Legal Marketplace Analysis: Insurance & Reinsurance 2014

This year we single out 570 practitioners from 282 firms who are considered leaders in this field of law according to peers and corporate counsel. Eight firms particularly stand out in this edition due to the high number of inclusions they achieve, with international heavyweight Hogan Lovells leading the way. Following closely behind is Clyde & Co, which has individuals from its offices across five different continents recognised. Norton Rose Fulbright is also strongly represented, especially by its London and Johannesburg offices. Several firms from the Bermuda market also garner a significant number of listings, including Appleby and Conyers Dill & Pearman.

We also single out the most highly regarded insurance and reinsurance lawyers in the world, with Mary Kay Vyskocil of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett achieving the top spot

Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Lawyer Firm
Mary Kay Vyskocil Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, New York
Jan Woloniecki ASW Law Limited, Hamilton
Jonathan Sacher Berwin Leighton Paisner, London
Nick DiGiovanni Locke Lorde, Chicago
Christian Bouckaert Bouckaert Ormen Passemard Sportes, Paris
David Kendall Edwards Wildman Palmer, London
Peter Chaffetz Chaffetz Lindsey, New York
David Raim Chadbourne & Parke, Washington, DC
Christoph Graber Prager Dreifuss, Zurich
James Grennan A&L Goodbody, Dublin
Michael Mendelowitz Norton Rose Fulbright, London
David Spector Schiff Hardin, Chicago
Dean Carrigan Clyde & Co Australia, Sydney
John Rihiluoma Appleby, Hamilton
Rachel Levitan Levitan Sharon & Co, Tel Aviv



International heavyweight Hogan Lovells boasts the greatest number of listings in this edition, with 22 of its practitioners from its offices around the globe singled out for their expertise. The London office is a “hub of activity”, with five of its lawyers recognised including the “brilliant” Tim Goggin. He is renowned for his “top-notch” regulatory advice, notably on the non-life side, and is “frequently seen” in mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and reorganisations. “Leading” litigator Nick Atkins is a “key player” in the UK insurance and reinsurance legal market. He is especially noted for his involvement in high-profile multi-jurisdictional disputes and is regarded as a “specialist” when it comes to professional indemnity disputes concerning insurance intermediaries. The firm has three New York-based practitioners recognised, with the “simply excellent” Sean Keely garnering particular praise. He focuses on litigation and arbitration, particularly in relation to allocation and aggregation of losses, follow-the-fortunes, material misrepresentation and insurer insolvency. The “extremely sharp” Frank Monaco is a “real specialist” in reserve financing and insurance-linked securities transactions, and representing financial guaranty insurers and mortgage guaranty insurers. Peers describe him as a “client favourite” who boasts a “deep” regulatory knowledge.

In Los Angeles, Dean Hansell boasts a “stellar” litigation practice and is able to draw upon his experience as a state and federal prosecutor when acting for clients in complex proceedings. The “talented” Christoph Louven is one of two individuals singled out from the Dusseldorf office. He leads the firm’s German corporate/M&A group and is renowned for his transactional expertise, especially for the transfer of portfolios. Head of the French dispute resolution practice, Thomas Rouhette also comes highly nominated. He is considered “one of the best in the country” for aviation insurance litigation and peers praise his “formidable presence” in the courtroom. Joaquin Ruiz Echauri leads the firm’s Spanish insurance and reinsurance team and boasts an “enviable client list” that includes Scor, Arag and AXA. The “superb” Beata Balas-Noszczyk is managing partner of the Warsaw office and leads the financial institutions group. She is hailed for her “standout” regulatory advice to insurance companies notably in transactions, takeovers and reorganisations.


