, giving the firm an enviable presence in Canada. John Nicholl and Mary Margaret Fox represent the firm’s Toronto office. Nicholl, founding partner of Nicholl Paskell-Mede (which merged with Clydes in 2011), has “superb knowledge” and is “foremost in Canada” for many of our respondents. Fox is senior counsel to the firm and is a “terrific” practitioner who is “exceptionally well known” for her complex international work.

Clyde & Co has a strong practice in the UAE and we list two lawyers from its Dubai office. Wayne Jones is head of the firm’s insurance and reinsurance practice in the area and has experience working across the Middle East. He is “the one to call” in the region. Christopher Mills is a “talented adviser” whose broad practice covers both claims and disputes from a wide variety of sectors. He has been based in Dubai for 13 years and has “in-depth local knowledge”.

The firm has an exceptional insurance practice in Sydney, which boasts three inclusions in our publication, including two of our most highly recommended practitioners. Oscar Shub is a “distinguished and pre-eminent lawyer” whose “excellent reputation” is well known all over the world. John Edmond is a “responsive and strategic professional” and head of Clyde & Co’s Australian offices. He has a broad coverage and defence practice and specialises in advising on cyber risks, claims and Privacy Act breaches. Dean Carrigan is a “trusted adviser” for many high-profile clients and focuses his “excellent” practice on strategic projects and major disputes in the Asia-Pacific region.

Hogan Lovells narrowly misses out on the top spot with 16 “outstanding” lawyers listed. The firm has a particularly solid base in Europe, with 11 lawyers featured from seven countries. It is best represented by the London office, which earns four inclusions. Charles Rix heads the financial institutions group’s transactional team and is “superb at providing detailed, technical advice”. Tim Goggin is a favourite among our respondents for his “tailored and client-orientated advice” which covers M&A, reorganisations, joint ventures and authorisations. Nick Atkins uses his “incisive mind” to counsel clients in regard to a wide range of insurance and reinsurance matters. He has particular expertise in professional indemnity disputes concerning insurance intermediaries. Victor Fornasier is a “leading expert” in UK insurance regulation and non-traditional insurance and reinsurance structures.

Outside of the UK, Hogan Lovells has an enviable Paris team which is home to Sébastien Gros and Thomas Rouhette. Gros is “very reliable” and has impressed clients with his “dedication” and ability to “respond at short notice when required”. He is a transactional lawyer who has advised leading banking and insurance groups. Rouhette leads the French dispute resolution practice at the firm. He is a “superb and tactical advocate” who has “good judgement even when under pressure”. Christoph Küppers, in Düsseldorf, is the regional managing partner of continental Europe and has a “strong financial mind”. He advises clients on tax and accountancy matters and has “substantial expertise” in restructuring German and European insurance groups. In Budapest, Christopher Noblet is a “first rate” transactional lawyer while the “dynamic” Beata Balas-Noszczyk, based in Warsaw, is recommended for her “well-known and successful practice”. She is managing partner of the office as well as head of the financial institutions group. Paolo Ricci is “number one in Italy” for many of our respondents while Joaquin Ruiz Echauri, head of the firm’s Spanish insurance and reinsurance team, provides “succinct and up to date advice” on regulatory and disputes advice to clients working in the insurance industry.

There are five “gold standard” lawyers listed from the US offices of Hogan Lovells. Pieter Van Tol and Sean Keely make up the firm’s “top-notch” insurance practice in New York. Van Tol is a “renowned” lawyer who harbours over 15 years of experience in property and casualty and life reinsurance while Keely is a “very capable” professional who has represented multinational clients before US state and federal courts as well as in arbitrations. David Hensler is another “distinguished” practitioner at the firm. Based in Washington DC, his practice focuses on litigation for complex coverage disputes. In Philadelphia, David Newmann is a “well-known name” who fields an “impressive” contentious insurance coverage practice while Dean Hansell, based in Los Angeles, has a “solid analytical mind” and is an “established litigator and arbitrator”.

DLA Piper demonstrates is huge international footprint with eleven lawyers featured from eight offices spanning five continents. The firm is represented in Europe by Gunne Bähr in Germany and Bengt Kärde in Sweden. Bähr is head of the German insurance and reinsurance group and provides “sophisticated and pragmatic counsel” on a range of regulatory and disputes matters while Kärde, who heads the Swedish group, is “a very experienced lawyer in the field” who “renders excellence advice on a range of contentious and non contentious issues”. The firm also has a strong practice in Italy with the “talented” Francesco Cerasi and Bruno Giuffré. Michael Gill, based in Sydney, has over 40 years of experience in the field and is one of the “deans of the Australian bar”. He is joined by Kieran O’Brien, whose “exemplary” liability claims practice has won him much acclaim. He focuses on a wide range of matters including public and manufacturers’ liability and transport accident claims. As well as acting as managing partner of the firm’s Thai office, Peter Shelford has a “fantastic reputation” as a “top-quality arbitrator” with particular expertise in the insurance and reinsurance industry. The “brilliant” Will Harrison has an “enviable” speciality insurance practice which focuses on directors and officers liability and product liability insurance. Emil Brincker is head of the firm’s South African tax practice and is a “technically brilliant” practitioner. In the US, Stephen Schwab has a broad insurance practice and is “the one to call for defence work” for many of our respondents. Also in Chicago is David Mendelsohn who is a “highly skilled” transactional and regulatory lawyer.

