Due to the number of tables in this section, the editorial is in alphabetical order
by firm name.
Insurance - New York
THE FIRM Anderson Kill has a longstanding reputation for successfully representing policyholders in sophisticated coverage matters. The team has a broad range of expertise spanning from toxic torts to professional liability claims. Recent highlights include involvement in multidistrict litigation arising from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and acting for DSW in a dispute with AIG surrounding computer fraud coverage.
Sources say: "They have the significant ability to think about insurance coverage issues, with a deep bench of people who do this day in and day out."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Leading partner Robert Horkovich "has a strong 'client-first' attitude" and is held in high esteem by peers. He represented the State of California in the Stringfellow Acid Pits cleanup matter, a 14-year environmental coverage dispute between the state and its insurance companies.
William Passannante is a "go-to attorney for high-dollar insurance coverage litigation," and "knows the industry inside-out." His caseload encompasses D&O and asbestos liability issues.
Sources describe Finley Harckham as "a tenacious litigator and a real gentleman." He is an expert in business interruption and first-party property coverage disputes.
THE FIRM This firm is acclaimed for its active and preeminent presence in the insurance industry. Its reputation is connected to its involvement in high-end litigation related to both direct insurance and reinsurance. Recent highlights include acting for Chartis in two disputes involving a series of issues, including breach of contract and allegations of fraud. Other prominent insurance company clients include Lexington, National Union Fire Insurance and AIG.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Peers "have great respect" for Edward Krugman, who is "at the top of the game." He is an acknowledged practitioner in reinsurance and general insurance coverage matters.
Thorn Rosenthal is active in big-ticket coverage cases and complex multijurisdictional reinsurance disputes. He attracts praise for his ability to achieve good results, and sources say that he is "a pleasure to deal with."
THE FIRM This firm has an exceptional reputation in the reinsurance space, and is also prominent in the direct insurance field. Its five partners and ten associates earn client praise for their hands-on and open-minded approach to issues. The group recently achieved a settlement on behalf of Lexington Insurance in one of the nation's largest asbestos disputes. Other significant insurance clients include AIG, Chugg, Travelers and Zurich.
Sources say: "One of their strengths is their courage in approaching difficult cases."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Founding partner Peter Chaffetz is a driving force in reinsurance matters. He is "very bright and experienced, and provides very sound practical advice." Sources assert that "he is able to develop theories and arguments in respect of a matter that the majority of people in a room may not even have come close to thinking of."
Associate Karen Baswell has a growing reputation in the market, and is active in general insurance and reinsurance matters.
THE FIRM This firm maintains a healthy presence in New York's insurance transactional and regulatory space. The team recently advised General Motors Asset Management on the restructuring of its pension plans, worth $25 billion in assets. Other major clients include JPMorgan, Citi, Swiss Re and Deutsche Bank.
KEY INDIVIDUALS A popular choice among clients, Paul Meyer "knows a lot of the players, so is not just giving legal advice but also legal advice in a business context." Sources are impressed by his "intelligence, insight and calm demeanor."
THE FIRM Clyde & Co's growing insurance litigation team offers services in both the insurance and reinsurance fields. It has established itself as a solid New York presence, becoming a popular choice for insurance companies looking for skilled and experienced litigators. The attorneys at this firm offer a full range of insurance services, dealing with issues ranging from complex Bermuda Form matters to domestic professional liability.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Sources recognize Michael Knoerzer as an "excellent lawyer" and a highly skilled adviser in the reinsurance space.
Experienced litigator Paul Koepff is applauded for "his intellect and knowledge of the law." He represents insurers in complex appellate matters involving a wide array of coverage cases.
THE FIRM As well as remaining a driving force in the insurance transactional and regulatory space, Debevoise also has a solid presence in dispute resolution on behalf of insurers. Clients praise the high level of service and attention they receive from its attorneys. The team's client list contains major names like AXA, Goldman Sachs, Manulife, Prudential and John Hancock Life Insurance. Recent highlights include counseling Goldman Sachs Reinsurance Group in its acquisition of the Bermuda-based reinsurance operations of Ariel Holdings.
