Insurance: Dispute Resolution: Insurer: Nationwide
THE FIRM Domestic and international insurance coverage disputes form the basis of this standout New York practice. The group is also highly versed in the full range of reinsurance issues, including liability, property, marine and aviation insurance litigation. Various major insurers and reinsurers form the team's client base, which notably includes AXA and Swiss Re. The team has achieved a string of impressive results, including obtaining a summary judgment victory on behalf of a group of insurance companies in a complex reinsurance dispute.
Client Service "Loyal partners and counselors in all of our endeavors."
Commercial Awareness "A group of excellent tacticians and litigators with broad industry connections."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Head of litigation Barry Ostrager is based in New York but also plays a prominent role in overseeing the firm's insurance practice in Los Angeles. "He is at the top of the scale in terms of creative insurance defense litigation," according to sources, who are quick to single him out as one of the leading insurance and reinsurance practitioners in the country. He is joined by another national leader in colleague and "wonderful lawyer" Mary Kay Vyskocil. She has represented major domestic and foreign insurers in complex coverage litigation, and also handles reinsurance litigations and arbitrations in the USA, the UK and Bermuda.
THE FIRM This sizable practice covers all aspects of insurance law, including the full range of coverage disputes. The team has experience of working on behalf of excess carriers, reinsurers and brokers, and of representing insurers. Many peers view the firm as a major national presence in the insurance market, with high quality across its New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago offices.
Sources say: "A talented group with an excellent breadth of practice."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "distinguished and creative" Paul Glad cochairs the firm's appellate practice group from San Francisco, and handles insurance disputes involving coverage issues, bad faith claims and class actions on behalf of various major insurers. International insurance litigation and coverage practice group cochair Ronald Kent also resides on the West Coast, and heads the litigation practice group in the firm’s Los Angeles office. He regularly serves as trial counsel in insurance disputes in state and federal courts throughout California and other states. New York litigation practice chair Reid Ashinoff focuses on complex commercial disputes and litigation matters. In this capacity he has represented numerous major national insurance companies, including AEGON, MetLife and Genworth. He is known by clients as a "knowledgeable, thorough and tenacious litigator." He is joined in New York by Michael Barr, who deals with complex commercial cases and class actions involving financial and insurance products.
THE FIRM This practice has a strong national presence due to its prominent place in the New York market, backed up by a healthy West Coast practice in California. High-stakes insurance disputes including Madoff Ponzi scheme-related claims and Lehman bankruptcy issues form the basis of the practice, which is widely known for being equipped to deal with the most complex of contentious insurance matters. This is exemplified by the team's representation of Ambac in a $68 billion insurance rehabilitation proceeding.
Commercial Awareness "The technical aspect of the team's work is its strongest. The lawyers have a level of knowledge that means there is no learning curve."
KEY INDIVIDUALS James FitzPatrick is a key contact in New York.
THE FIRM A dominant footprint on the West Coast affords this well-regarded firm a healthy national presence in the full range of insurer-side coverage disputes. The sizable team represents insurers and reinsurers on a domestic and international level in matters involving property, casualty, life, disability, health and professional liability. The practice is also deeply respected for the work it carries out in relation to the London market.
Sources say: "A strong group of lawyers who are excellent representatives of the industry."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Philip Matthews is highly regarded and "functions equally well in the context of complex litigation and in the corridors of the courthouse," according to clients. Peers are also quick to point out his impressive litigation acumen, particularly with regard to complex asbestos disputes. He is joined in San Francisco by Andrew Gordon, who specializes in complex insurance coverage matters with experience in several Western states. His practice also covers commercial litigation and environmental matters. Fellow California resident Richard Seabolt coheads the firm's commercial, securities and antitrust trial practice group. His broad practice incorporates complex insurance disputes alongside contentious matters involving construction and technology. Senior New York of counsel Thomas Newman dedicates his insurance and reinsurance practice to claims handling, contract drafting and dispute resolution. He also has an active appellate practice.