Norton Rose also has a strong presence in our publication with nine lawyers listed. It is best represented by its practice in South Africa where we feature three leading practitioners. Donald Dinnie is head of the firm’s litigation and dispute resolution practice in the country. He has a “global reputation for excellence”. He is joined in Johannesburg by Michael Hart and Patrick Bracher. Hart is a “tough litigator” who specialises in professional liability and directors and officers liability insurance. Bracher has a great deal of experience and industry knowledge, he is the “go-to lawyer” for many of our respondents. Norton Rose also boasts outstanding lawyers in the UK, France, Italy, Indonesia, Australia and Canada. Michael Mendelowitz in London is one of our most highly recommended practitioners. He has “unsurpassed technical expertise” and “is always able to offer opinion on coverage issues, particularly regarding complex claims”. Also in the London office is James Bateson who is “exceptionally skilled in corporate work”. In France, Bénédicte Denis is a “leading specialist” while Nicolò Juvara heads the firm’s Italian corporate team. Tricia Hobson in Sydney is a “favourite” for many of our respondents and has acted for many high profile international financial institutions before the Supreme and Federal Court. The final inclusion from the firm is Calgary-based Alan Rudakoff QC. He has acted as counsel before a range of courts in the region, including the Canadian Supreme Court, and is also praised for his mediation work. Rudakoff is a “sharp negotiator” with “superb judgement”.

We feature eight “brilliant” lawyers from Clifford Chance, five of whom are based in the firm’s London office. Clare Swirski is both “pragmatic” and “efficient”. Her practice concentrates on M&A and other non-contentious insurance matters. Hilary Evenett and Katherine Coates are also listed for their work in this area. Evenett is “very sharp” and “always provides client orientated advice” while Coates is “a leading talent” who is held in very high regard by our respondents. She is one of our most highly recommended practitioners. In Germany, Daniela Weber-Rey is an “eminent” transactional lawyer who “provides a quality service”. Nicholas Munday, based in Moscow, has a broad practice and specialises in dispute resolution, reinsurance and Lloyd’s regulatory issues. He is the former head of the firm’s UK litigation and dispute resolution practice and the group leader of its insurance litigation practice. Outside of Europe, Paul Meyer is a “highly regarded and well-known” transactional lawyer who also “excels” in insurance company investment and regulatory matters.

Conyers Dill & Pearman also boasts eight successful lawyers in this publication. The firm is best represented by its Bermuda office. Narinder Hargun is co-chair of the firm and also heads its litigation practice. He is highly recommended by our respondents and has specialised in insurance and reinsurance related disputes for the last 15 years. David Doyle has an “exceptional” insurance practice which specialises in segregated accounts insurance companies. James Macdonald is a “well known name” in this field. He has acted as counsel for leading insurance mutual and P&I clubs. Robin Mayor is head of the Bermudan insolvency and restructuring group and has an “excellent reputation”. Kevin Butler and Nigel Meeson QC are featured from the Cayman Island office of Conyers Dill. Butler heads the office and is a “diligent and proactive professional” while the “very capable” Meeson leads the litigation and restructuring practice.

Another successful firm in this area is Covington & Burling LLP which has eight lawyers featured from its offices in Washington DC, and San Francisco. Mitchell Dolin in Washington, DC, is chair of the firm’s insurance recovery practice and an “extraordinary lawyer” who is “smart, experienced and pleasant to work with”. He is joined by Marialuisa Gallozzi, William Skinner and John Buchanan III. Gallozzi’s expertise in insurance coverage is “unmatched”. She has over 25 years of experience in the area and has negotiated over 100 settlements involving a wide variety of claims. Skinner has a broad practice in which he has helped policyholders claim more than $3.5 billion in coverage. His “creative problem-solving” and “analytical expertise” has given him an enviable client list which includes Fortune 100 and 500 policyholders. The “top-notch” Buchanan is a “superb strategist” who has received high praise from our respondents. Based in San Francisco, David Goodwin is a “superb coverage lawyer” who has over 25 years representing high-profile policyholders in coverage disputes. He is joined by Donald Brown who is “extremely experienced” and has worked on landmark insurance coverage cases.

