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United States > Industry focus > Healthcare: health insurers > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Healthcare: health insurers
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1
    • Michael Barnes - Dentons
    • Robert Belfort - Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP
    • Steven Epstein - Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.
    • Joel Michaels - McDermott Will & Emery LLP
    • Linda Tiano - Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP

Dentons combines a well-established insurance practice with excellent knowledge of the healthcare industry. It is active in the health insurer consolidation space, in healthcare providers moving into the insurance environment and in distressed situations and workouts, including health insurers exiting lines of business. It is exceptional in health insurance regulatory an enforcement matters, and recently represented Genworth Life and RiverSource in connection with an enforcement action brought by the California Department of Insurance against RiverSource. Kansas City-based Bruce Baty and San Francisco’s Kara Baysinger head the team, which includes high-profile San Francisco partner Michael Barnes and Washington DC-based Janice Ziegler. San Francisco’s Ken Schnoll is a big name in California and a go-to lawyer for California Department of Managed Health Care issues and consolidation in the industry. New York’s Matthew Gaul is recommended for distressed situations, workouts, government investigations and regulatory issues.

Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. has an illustrious history in the managed care and health insurer environment. With an office right next to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) headquarters in Baltimore, the firm is well plugged into the industry. It also frequently works alongside its affiliated EBG Advisors, a healthcare and life sciences consultancy. The firm works with a range of clients, from health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and traditional health insurers to healthcare providers that are creating their own health plans. Founding partner Steven Epstein remains an active member of the firm and has an extensive health plan client base. Clifford Barnes is another key member of the team, as is Jackie Selby in New York. Carrie Valiant is noted for regulatory and fraud issues, while Lynn Shapiro Snyder is also highly respected. Senior figure Linda Tiano joined Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP in 2015.

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP has a tremendous standing in California, one of the key healthcare markets in the US, and it is this solid base that underpins a genuinely national practice. Clients view the firm’s expertise as ‘unmatched’ and ‘extraordinarily high’, with ‘team members that never disappoint’ and that are ‘critical to our success’. The lawyers are ‘extremely knowledgeable’, ‘responsive and capable’, and ‘experts at reading the room and calibrating their responses to the audience’. The firm has further expanded its expertise and resources with a series of senior lateral hires. Cindy Mann joined the Washington DC office from CMS, where she was deputy administrator and director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services. In a major coup for the firm, former Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. attorney Linda Tiano also the Washington DC. It is well positioned in relation to Medicare and Medicaid and is noted for its expertise in the cross-over between insurance and technology. In this regard, the hire of Jill DeGraff Thorpe from the consultancy Golden Stone further cements its standing. The firm recently advised Blue Shield of California on the $1.2bn acquisition of Care1st Health Plan. New York’s Robert Belfort has an outstanding reputation. Bruce Wolff in Washington DC ‘understands the business’.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP is an ‘excellent firm’ that is widely known for its transactional and regulatory expertise. The firm has a ‘solid provider client base and is active in the insurance space as well’, and is noted as a ‘very big name in insurance M&A’; it has been especially active in consolidation at a regional and local level. The firm represents numerous health insurers, HMOs and government healthcare program contractors, and advises some of the largest health plans in the US. It also advises a range of healthcare providers that are developing their own insurance plans. Clients include Florida Blue, Health First Health Plan, Humana and Permanente Federation. It has a big presence in Washington DC, but has health insurance specialists spread across the US. The firm continues to represent the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and several state subsidiaries in connection with the implementation of healthcare reform and the creation of health information exchanges. Joel Michaels heads the department, which includes experienced transactional specialist Gary Scott Davis in Miami, Washington DC-based fraud and abuse expert Ankur Goel, transactions and contracts specialist Peter Rich in Los Angeles, and Susan Nash and Joan Polacheck in Chicago.

Greenberg Traurig, LLP has a nationwide practice with notable expertise and experience in healthcare reform, reimbursement and regulatory issues. The firm advised MVP Health Care on the transfer of assets from Hudson Health Plan to MVP Health Plan. It also represented Universal American on the purchase of assets from Total Care, a Medicaid managed care plan. Albany-based Harold Iselin and Washington DC’s Nancy Taylor are highly regarded.