THE FIRM A strong insurance focus on both coasts ensures this firm has the capacity to handle complex and high-value coverage litigation in a wide array of areas. For example, the New York and Los Angeles offices combined effectively to represent ACE in the complete reversal of a $51 million judgment after almost a decade of coverage litigation against Hewlett-Packard. Other key clients include Zurich, XL and United Health.
Sources say: "A West Coast firm with a very good practice on the East Coast as well. It is a strong group that can do high-end coverage work."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Los Angeles partner Richard Goetz chairs the firm's class actions, mass torts and insurance litigation practice. Interviewees rate him as a "top-drawer insurance lawyer."
THE FIRM A national presence has become international at this DC-based firm. The introduction of a new Beijing office enables the group to advise US insurers and reinsurers looking to enter the Asian market. More than 80 dedicated insurance lawyers make up the practice, which focuses on complex litigation. Recent activity has included pharmaceutical product liability disputes and environmental coverage cases across the country.
Sources say: "A very strong firm with excellent partners in the insurance coverage and asbestos field."
KEY INDIVIDUALS James Rocap "commands an enormous amount of respect without being heavyhanded," according to commentators. He has a wealth of experience in complex coverage disputes, particularly with regard to environmental contamination. "Outstanding lawyer" Roger Warin handles major coverage disputes across a range of insurance and reinsurance issues. In addition to litigation, he also has a strong alternative dispute resolution practice.
THE FIRM This New York firm's insurance practice spreads across the country and is active in complex disputes on behalf of major insurers and reinsurers. Recently, it has worked on behalf of AIG/Chartis on the direct side, and represented Global Reinsurance in its antitrust suit against Equitas.
Commercial Awareness "You would hesitate to go anywhere else for an ongoing, substantial case. The lawyers have great experience and knowledge, and the advice is clear and unequivocal."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Edward Krugman is described by one interviewee as "one of the smartest insurance lawyers I have ever met." He represents reinsurers in arbitrations and litigation involving allocation of environmental and other claims, and also has a strong direct insurance practice. Thorn Rosenthal maintains a high level of praise from clients, who respect his practical and analytical approach. He has represented insurers and reinsurers in London and Bermuda as well as domestically in complex disputes, transactions and regulatory matters.
THE FIRM More than 100 attorneys give this national firm a level of depth that is rarely matched when it comes to contentious insurance matters. The team also has a strong breadth of expertise, thanks to a two-pronged practice split between the D&O and professional liability group and the insurance and reinsurance group. On the D&O side the firm has advised insurers on numerous major events, including the Lehman bankruptcy, AIG, Madoff and the Gulf oil spill.
Client Service "The service is extraordinary: prompt, concise and extremely efficient."
KEY INDIVIDUALS DC partner Gary Dixon is described as "an expert who is always available and can find solutions to negotiate the best settlement." He is seen as one of the foremost D&O and professional liability lawyers in the country, and has been involved in various significant mediations on behalf of various major insurance companies.
THE FIRM This long-established insurance practice joins the national rankings following strong feedback from the market. An imposing team of 120 attorneys across 21 US offices adds to a presence in London and Toronto, and enables the firm to handle various sophisticated insurance disputes. Much of the team's recent work has focused on D&O and E&O liability disputes, as well as asbestos and Chinese drywall matters. The practice also has a strong reputation for property insurance disputes. Key clients include Chubb Group, Swiss Re and XL.
Commercial Awareness "Dedicated and knowledgeable attorneys who exhibit exceptional mastery of the substantive and procedural law of the jurisdictions within which they practice."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Firm chairman Stephen Cozen has handled various coverage disputes on behalf of major insurance companies. He is held in high regard by peers across the country, while impressed clients view him as "one of the most respected insurance lawyers in the country."