Sources say: "Their work is stellar and their lawyers - from senior ones to associates - are all extremely intelligent, very smart tactically and excellent analytically."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Peers and clients alike enjoy working with Nicholas Potter, who is said to be "a good lawyer and a nice guy." His work concentrates on life insurance and related M&A. He led the aforementioned Goldman Sachs transaction.
Corporate partner Thomas Kelly assists insurers in capital markets and M&A transactions. He is described by one source as "a strong, thoughtful and well-rounded insurance-focused transactional lawyer."
Edwin Schallert is known as a go-to lawyer for complex life insurance issues. He has recently represented Prudential and Manulife in multiple matters arising out of the aftermath of the global financial crisis.
Experienced litigator Robert Goodman recently acted for Travelers on the asbestos-related bankruptcy of Pittsburgh Corning. He has also dealt with mortgage insurance policy and captive insurance matters for JPMorgan Chase.
Wolcott Dunham is considered "the dean of the New York insurance Bar." He remains one of the most influential names in the insurance M&A world.
THE FIRM Commentators praise this firm for its strength in the insurance dispute resolution space. It is particularly known for serving the insurance sector, with a focus on representing primarily life insurers and property and casualty carriers. Significant clients include Genworth Mortgage Insurance and Transamerica Life Insurance Company.
Sources say: "Strong litigators and good, results-oriented strategists."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients laud Reid Ashinoff as an "experienced, knowledgeable and pragmatic" lawyer. Over the past year, he has been active in matters involving securities fraud, class actions and misappropriation of trade secrets.
Michael Barr cochairs the firm's global insurance team and is experienced in litigating cases pertaining to the financial crisis and environmental tort issues. He recently acted for Royal Indemnity against Commercial Money Center in relation to a fraudulent inducement of surety bonds.
THE FIRM This team is experienced in a wide range of insurance coverage areas on behalf of policyholders, including political risk and cyber security risk. The group is noted for its expertise in matters pertaining to the entertainment and sports industries. Recent highlights include securing more than $1.8 billion in settlements on behalf of IMO Industries in a lawsuit against Transamerica, its former parent company, and over 50 carriers.
Sources say: "They are very knowledgeable in the insurance coverage area - their litigation skills are superior."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Jared Zola is recognized by clients as a "very accomplished" attorney committed to representing corporate policyholders. His clients include IMO Industries, 3G Capital and Gruppo, Levey & Co.
THE FIRM This firm houses a go-to regulatory team and a solid dispute resolution group. It is active in sophisticated transactional arrangements, including insurance-linked securities and the formation of captives. Recent highlights include assisting SCOR UK with underwriting guidelines, and providing regulatory analysis on behalf of Aspen Specialty Insurance Company.
Sources say: "They give us pragmatic advice, telling us how we can do what we need to do instead of just telling us what we need to do."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Nick Pearson is endorsed by commentators as "a fine lawyer" who is "very strong on the regulatory side." He played a central role in the formation of Thomson Reuters's captive insurance company, the first captive in the State of Connecticut.
THE FIRM Litigation firm Grais & Ellsworth is recognized in the insurance space for its focus on structured finance matters. The group represents investors across the whole range of structured finance securities, ranging from mortgage-backed to trust-preferred ones.
KEY INDIVIDUALS David Grais is held in high esteem by peers, who identify him as a "very fine lawyer." He focuses on hotly disputed MBS matters.
Formerly at Dewey & LeBoeuf, Kathryn Ellsworth is singled out by commentators as a "very talented" attorney.
THE FIRM This well-established global firm has a strong focus on reinsurance, with particular expertise in the London market. Key clients include Argonaut Insurance, AXA, Berkshire Hathaway Group and Transport Insurance Company, all of which it has represented in high-profile disputes. The team recently represented Argonaut Insurance in an action against the Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania seeking to recover under a facultative reinsurance contract.
Sources say: "They have a really smart way of doing business that makes the client feel it is more of a partnership. That is why I keep on going back to them."