Clyde & Co boasts an internationally renowned insurance and reinsurance practice and this is reflected in our research with 19 individuals from the firm’s offices in five different continents recognised. The London office is most represented this year with six listings, including head of the reinsurance group Nigel Brook. He is “very highly regarded” for his adept handling of complex reinsurance disputes and also advises insurers, reinsurers and brokers on the impact of economic sanctions. The “hugely experienced” Andrew Holderness is global head of the firm’s corporate insurance practice and a “big name” in the legal market. He focuses on corporate finance within this sector and clients value his “flexibility, originality and responsiveness”. Dispute resolution expert David Abbott is “very active” in the UK courts and also in international arbitrations. He is “prominent” for his representation of clients in property, energy and industrial risk matters. A trio of individuals from the Sydney office are singled out, including the “fantastic” Dean Carrigan who is one of our most highly regarded practitioners in the world. He has over two decades of experience in insurance and reinsurance law and is a “significant figure” in complex and critical disputes across the Asia-Pacific region. Oscar Shub is also lauded for his “exceptional handling” of disputes involving professional indemnity and directors and officers liability.

The “eminent” Wayne Jones is one of three lawyers recognised from the firm’s Dubai office. He leads the insurance and reinsurance team for the Middle East region and is especially recognised for “first class” regulatory advice when it comes to dealing with local regulators and government bodies. Paul Koepff is one of two individuals singled out at the New York office. He is described as a “dean of the New York bar” and is acclaimed for his extensive experience in insurance coverage and reinsurance disputes. Peers consider him a “formidable opponent” and clients “would not hesitate to recommend him” for high-stakes matters. In Rio de Janeiro, Stirling Leech heads the Latin America team and is “highly sought after” by international companies seeking advice in the Brazilian market.

Norton Rose Fulbright achieves 13 listings in this edition, with its Johannesburg office being especially well represented with four individuals recognised. Head of the dispute resolution and litigation team Donald Dinnie is “renowned” for his skills as a litigator, notably with respect to subrogated defences and recoveries and defence work for insurers and reinsurers regarding policy response, interpretation and wording. The “tremendously good” Michael Hart is especially singled out for his contentious work involving liability, with peers describing him as “being at the top of his game”. The firm’s London practice is especially strong, with Michael Mendelowitz particularly highly nominated. He is internationally recognised as one of the top practitioners in this field and is hailed as a “key player in the UK insurance and reinsurance bar”. He “superbly leads” the firm’s London contentious insurance and reinsurance group and his “very extensive” experience includes international casualty and property catastrophe, maritime, aerospace, professional indemnity and product liability. The “hugely knowledgeable” Robert Merkin is also “greatly respected” in the market and boasts an “unparalleled knowledge” of insurance and reinsurance law according to those who have come across him. At the Paris office Bénédicte Denis provides “top-notch advice” to a host of international and domestic insurance clients and Singapore-based Anna Tipping is “highly sought after” by insurance companies due to the quality of service she provides.

Ten practitioners from DLA Piper’s offices in Australia, Asia, Europe and North America are listed this year, demonstrating the depth and breadth of the firm’s practice in this area. In Chicago, Stephen Schwab is considered to be “exceptional across the board”, with clients praising his ability to provide “top-tier” regulatory, transactional and dispute resolution counsel. At the same office, David Mendelsohn is hailed as a “magnificent” transactional lawyer who is called upon by leading insurers, reinsurers and brokers. Bangkok-based Peter Shelford is managing partner for Thailand and heads the firm’s Asia-Pacific insurance practice. He is the “first port of call” for many international companies operating in the region due to his “clear, concise advice and commercial understanding”. Bruno Giuffré is co-managing partner of DLA Piper Italy and boasts “significant expertise” on both the contentious and non-contentious sides. Peers praise his “technical brilliance” and clients value his “business nous”. The “very attentive and responsive” Bengt Kärde leads the Nordic insurance and reinsurance team and is “frequently seen” on major transactions within the sector.