We feature eight lawyers from US firm Jenner & Block LLP. In Chicago, David Greenwald and John H Mathias Jr are highly recommended by our respondents. Greenwald, co-chair of the firm’s reinsurance practice is a “powerful advocate” who “excels at dealing with complex disputes”. Mathias is a “very sharp and experienced professional” who chairs the firm’s insurance litigation and counselling practice. In Los Angeles, Jerold Oshinsky is a “senior statesman of the field” and has “good, strategic judgement”. He litigates high-profile, complex insurance disputes for a variety of industries. He is joined in California by Linda Kornfeld, an insurance coverage litigator who is “knowledgeable, hard-working and smart”. Jenner also has a strong presence in Washington, DC, where Lorelie Masters is particularly commended. She is a “leading light” and an “authority on insurance coverage matters”. Matthew Jacobs is a “smart” and “effective” lawyer who deals with complex, multi-party coverage disputes in both state and federal courts.

Reed Smith LLP fields eight professionals from six different offices. The “eminent” John Shugrue is a “master” of insurance recovery and is experienced in working with US, UK and Bermuda market insurers for high-profile clients such as Nicor Gas, Anadarko Petroleum and Kraft Foods. New York-based Ann Kramer is an “active professional” who “is an excellent advocate for the insured’s rights against insurance companies”. John Ellison of Philadelphia is “highly respected” and represents policyholders from a wide variety of companies ranging from small organisations to Fortune 50 companies. In Pittsburgh, James Restivo has an “excellent reputation” for coverage disputes and was one of the principal negotiators and founders of the Asbestos Claims Facility while David Halbreich, in Los Angeles, is a “rising star” in the area. In October 2012, Reed Smith opened its Singapore office, increasing its presence in Asia. Simon Sloane has been based in the region for over six years and is a “gifted practitioner” who specialises in international arbitration and dispute resolution for reinsurance matters.

Sidley Austin LLP matches these firms with eight “terrific” listings. The firm is best represented by its Chicago office where five lawyers are selected for inclusion. William M Sneed is “the best insurance attorney in Chicago” for many of our respondents and his “exemplary” practice focuses on substantial domestic and international reinsurance disputes for ceding companies, reinsurers, and receivers. Michael P Goldman serves as co-chair of the firm’s global insurance and financial services group. He has over 25 years of experience working with clients such as American International Group and Kemper Corporation. He is joined in Illinois by Susan Stone and Kenneth R Wylie. Stone is co-head of the firm’s global insurance and financial services group and is “very well respected” for her “practical, commercial and sensible advice”. Wylie is senior counsel to the firm and is “exceptionally knowledgeable” in regulatory insurance matters. In New York, Jeff S Liebmann has over 30 years of experience in the area and is “a renowned advisor in insurance and reinsurance matters”. Outside the US, Dorothy Cory-Wright is “a leading disputes lawyer” who has practiced litigation and arbitration for over 25 years and heads the dispute resolution practice in London.

As in previous years, our most highly recommended lawyers tend to hail from New York and London. Mary Kay Vyskocil of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP in New York is a former Who’s Who Legal insurance lawyer of the year and remains one of the most highly nominated professionals in our research. She is “one of the top insurance lawyers in the world” for many of our respondents. Vyskocil is joined by three “outstanding” Simpson Thacher lawyers, including “dean of the practice” Barry Ostrager.

Another highly recommended New York lawyer is Peter Chaffetz of Chaffetz Lindsey LLP. Chaffetz is a “terrific” disputes lawyer who has over 30 years of experience practising in both New York and California. He is a “well-known face in both litigation and arbitration” and has a “reputation of excellence”. The firm also boasts Charles Scibetta who is a “very professional and personable” disputes lawyer.

David Kendall, co-chair of the international insurance and reinsurance department at Edwards Wildman Palmer UK LLP, is “one of the best insurance lawyers in London” and has a “brilliant reputation for quality work for high-profile clients”. Edwards Wildman Palmer garners a further five inclusions in this publication from its offices in Hong Kong, Connecticut and New York.

Colin Edelman QC of Devereux Chambers is the most highly recommended barrister in our research. He is “the one to call” for high value, complex, commercial disputes. He has recently been appointed chairman of the board of directors of Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund Ltd as of 1 April 2013.

Based in Ireland, James Grennan at A&L Goodbody is an “extremely good” and “flexible” lawyer who is “very knowledgeable about insurance matters”. He advises a wide range of clients on all aspects of insurance law and regulation. Grennan is also joined by Eithne FitzGerald who is a “highly skilled practitioner”.

In Bermuda, Jan Woloniecki of Attride-Stirling & Woloniecki is “extremely smart” and “one of the driving forces in insurance”. He is head of the firm’s litigation group and has acted before Supreme Court of Bermuda and Court of Appeal for Bermuda as well as numerous international arbitrations. Woloniecki is an “outstanding practitioner” and receives high praise from our respondents all over the world.

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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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