KEY INDIVIDUALS New entry Francis Monaco recently joined Hogan Lovells from Dewey & LeBoeuf. He is highly recommended by clients, who find him to be "very knowledgeable, diligent and very respectful." He is known in the market for life reinsurance financing work as part of a broad insurance practice.
THE FIRM Policyholder litigation remains a key part of this firm's strong national practice. The group is able to handle the full range of disputes, but is especially known in the market for its expertise in D&O-related matters. The team has recently been involved in finalizing a large settlement on behalf of Energy Solutions with its D&O insurers, in connection with a securities class action and derivative lawsuits.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Edward Joyce is held in high esteem by peers, who view him as a key player on the policyholder insurance side. He recently represented Michaels Stores in liability coverage disputes relating to PIN pad hacking.
THE FIRM This impressive firm continues to develop its name in the insurance policyholder arena and has come to be recognized by commentators as a major player. While the team has suffered following the tragic loss of leading partner Randy Paar, it has maintained its solid reputation in the market. In a recent highlight, it represented Visa in a dispute surrounding professional liability coverage. Other key clients include Syracuse University, Philips Electronics North America and RealPage.
Sources say: "They are clearly experts in their field – they know the players and the law. They are very dedicated to the work and are very responsive to client demands."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Robin Cohen attracts praise from peers and clients alike, with sources stating that she has the ability to "adopt a broad and high-level perspective to really take things in," allowing her to devise strategies tailored to the situations in hand. She led the team representing Visa in connection with professional liability coverage issues.
Rising star Keith McKenna earns plaudits from market commentators for being "great at court depositions and at putting the arguments together in a compelling fashion."
THE FIRM This firm continues to stand out for its local, national and global insurance work. The New York team has a healthy reputation in insurance-linked securities, and covers all insurance transactional aspects relevant to the corporate world, from M&A to tax matters. It has recently dealt with two high-profile catastrophe bond transactions for Embarcadero Re and Everglades Re, in relation to earthquake and hurricane damage, respectively.
Sources say: "They understand the business framework very well. This makes them quite a unique player."
KEY INDIVIDUALS David Alberts is credited with knowing how to navigate his clients through corporate transactional and regulatory insurance processes, and is "very much at home in this complex area."
THE FIRM This corporate policyholder insurance group continues to handle a number of toxic tort and property damage coverage matters. The New York office is known for its attorneys' expertise in representing clients from a variety of industries, including financial institutions, large multinationals, manufacturers and retailers. It recently acted for Goulds Pumps on seeking more than $700 million in coverage for asbestos-related product liability losses.
KEY INDIVIDUALS David Luttinger is recognized for his expertise in environmental and asbestos insurance coverage disputes. He recently represented ITT Corporation in a major asbestos coverage trial.
THE FIRM This insurer team is noted by commentators as a longstanding player in the New York market thanks to its experience and broad range of insurance coverage services. Clients are quick to highlight its deep subject matter expertise and attentiveness to their business needs.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Stuart Cotton has a broad practice, covering matters ranging from property damage to business interruption claims.
Lawrence Greengrass is a respected insurance and reinsurance litigator, concentrating on financial insurance issues. He also has vast experience in handling reinsurance arbitrations.
Philip Silverberg is well regarded as an expert in insurance and reinsurance matters. He has recently been very active in the captive insurance space.
Deeply experienced practitioner David Silva is held in high regard by market sources for his expertise in complex reinsurance arbitrations.
THE FIRM Sources identify this established policyholder group as a strong player in the most sophisticated and high-end coverage litigation across a range of industries. This was recently displayed by its representation of Union Carbide in $2 billion coverage litigation in New York against more than 30 insurance companies for asbestos-related claims. Clients particularly praise the firm for its deep technical expertise and commercial approach.
Sources say: "They are knowledgeable, efficient and pragmatic."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Peers recognize John Gross as a leading practitioner with deep expertise in acting for policyholders in the financial services industry.
"Fine lawyer" Seth Schafler is an expert in coverage litigation, particularly professional liability and fiduciary liability matters.