Edwards Wildman Palmer achieves nine listings, with lawyers from its offices across the US and in London singled out. David Kendall is co-chair of the firm’s international insurance and reinsurance department and is regarded as a “true leader” in this area. He was elected chairman of the British Insurance Law Association in 2012 and is “greatly admired” by his peers for his “phenomenal abilities” in coverage disputes, insolvencies and Bermuda form arbitrations. Francis Mackie also garners significant praise in both the London market and from around the globe for his “extraordinary” abilities an arbitrator. In Hartford, chairman of the firm and co-chair of the global insurance and reinsurance department Alan Levin is “one of the most prominent figures in this field”. He is a “favourite” with overseas insurers needing counsel on their US activities due to his “approachability, responsiveness and unparalleled market knowledge”. At the New York office Nick Pearson is hailed as “a point of reference in the market” and boasts “tremendous experience” in every facet of the industry. He is especially in demand for his international reinsurance fraud investigations counsel. Los Angeles-based Barry Leigh Weissman is the “go-to guy” on the West Coast for complex cross-border transactions and he works with clients across the Americas, Europe and Asia.

Nine practitioners from Sidley Austin come highly nominated. The “greatly respected” William Sneed is described as “one of the best” litigators in the US and he is also well known for his abilities as an arbitrator. Significant cases he has been involved in include Transport Ins v TIG Ins, Century Indem v Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s and Stonewall In v E I duPont de Nemours. Also based in Chicago is co-head of the firm’s global insurance and financial services group Susan Stone. Her “analytical expertise” means she has a “stellar client list” that includes Aon, AIG/Chartis, CNA, Liberty Mutual, SCOR Re, Munich Re and Transatlantic Re. At the London office, Dorothy Cory-Wright is hailed as a “leading light of the insurance and reinsurance litigation bar” and she is “revered” for her role in numerous high-value, international disputes. New York-based Jeff Liebmann is considered “an authority” in this field due to his more than three decades of experience in matters ranging from mergers and acquisitions to insurance insolvency issues. Ellen Pesch boasts “one of the best reputations in the industry” and clients such as SIFMA, JP Morgan and Credit Suisse “would not hesitate to recommend her”.

Reed Smith also has nine individuals recognised, eight of whom are based in the US. In Chicago the “terrific” John Vishneski III is an insurance coverage litigation specialist, with particular expertise in toxic torts liability, mortgage defaults and real property title defects. At the Los Angeles office, David Halbreich stands out for his “exceptionally strong” insurance recovery practice, which includes clients in the automobile, oil and gas, financial services and real estate development industries. New York lawyer Paul Breene is appreciated for his “high-quality” work and efficient approach, while in Singapore Simon Sloane is recognised as “one of the top insurance dispute resolution practitioners in the region”.

Covington & Burling achieves eight listings, with lawyers from its San Francisco and Washington, DC offices selected for inclusion. In DC, William Skinner is considered “one of the premier lawyers of his generation” for insurance coverage issues. His practice ranges from advising policyholders to negotiating, arbitrating and litigating highly complex and technical disputes. The “truly excellent” John Buchanan III served as the firm’s first insurance practice group coordinator and continues to be a “key player” in the team. He currently acts as lead counsel for policy holders in several notable coverage cases, such as NCR Corporation v AIG Centennial Ins and Consolidated Rail v ACE Property & Casualty Ins. William Greaney is a “big name” in disputes arising under first-party property policies, including coverage for physical damage, extra expense, business interruption and contingent business interruption losses resulting from hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, 9/11 and other catastrophes. At the San Francisco office, David Goodwin is vice-chair of the firm’s litigation practice. He is heralded as a “real star in the contentious sector” and is also “very well regarded” for his arbitration abilities.

Other notable firms include Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, home to our top insurance and reinsurance expert, New York-based Mary Kay Vyskocil. She is “undoubtedly one of the best dispute lawyers in the US” for this sector and has represented major domestic and foreign insurers in complex coverage litigations across the country. Her highest-profile cases include Shell Oil v Accident & Casualty Insurance regarding coverage for environmental liabilities at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, and she is currently representing Swiss Re in regards to coverage issues arising from the World Trade Center attack. She is praised by clients for her “creativity, responsiveness and always going the extra mile”. At the same office, Barry Ostrager is also considered a stand-out individual. He is “very active” before the Supreme Court in high-stakes cases such as Epstein v Matsushita and Travelers v Bailey and has a “brilliant way with judges and juries” according to peers.