THE FIRM This group is known for its strong practice on behalf of direct insurers in various disputes across the country. It has a strong presence in both Texas and California when it comes to the most complex contentious insurance matters. A substantial part of the team's caseload is directed toward matters involving high financial risk for clients, who appreciate the service they receive in such high-exposure circumstances.
Sources say: "An excellent all-around firm that does an excellent job in high-stakes matters."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Gary Justice is based in Los Angeles and is the main contact. He focuses on product liability matters, including asbestos and environmental claims.
THE FIRM This widely respected firm handles a wide range of insurance litigation. Clients recommend the 27-lawyer team across general liability, D&O, fiduciary, fidelity, health, property, surety and reinsurance matters. Clients include AXA, John Hancock and XL.
Client Service "The lawyers are highly responsive and timely. You never have to chase Hogan Lovells down to get what you need."
Commercial Awareness "A team of extremely bright lawyers who apply that knowledge practically."
KEY INDIVIDUALS David Hensler heads the practice from the firm's Washington, DC office and deals with insurance coverage disputes as part of a broad commercial litigation practice.
THE FIRM Locke Lord has a strong insurance presence and reputation across the country. Its depth of resources in California, Illinois and New York allows the team to cover a wide range of insurer-side disputes. Clients are also quick to highlight the team's ability to deal with complex reinsurance issues.
Sources say: "We value the team's depth of resources across the country and its multidisciplinary legal expertise."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Steven Schwartz is viewed as one of the strongest reinsurance practitioners in the country. Clients admire his efficiency and solution-focused approach. He recently represented Hannover Re in a complex dispute surrounding its acquisition of Clarendon Insurance from his New York base.
THE FIRM This firm remains a strong presence in insurance work on a national level, despite the loss of a key component of the New York team. The 23-attorney team has the ability to represent life, non-life and health insurers both domestically and internationally. Recent highlights have included representing insurance companies and brokers in sophisticated disputes.
Client Service "The lawyers are able to get clients to think strategically and to resolve cases on more creative terms."
KEY INDIVIDUALS California partner Donald Dorfman has represented various insurance companies in major toxic tort and environmental litigation.
THE FIRM Offices in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and London enable this well-known firm to handle a broad range of insurance-related issues. It enjoys a strong reputation among market commentators and debuts in the national rankings this year. Twenty-five reinsurance lawyers work alongside 23 insurance class action defense specialists to provide a deep practice on behalf of the insurance industry. Despite the retirement of James Stinson, the firm remains a major presence in the national insurance market.
Sources say: "A team of bright lawyers who are excellent strategic thinkers."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Chicago partner and reinsurance disputes practice cochair Susan Stone joins the reinsurance rankings this year following strong feedback from clients and peers. She recently handled a complex reinsurance arbitration in which WCIA, a municipal risk pool in the State of Washington, prevailed against Bermuda-based reinsurer Endurance.
of Chadbourne & Parke LLP of Chadbourne & Parke LLP in Washington, DC retains his reputation as one of the strongest reinsurance attorneys in the country. He has handled domestic and international arbitrations and litigations on behalf of cedents and reinsurers. James Ruggeri
left Hogan Lovells to start up DC firm Shipman & Goodwin LLP. He has a strong reputation thanks to his role as lead counsel on The Hartford’s most complex insurance coverage matters. His broad practice incorporates a mixture of commercial, bankruptcy and insurance coverage litigation. Peter Chaffetz
of Chaffetz Lindsey LLP joins the rankings following an impressive year in which he handled matters nationwide for a series of major insurance companies including AIG, Fireman's Fund and Sun Life. Paul Koepff
recently joined Clyde & Co US LLP from O'Melveny & Myers. He is located in New York but has litigated disputes and claims in state and federal courts under laws of various jurisdictions. He is well known and respected by peers, who are impressed with his record of success.
recently joined Patton Boggs LLP from Dewey & LeBoeuf. He is held in the highest regard by market commentators for his work in both insurance and reinsurance disputes. "He gives the client the strong belief that the case is handled in exactly the right way,"