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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > London > Insurance > Insurance litigation: for policyholders > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



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  1. Insurance litigation: for policyholders
  2. Leading individuals
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‘Composed and measured in advocating the client’s case’, the team at Allen & Overy LLP offers ‘clarity and firmness and exhibits a clear strategic approach’ for policyholders in high-value coverage disputes against Lloyd’s market, Bermuda market and international insurers. It has significant experience and expertise in complex financial instruments, tricky capital markets structures and insurance arbitrations, directors' and officers' (D&O) cover, and cross-border disputes such as Bermuda Form matters. Notably, Richard Smith is particularly active in this field, bringing a ‘coordinated and conversant’ approach to cases. Joanna Page, who demonstrates ‘great practical judgement and is hugely experienced’, heads the team, which also includes Richard Farnhill: he has ‘a very inventive legal mind which finds solutions to problems that most others would overlook’. He is currently leading the advice to Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) in its claim against insurers under the Third Parties (Rights against Insurers) Act 1930.

The team at Clifford Chance LLP advises banks, major corporates and private equity firms on large, complex matters, frequently with a cross-border element; it has recently handled cases in the areas of D&O, warranty and indemnity (W&I), credit, political risk and professional indemnity insurance. The team also advises major clients on the drafting of insurance policies. With the chair of the City of London Law Society Insurance Law Committee, Philip Hill, as practice head, ‘nothing is done without careful thought, in a good way’. Twenty-five years' experience representing insureds in disputes has earned Hill a reputation as ‘one of the most brilliant solicitors working in London, a true superstar’. Insurance regulatory expert Dorian Drew, authority on reinsurance law Terry O’Neill and experienced litigator Christopher Ingham are also members of the formidable team of experts.

Fenchurch Law is ‘a superb boutique for policyholder disputes’: what the team ‘does not know about insurance law is not worth knowing’. Specialising exclusively in insurance coverage disputes for policyholders, it offers ‘a thorough and professional service’. With ten specialist coverage lawyers, the firm has a large team dedicated to serving the needs of policyholders and their brokers, making it a ‘well-respected niche firm and genuine leader in this field’. The team is headed by David Pryce, ‘an incredibly smart and experienced insurance lawyer who is not afraid to go toe-to-toe with anyone in the industry’. Jonathan Corman, who ‘is diligent and instills confidence', is also a key member of the team, as are Joanna Grant, Amy Lacey, Daniel Brooks and John Curran (‘all especially fine choices for any policyholder dispute’). Clients include US law firms, BVI accounting firms, Peruvian energy companies, Canadian brokers, and numerous Guernsey and Jersey pension trustees, fund managers and hedge funds.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP ‘has excellent partners who quickly analyse and understand technical coverage issues, providing practical advice’. The firm's leading policyholder practice recovered over £500m in 2016/17 in insurance recoveries for policyholders, acting for ten FTSE 100 clients. It also remains the UK Association of Insurance and Risk Managers' preferred service provider on insurance law issues. The full-service firm specialises in handling claims under political risk and political violence polices, with mandates arising from events in parts of Africa and the Middle East; claims under W&I insurance; and claims under credit risk policies. Paul Lewis leads the team, ‘conducting litigation with a firm eye on his client’s commercial realities, with a forte in driving a commercial settlement where appropriate’. ‘Ferociously committed litigator’ Alexander Oddy is advising Single Buoy Moorings on a claim arising out of damage to an oil platform on the Yme field - the largest contested insurance claim in the energy insurance market and in the English courts at present. In terms of emerging markets, the recently promoted Greig Anderson is building the team's expertise in the cyber insurance arena.

‘Aside from the quality of the advice itself, the administrative processes at K&L Gates LLP are very smooth and efficient.' Offering insurance coverage advice exclusively to policyholders allows the firm to avoid conflicts of interest when acting against insurers, and the London office is part of a global coverage practice with over 100 insurance coverage lawyers. This means working on Bermuda Form arbitrations is a major growth area. Sarah Turpin leads the team, which has extensive experience across the insurance sector, particularly in D&O liability, professional indemnity and cyber risk insurance, as well as W&I insurance. Turpin provides ‘an excellent service, giving clear, practical advice in a very tight time frame’. Sarah Emerson is also a noted member of the growing team, which was recently given a boost with the addition of commercial dispute lawyers Jeremy Farr and Clare Kempkens, who joined from Ince; their practice includes coverage matters in the energy sector.

‘Very pleasurable to work with and a step ahead all the time’, Reed Smith LLP is ‘one of the top firms in London, and internationally, for policyholder work’. Operating a full-service, policyholder-only practice in all sectors, with a particular strength in the financial services, energy and commodities, war and political risk, and marine areas, the firm can boast an ‘extremely slick and professional service’. Peter Hardy heads the practice and is a ‘measured tactician with excellent client skills’. The team also includes Bermuda Form arbitration expert Mark Connoley; the ‘extremely commercial and well-respected’ Margaret Campbell, ‘a tough fighter who achieves excellent results’; and the ‘stand-out’ Mark Pring, who is ‘clear thinking and realistic, with a good technical grasp of the law and long experience of how the insurance market works’. Also noteworthy is ‘very able associate’ Laura-May Scott, who is ‘always on top of the details and excellent with the clients’.