Hogan Lovells US LLP has a leading reputation for litigation and is noted for its strength in antitrust and cyber security cases, positioning it well regarding continued industry consolidation and growing concerns over recent cyber breaches in the sector. It has a deep bench of healthcare regulatory lawyers and a corporate practice that is frequently engaged in major transactions within this space. Over the years, the firm has represented some of the biggest health plans, and the recent hire of Ken Choe, the former deputy general counsel to the Office of Health Reform at the Department of Health and Human Services, should help build upon this record still further. The firm was appointed to defend a multitude of Blue Cross Blue Shield companies in headline multi-district antitrust litigation involving 40 class actions. Craig Hoover is the lead partner and considered a ‘real player’ in this space. Desmond Hogan heads the health benefits litigation practice and is highly reputed.

Jones Day has a notable record in the healthcare sector and represents a variety of insurance companies, HMOs, self-insured employer health plans and third-party administrators. It is noted for its managed care contracting expertise and its experience in antitrust matters within the healthcare sector. In 2015, the firm advised a national health insurer on antitrust matters connected to its $40bn acquisition by another national health insurer. James Dutro has exceptional M&A experience in this sector, and Stephen Sozio is a leader in government investigations and compliance. David Grauer, David Morris and Lisa Han are also highly regarded.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP has a broad practice that is principally known for its expertise in complex litigation and class actions as well as government investigations. Its big-name clients also rely on the firm for help with transactions, and, in 2015, it advised regular client Health Net on its $6.8bn acquisition by Centene. Other clients include Anthem, Cigna and LA Care Health Plan. Molly Lane is a key name in litigation, including class actions.

Reed Smith LLP has a fine record in litigation and investigations and has established relationships with various Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans, including Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, which has been a client for over 30 years. The firm’s Los Angeles and Chicago offices are central to the practice, along with Washington DC and Pittsburgh. The arrival of Martin Bishop and a team of litigators from Foley & Lardner LLP adds to the firm’s credentials, especially in the Midwest and Southern US. Bishop has cemented the firm’s relationship with Health Care Service Corporation, and he recently represented the client in a major case in the Northern District of Texas. Anthem is another key client of the firm. Kenneth Smersfelt and Kurt Peterson in Los Angeles are also highly regarded.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s preeminence in contentious matters is well established, and in the healthcare insurance sphere it has been defending clients against a series of class actions, typically involving reimbursements and mental health parity claims. Historically, much of the practice has centered on the key market of California, but the firm has expanded its footprint into other areas, including Washington DC and Texas. Aetna and Cigna are notable clients. Richard Doren in Los Angeles and Geoffrey Sigler in Washington DC are the standout partners. The firm successfully defended Aetna against a series of cases valued at approximately $2bn.

Groom Law Group is noted in particular for its expertise in employee benefits and ERISA matters. The team is ‘very accessible’, ‘very conscientious about possible conflicts of interest’ and ‘well connected within the industry’, according to clients. The firm has advised a number of large health insurers and third-party health plan administrators in connection with healthcare reform in the US. Seth Perretta is ‘very responsive and helpful’ and ‘provides keen insight’; Allison Ullman is ‘a great attorney’, who is ‘well rounded in both the health and retirement fields’. Clients include Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Cigna, UnitedHealth Group and American Benefits Council.

Clients recognize O’Melveny & Myers LLP’s expertise in healthcare law, the regulatory requirements applicable to government contracts, health care litigation, and the interpretation of federal fraud, waste and abuse laws. The service is ‘consistently provided at a high level’ and is ‘thorough’, ‘timely’, ‘responsive’ and ‘solution-oriented’. The firm also delivers ‘effective liaisons with government regulators’ and is ‘well informed of legal precedents’. The firm has a particularly strong record in False Claims Act cases for big clients such as Humana, and is also known for its regulatory knowledge of Medicare Advantage and market investigations. The firm defended Humana in a False Claims Act case and a related investigation by the DOJ and HHS-OIG. David Leviss and Lee Blalack in Washington DC and David Deaton and Stephen Sullivan in Los Angeles are praised by clients.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP has a long and close association with the healthcare industry. Its roots are in California, but this has grown into a truly national practice, and it has extensive experience in Medicare Advantage and Medicaid, as well as commercial, dental and vision health plans. It is also noted for risk-based arrangements and value-based reimbursement systems. In 2015, it advised Molina Healthcare on its acquisition of Providence Human Services and Providence Community Services. Century City’s Eric Klein and Aytan Dahukey are key members of the practice.

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