THE FIRM This 14-partner team is a new addition to the insurance rankings this year. Sources praise its advocacy skills and recognize the group's solid presence in MBS matters. The team acts on behalf of Chartis, Allstate and Berkshire Hathaway, among other prominent clients.
Sources say: "A firm of exceptional talent – they understand the issues very well, they write well and they argue well."
KEY INDIVIDUALS "Superb insurance attorney" Jane Byrne is a favorite among clients, who highlight that she "understands the technical inner workings of insurance and reinsurance."
Michael Carlinsky is held in high esteem by peers, who consider him to be "one of the top trial lawyers in the country." He recently acted for AIG and its subsidiaries in a large putative class action.
THE FIRM Clients praise this practice for its expertise in policyholder issues, and for the trial ability of its lead insurance partners. The group concentrates on commercial insurance coverage issues, particularly D&O and E&O liability claims. Recent highlights include representing Forest Labs in a D&O coverage claim that settled for $65 million. The team also acted for 1765 First Associates in a matter involving the collapse of a tower crane in Midtown Manhattan.
Sources say: "They are well recognized in their field of expertise, and put out a very good product."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Paul Evan Breene is highly regarded in the market for his knowledge of all aspects of policyholder insurance recovery. He recently settled a property insurance dispute connected to the collapse of a building for A&C Investment Group.
Experienced partner Ann Kramer is active in the D&O, product liability and toxic tort insurance areas. She has particular expertise in working with clients within the pharmaceutical industry.
THE FIRM This established firm has a standout reputation for insurance transactional and regulatory work. The team has an active practice in M&A, life insurance, insurance-linked securities, private equity funds and annuities. Recent highlights include assisting Apollo Unit on a $1.8 billion deal to acquire the US operations of major British insurer Aviva. Other key industry clients include MetLife and Swiss Re.
Sources say: "The key factors that we enjoy in dealing with them are their authority and their judgment. Their judgment is excellent because of their very deep experience."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Jeff Liebmann is an expert in life insurance transactions, and is considered by peers to be one of the strongest insurance insolvency practitioners in town. He recently represented Goldman Sachs Group in connection with a longevity reinsurance transaction to provide coverage for pension liability of Prudential Financial's subsidiaries.
Jonathan Freedman concentrates on insurance insolvency, regulatory and life insurance work. He is held in fine regard by market commentators.
Michael Madigan's experience in insurance-linked securities "makes him the authority on structuring issues." He has particularly strong expertise in catastrophe bonds.
THE FIRM Clients are effusive in their praise for this New York stalwart, thanks to its deep expertise in the insurance and reinsurance sphere. The firm has a stellar reputation for contentious work, and regularly acts for major players including Travelers, Swiss Re and Berkshire Hathaway. The team's success in the past year is exemplified by a summary judgment victory for Travelers in an asbestos case with an award of more than $420 million. The transactional and regulatory group is dedicated to M&A transactions, regularly representing issuers and their underwriters.
Sources say: "Their willingness to actually litigate as opposed to just file papers makes them stand above the others."
KEY INDIVIDUALS "Household name" Barry Ostrager continues to be known as one of the strongest practitioners in the sector. He recently acted for the Fidelity title insurance companies in a series of antitrust class actions.
"Outstanding lawyer" Mary Kay Vyskocil earns widespread praise from market commentators. She is active in reinsurance litigation and arbitrations, both in the USA and abroad.
Client favorite Andrew Amer is praised for being "hands-on, accessible and experienced; he is a talented trial and arbitration attorney, with excellent writing skills." He handles insurance disputes as part of a broad commercial litigation practice.
Transactional partner Gary Horowitz recently led the firm's representation of CNO Financial Group in its $1 billion recapitalization. He also regularly acts for major financial institutions such as Barclays Capital, Wells Fargo Securities and Goldman Sachs.
THE FIRM This group has a healthy reputation in insurance transactional and regulatory work, and attracts particular praise for its experience in handling M&A deals. Skadden's client portfolio includes General Reinsurance, HealthSpring and Manulife Financial. The team's expertise in sophisticated deals is exemplified by its representation of Amerigroup in connection with its $4.9 billion acquisition by WellPoint. The insurance practice also offers strength in coverage disputes on behalf of the industry.