‘The Rolls-Royce of firms acting for policyholders’, Edwin Coe LLP has built a successful track record in this field over the past 35 years, giving it almost ‘unrivaled experience’. The team regularly handles claims against the most well-known insurers, who ‘absolutely hate having them on the other side’, and offers ‘superlative value for money’. It also works closely with the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters. Practice head Roger Franklin demonstrates ‘very sound judgement and is excellent with clients’; he is also a particular expert in responding to allegations of fraud, as well as dealing with issues arising from under-insurance in the context of business interruption claims and property loss. His team includes ‘hugely experienced negotiator’ Michael Whitton, who is ‘not afraid to run matters to trial’, and the ‘incisive and tough’ Nicola Maher, who provides ‘performance and results that are nothing short of outstanding’ with ‘expertise and authority’.

‘A stand-out firm in this area’, Michelmores LLP is ‘first class in everything it does in the insurance sector’. Specialising in acting for policyholders, the team is ‘strong for the technically difficult issues’ and can provide ‘a straight answer to a tricky question, with analysis that can be trusted’. The practice has recently handled a number of coverage disputes arising from professional indemnity policies, often in the financial services arena, particularly for clients facing regulatory investigations. It is also developing a real specialism in credit risk and political risk insurance coverage disputes. Highlights included practice head Garbhan Shanks, who is noted for his ‘superior legal mind’, representing Munnelly Support Services in a coverage dispute with its broker, Absolute Insurance Brokers, and its professional indemnity and employers' liability insurers, Liberty Syndicates and ACE European Group. Shanks and associate Harriet Chopra form ‘a wonderful double act in this sector - technically superb with client-facing skills that are second to none’. Associate Fiona Pearson is also ‘a pleasure to deal with and extremely practical’.

Regularly advising major clients such as TSB and Capita, Addleshaw Goddard has significant experience in the sector. W&I insurance, product liability issues and Bermuda Form matters are particular areas of expertise. Practice head Richard Wise has acted in Bermuda Form arbitrations and mediations worth more than $2bn combined, and partner Richard Clayton is a specialist in the financial services industry. The team also utilises a base of specialist insurance litigators, including associates Laura Payne and Josianne El Antoury; the latter joined in May 2017 from HFW's insurance practice in Dubai.

Burges Salmon LLP's team provides ‘concise and pragmatic advice, with a very quick turnaround’. A client-focused approach means ‘the firm as a whole provides top-quality service’. The practice is now centred almost exclusively on work for policyholders. As well as a growing workflow of international cases originating in Latin America, the firm’s broader reputation in the areas of construction, transport, energy, rail and infrastructure attracts clients in these key sectors thanks to a combination of industry knowledge and insurance expertise. Thus the practice particularly focuses on public liability, professional indemnity and property damage matters. Kari McCormick heads the insurance team and specialises in the financial services, energy and construction sectors; ‘she excels at handling heavy multi-party litigation’, using her ‘sound litigation instincts and deep understanding of cases to identify and exploit an opponent’s weaknesses’. McCormick is currently assisting the Financial Services Compensation Scheme with a project to recover sums from the professional indemnity insurers of various insurance intermediaries and independent financial adviser firms that are in default. Other noted members of the team are the ‘practical, commercial and technically competent’ Matt Walker and ‘impressive senior associate and partner in the making’ Hannah Miller, who has ‘experience far beyond her years and is highly astute legally and tactically’.

The ‘extremely helpful, knowledgeable and experienced’ team at HFW ‘has a good understanding of the London market and its practices and thus is able to give concise and pertinent advice’. It provides dispute resolution and transactional legal services to the insurance sector for both policyholders and insurers. The ‘excellent, practical and common-sense advice’ is combined with ‘good litigators and a depth of knowledge’ in the practice, making it a ‘go-to firm for advice'. A specialist global insurance and reinsurance team of 20 partners and more than 40 lawyers includes, in London, Nigel Wick, who is ‘always willing to go the extra mile to assist, on top of which he is a good lawyer’, and Jonathan Bruce, who is known for his ‘application of the law, ability to manage expectations, and policy interpretation skills’.

The ‘very professional’ team at Mishcon de Reya LLP offers 'top-drawer guidance’ in policyholder coverage disputes, Bermuda Form matters, and non-contentious advice. Richard Leedham, who heads the insurance litigation practice in the dispute resolution department, ‘is very experienced and seems to know what buttons to push when dealing with the insurers’. Specialising in insurance disputes, he acts predominantly for corporate policyholders on coverage issues across a wide range of industries; in a recent example, he acted for Saba Rock, which owned a hotel destroyed by Hurricane Irma. Sonia Campbell, who also specialises in acting for corporates and FTSE companies in relation to insurance coverage, is another key member of the team. Clients note that the team ‘has really strengthened its offering, and now has a particularly strong pharma insurance practice’.

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Legal Developments in London for Insurance litigation: for policyholders

  • New revised guidelines for administrators in pre-pack sales

    Pre-pack sales by administrators are now used frequently enough for most people in business to be aware of them and many have come across them in their business lives. A small amount of controversy still attaches to pre-packs, but it is probably right to say that they are now an accepted part of the UK business scene as a useful means of rescuing a business in difficulty and preserving some or all of the jobs connected with the business.
    - Druces

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