Locke Lord has the “very highly regarded” Nick DiGiovanni recognised. He leads the firm’s insurance and reinsurance litigation group and has spent over 30 years concentrating on disputes in this field, including those in the life reinsurance, property and casualty reinsurance, and direct insurance markets. Jonathan Bank also garners much praise for his dispute resolution, restructuring and regulatory practice and at the firm’s London office Ian McKenna is singled out for his “profound understanding” of all aspects of insurance and reinsurance law and the “top-notch service” he provides to clients.

At Chaffetz Lindsey, Peter Chaffetz is considered “one of finest lawyers on the East Coast”. He boasts an “enviable track record” of handling important matters in the areas of finite risk, allocation and recoverability of asbestos and environmental claims, and enforceability of cut-through endorsements. His partner Charles Scibetta is also highly regarded for his “stunning” ligation and arbitration skills across a range of industries including environmental, energy and D&O. He is praised for his “client-first attitude” and ability to form “compelling arguments”.

Cahill Gordon & Reindel has two individuals coming highly recommended this year, including the “incredibly smart” Edward Krugman. He is considered to be “absolutely top-tier” due to his “exceptional legal knowledge” and “effective counsel”. The “excellent” Thorn Rosenthal is seen in significant litigations and arbitrations representing many of the largest insurers in the US, Europe and Bermuda.

Magic Circle firm Clifford Chance has six of its practitioners singled out, with several lawyers in its London office coming especially highly nominated. Katherine Coates leads the firm’s financial institutions corporate group and focuses of non-contentious insurance matters. Peers praise her “unparalleled knowledge and understanding of UK and EU regulation” for this sector and she is particularly lauded for her expertise in product developments and distribution arrangements. Insurance reconstruction and insolvency “guru” Philip Hertz and “highly intelligent” regulatory, corporate and commercial insurance lawyer Clare Swirski also receive strong recommendations for their respective practices.

Leading US firm Jenner & Block boasts five inclusions in this edition, with lawyers from its Chicago and Washington, DC offices attainting listings. Of particular note is the “very highly rated” Lorelie Masters. She is much admired by her peers for her “extremely strong” insurance and reinsurance litigation practice, which includes general liability, D&O, fiduciary liability, first-party property and business-interruption. David Greenwald co-chairs the firm’s reinsurance practice and is a “well-known face” in the Illinois legal market for high-stakes litigations. Also in Chicago is the “eminent” John Mathias Jr, who chairs the firm’s insurance recovery and counselling practice. He is sought after in difficult cases due to his “sophisticated strategy, execution and advocacy”.

Other outstanding practitioners include Paris-based Christian Bouckaert, founding partner of Bouckaert Ormen Passemard Sportes. He is one of our most highly nominated individuals in Europe and receives recommendations from peers around the world. He is a “true expertin this field, notably in matters relating to professional or product liability in the areas of aviation, pharmaceuticals, energy, chemicals, construction and environmental pollution.

London lawyer Jonathan Sacher of Berwin Leighton Paisner is a “prominent player” in the market and a “pleasure to come across” according to those who have worked with him. He is head of the firm’s dispute resolution department and has been seen on many of the most significant cases of the past decade, such as those involving the World Trade Center losses.

David Raim is the coordinator of Chadbourne & Parke’s insurance and reinsurance group and is “greatly valued for his sophisticated and pragmatic counsel” in litigations and arbitrations. Over the past three decades he has been involved in hundreds of matters, with his peers lauding his “illustrious track record” and “rich history” in this sector.

Christoph Graber of Prager Dreifuss is a “key name in the Swiss market” due to his “vast experience” of insurance and reinsurance law. He represents clients in both contentious and non-contentious matters and is especially lauded for his expertise in D&O, product liability, aviation and maritime insurance.

At A&L Goodbody, James Grennan heads the firm’s insurance group as well as its corporate department. He provides “high-quality counsel” to life and non-life insurers, reinsurers, captives and intermediaries on all aspects of insurance law and regulation. Fellow practitioners around the globe describe him as “one of the giants his generation” in this sector and consider him a “real joy to work with”.

David Spector of Schiff Hardin is especially renowned for his reinsurance arbitration practice. With over 25 years of experience in the industry he “knows insurance and reinsurance law inside out” and is hailed as being “creative and rational” when it comes to dispute resolution.