Sources say: "Their client communication was exemplary, and their preparedness and counsel clearly made a difference in the transaction outcome for the better."
KEY INDIVIDUALS According to sources, transactional leader Robert Sullivan "is knowledgeable, practical and unflappable in difficult situations. He never loses focus of the business objective and works creatively to get both sides where they want to go." He has recently worked on a number of high-value deals for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance, Jackson National Life Insurance and SCOR SE.
Litigator Timothy Reynolds is noted by peers for his "good strategic sense." He recently acted for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, concluding nine years of litigation to secure insurance recovery for property damage and lost revenues connected to 9/11.
THE FIRM This practice stands out in the New York insurance market on both the dispute resolution and the transactional and regulatory fronts. The full-service nature of the firm means clients benefit from expertise in matters ranging from high-exposure reinsurance disputes to complex corporate transactions. The team recently represented Arch Insurance in a dispute against a number of entities relating to allegations of unauthorized workers' compensation. Other noteworthy clients include Goldman Sachs, Crédit Agricole, Liberty Mutual Insurance and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Sources say: "They really understand insurance and reinsurance, and are creative and very diligent in what they do."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Litigator Michele Jacobson is highly rated by peers, who identify her as a target for referrals. She has a solid reputation for her work in reinsurance disputes.
Experienced and respected insurance litigator Robert Lewin has recently been involved in representing the Insurance Corporation of New York in litigation to recover losses due under a reinsurance treaty.
Clients are "extremely satisfied" with Bernhardt Nadell's representation. According to commentators, he is a "good deal-maker who is very savvy and able to negotiate complex insurance transactions."
Experienced partner William Latza has a wide practice focusing on corporate insurance transactions. He has advised large insurance businesses on devising restructuring plans of late.
Senior practitioner and "great guy" Donald Gabay is deeply respected by peers as a longstanding authority in insurance transactional and regulatory work.
THE FIRM Sullivan & Cromwell earns strong market endorsement in the dispute resolution and transactional and regulatory arenas. It is heavily involved in bankruptcy-related coverage issues, and also handles asbestos and environmental disputes. On the transactional side, the group assists clients in secured major M&A transactions, with highlights including acting for Swiss Re on the proposed $900 million sale of a portion of its Admin Re division to Jackson National.
Sources say: "Very high-caliber people - intelligent and hard-working, commercially and legally shrewd."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Market commentators consider the "bright and commercial" Andrew Rowen to be an influential practitioner in the insurance transactional space. Sources also highlight his deep securities expertise.
Clients praise Stephen Kotran for his insurance M&A work. He is admired by commentators for being "strong, brilliant and hard-working."
Litigator Mark Rosenberg has recently acted on a number of asbestos and environmental liability claims, including work on behalf of JPMorgan Chase relating to environmental liability arising from its acquisition of Wachovia.
THE FIRM This firm's transactional practice has shot to prominence following its recent intake of a series of leading practitioners from Dewey & LeBoeuf. The team has deep experience in a range of high-value deals, and recent highlights include representing Aviva in a $400 million hybrid securities offering. On the dispute side, the firm regularly represents insurance brokers and intermediaries. It recently acted for Marsh & McLennan on a $50 million fiduciary duty claim.
Sources say: "They combine in-depth knowledge of the industry with top-notch transactional skills and experience, sensitivity to cost and an emphasis on delivering excellent client service."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "very talented" Alexander Dye is a prominent figure in the insurance transactional space. He recently acted for Tower Group on its approximately $75 million investment in Canopius Group and its merger with one of its subsidiaries.
Clients describe John Schwolsky as a "strong transactional lawyer focused on the insurance industry, who is very responsive and client centered." He focuses on sophisticated insurance M&A and capital markets work transactions.
Michael Groll recently closed a public offering of $160 million of preference shares on behalf of Aspen Insurance Holdings. He is lauded by clients for being deeply committed to their needs.
Donald Henderson has a healthy reputation in insurance transactions. He recently played a key role for Assurant on the formation of its catastrophe bond shelf program.
Vladimir Nicenko's practice focuses on capital markets. With a steadily growing reputation, he is considered "brilliant and hard-working" among clients. Peers also praise his impressive handling of complicated transactions.
Regulatory attorney Leah Campbell is well respected among peers. She is considered a leader in her area of practice and a key member of the firm's insurance team.
Mitchell Auslander leads the insurance dispute resolution group and is applauded for his strength as a litigator. He regularly handles big-ticket matters for Marsh & McLennan, and recently represented Cameron International in a dispute connected to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
THE FIRM This firm stands out for its high-end and sophisticated commercial insurance and reinsurance work, and is frequently active on complicated arbitration proceedings. It also has recognized expertise in the London market. Clients include Chartis, Hanover Insurance and Zurich.
Sources say: "Their strongest point is undoubtedly their attention to detail, especially on arbitration matters. They had specific challenges to overcome in understanding the peculiarities of the London insurance market and I was very impressed with how quickly they grasped the issues."
KEY INDIVIDUALS William Maher heads the firm's insurance and reinsurance group. One client was "very impressed with his presentations, his manner and the way in which he can present clients' issues and challenge opposing counsel."
Harry Cohen of Crowell & Moring LLP has longstanding experience in representing insurance and reinsurance companies. He has played a key role in major arbitrations and prominent commercial disputes.
The highly rated Aidan McCormack of DLA Piper LLP (US) acts on issues ranging from fraud to D&O liability. He is admired by sources for being "gifted with a capacity to offer simple and straightforward solutions to apparently unsolvable problems, which makes him invaluable when handling complex cases."
DLA Piper LLP's global head of insurance and reinsurance Michael Murphy has recently represented Brazil's largest reinsurer, IRB Brazil Re, in a series of international reinsurance arbitrations. Clients praise his "very rare ability to effectively communicate complicated facts and arguments."
Esteemed practitioner Thomas Newman of Duane Morris LLP is an experienced attorney who practices in insurance and reinsurance law, in particular appearing in appellate matters. He is also known in the market for his work as an arbitrator.
Sources describe acclaimed attorney Lois Herzeca of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP as "intelligent, articulate, knowledgeable, thorough and timely." She has recently been involved in major transactional work on behalf of property and casualty reinsurer Transatlantic Holdings.
Steven Schwartz of Locke Lord LLP is a recognized name in the reinsurance field, and is praised as a "very competent and very solid lawyer."
The "very highly regarded" Kevin Walsh, also of Locke Lord LLP, has a strong presence in the insurance and reinsurance space. Sources admire his "enormous amount of experience domestically," and recognize "his excellent reputation in the market." He recently assisted Hannover Re in a multimillion-dollar reinsurance dispute.
Marc Abrams recently joined Nelson Levine de Luca & Horst from Wollmuth Maher & Deutsch LLP. Clients have nothing but praise for Abrams, whose "attention to detail is second to none – he is a pleasure to work with."
Tancred Schiavoni of O'Melveny & Myers LLP has a reputation for "being creative" and "tireless in his efforts." He is an experienced insurance litigator with core expertise in bankruptcy and environmental cases.
John Nonna of Patton Boggs LLP was formerly at Dewey & LeBoeuf and is an active player in the reinsurance space. Sources describe him as a "first-class lawyer" who "has very strong connections and is able to convey complicated ideas."
Larry Schiffer, also of Patton Boggs LLP, is acknowledged as an "excellent" reinsurance attorney. He recently acted for General Re Life in an ERISA benefit plan action for long-term disability benefits.
James Dwyer, also of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, concentrates his practice on M&A transactions. He regularly handles high-value deals on behalf of major insurance industry players.
Cynthia Shoss of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP is praised by commentators for her leading regulatory expertise. She is heavily involved in major insurance industry demutualizations and mergers.
Clients praise insurance litigator James Sottile of Zuckerman Spaeder LLP as an "outstanding" and "very practical" attorney, who "focuses on the right issues."