Levitan Sharon & Co’s Rachel Levitan has a “fabulous reputation” in both the Israeli and international market. Clients value her previous in-house experience at Migdal Insurance, which means she has a “brilliant commercial understanding”. Head of the litigation department, Peggy Sharon is “the lawyer of choice” for coverage disputes and Dror Zamir brilliantly leads the firm’s “very strong” professional indemnity department.

In the Bermuda market three firms in particular stand out. Appleby has six inclusions in our research, with five of its Hamilton-based practitioners singled out. The “really fantastic” John Riihiluoma is one of the most highly regarded individuals in our research this year and has earned a global reputation as “one of the best” reinsurance litigators in the world. He leads the firm’s commercial litigation team and is also singled out for “outstanding work” involving directors and officers’ liability actions, shareholder and corporate disputes. John Wasty is the team leader of the firm’s insurance and reinsurance dispute resolution group and is lauded for his “technically brilliant” representation of clients in a wide variety of disputes in the London market, the US, Europe and Asia. The “first-rate” Alan Bossin receives “rave reviews” from peers and clients for his M&A, corporate finance and regulatory practice and his counsel on the establishment of all classes of insurance companies is “very sought after”.

Conyers Dill & Pearman also fields five Bermuda-based lawyers, as well as two individuals hailing from the Cayman Islands. Narinder Hargun is co-chair of the firm and leads its Bermuda litigation department. He is considered a “real heavyweight” in the market with over 25 years of experience of litigating at all levels of the Bermuda courts. Director of the corporate department Michael Frith is “extremely practical and business-oriented” and his expertise ranges from new insurance corporations to collateralised reinsurance/retrocession vehicles and Lloyd’s funding vehicles. Director and head of the office’s insolvency and restructuring practice is the “formidable” Robin Mayor who is “very much in demand” by insurance companies in need of counsel in this area.

ASW Law Limited boasts three practitioners in this edition, all of whom are exceptionally highly nominated. Jan Woloniecki is recognised as one of the top lawyers in the world for insurance and reinsurance law due to his “incredibly impressive” contentious practice. He leads the firm’s litigation group and has appeared as counsel before Supreme Court and Court of Appeal for Bermuda in multiple high-profile cases, including Fidelity Advisor Series VIII and others v APP China Group as well as Walsh and Taal v Horizon Bank International. Rod Attride-Stirling is a “practitioner of the highest calibre” whom peers cite as a “must for inclusion” in this list. He is a former president of the Bermuda Bar Association and a member of the Insurance Advisory Committee and the US/Bermuda Tax Convention Advisory Committee. Head of corporate is the “extremely talented” Neil Horner, who boasts experience in both the London and New York markets before being called to the Bermuda Bar in 2004. He is considered an “absolutely first-class transactional lawyer” who is frequently seen on significant deals.

At the UK Bar several individuals stand out, including Richard Jacobs QC who has a global reputation for his advocacy skills. He is lauded for the manner in which he “throws himself into cases with energy and excitement; no challenge is too great”. Ian Hunter QC is the “barrister of choice” for arbitration in the insurance and reinsurance sector and fellow barristers commented on his “piercing intellect” and “well thought out opinions”. Neil Calver QC is considered a “key player” at the UK insurance Bar and instructing solicitors describe him as “very effective” and “user-friendly”. “Premier advocate” John Lockey QC is renowned for leading multinational teams in complex international disputes.

Top silk Mark Howard QC comes very highly nominated in this edition. Those who come across him in court consider him as a “tough opponent” who takes a “forensic approach to cases”. Head of chambers at 7 King’s Bench Walk, Gavin Kealey QC, is “greatly esteemed” for his “adept handling” of complex contentious insurance and reinsurance cases, and instructing solicitors “would not hesitate to recommend him”. Alistair Schaff QC is hailed as a “star of the insurance bar” and boasts broad experience in contentious insurance issues across of range of industries and areas, including professional liability, coverage disputes, pharmaceutical liability and personal injury.

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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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