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  1. Insurance: non-contentious
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Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has ‘a top-notch insurance industry practice’ and is ‘definitely top of its field’, according to clients. The team advises on high-value insurance M&A, regulatory matters, pension risk transfers and private equity investments for insurers, reinsurers and asset managers, among others. Respected joint practice leader Nicholas Potter and David Grosgold advised Exor on its hostile acquisition of PartnerRe, including terminating a separate merger agreement between PartnerRe and AXIS Capital; Potter also assisted with StanCorp Financial Group’s $5bn sale to Meiji Yasuda Life. The recommended Alexander Cochran assisted Swiss Re with its acquisition of term life insurance policies from Citigroup; Cochran is also known for his work in financing and securities offerings. The well-regarded John Vasily is the other joint head of the practice, which also includes Marilyn Lion, who ‘has very deep insurance industry expertise’, and regulatory expert Thomas Kelly. AIG and Prudential Financial are among the firm’s other clients. All lawyers mentioned are based in New York.

Sidley Austin LLP is a market leader for advising property and casualty insurance companies but also works with other clients in the industry; insurance M&A, capital markets work and specialist insurance finance are all mainstays of the practice, with a client roster that includes major names such as Credit Suisse, Nationwide Mutual and Genworth. New York-based practice head Jonathan Kelly is the lead partner advising Jefferson National Financial on the sale of Jefferson National Life Insurance to Nationwide Mutual, including assisting with the regulatory and contractual negotiations for the deal. The team also advised Morgan Stanley as underwriter on the $550m public offering of senior notes by Old Republic International Corporation and provided regulatory advice to Cigna concerning its proposed but ultimately canceled $54bn merger with Anthem. Michael Goldman and Perry Shwachman are practice chairs and have experience in corporate reorganizations, structured product advice and private equity matters. Sean Carney and Jeremy Watson are recommended. Lawyers mentioned are based in the Chicago office unless otherwise noted.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s New York-based team has a fine reputation in the corporate insurance sphere. Insurers, brokers and reinsurers are all clients of the firm, which handles domestic and cross-border M&A, debt issuances and other transactions within the insurance space. Stephen Kotran, Robert DeLaMater and insurance practice head Marion Leydier are assisting China Oceanwide Holdings with its $2.7bn acquisition of Genworth Financial, including advising on the client’s $600m and $525m cash contributions to Genworth’s respective outstanding debt and company restructuring. Its global capital markets expertise was in evidence in its advice to AIG on two debt offerings: a €750m aggregate principal amount of 1.500% notes and a $1.5bn principal amount of 3.30% notes. Other clients include Allianz, Swiss Re and Tokio Marine Holdings. The global insurance practice is chaired by cross-border financing expert William Torchiana, who splits his time between New York and Paris, and ably supported by M&A counsel Andrew Rowen and reinsurance specialist Mark Rosenberg.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP’s deep bench of insurance specialists provides expertise in regulatory and transactional matters, and excels in big-ticket M&A matters, risk transfer mandates and private equity investments for reinsurers, brokers and funds. Gregory Astrachan advised Credit Suisse on its CHF220m offering of operational risk notes to Operational Re, including assisting with the transfer of some of its prospective operational risk to multiple hedge funds. Senior counsel Donald Henderson and Allison Tam are assisting Medical Liability Mutual Insurance Company with its proposed acquisition by Berkshire Hathaway and planned demutualization to a stock company. Other highlights included assisting Assurant with the $975m sale of its employee benefits business to Sun Life of Canada. Aegon, Chubb and WR Berkeley are also on the client roster. Alexander Dye and John Schwolsky head the practice, which saw Matthew Stern promoted to partner. All lawyers mentioned are in the New York office.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP has vast experience in cross-border transactions, with a recent portfolio of work that includes IPOs, debt issuances and risk transfer matters. M&A is a particularly strong area for the team; recent examples include advising Bermuda-based Endurance Specialty Holdings on its proposed $6.3bn acquisition by Japanese company Sompo Holdings; other M&A highlights included assisting Centene with its $6.8bn acquisition of Health Net. Highly recommended practice chair Todd Freed, along with Jon Hlafter and Dwight Yoo advised XL Group on its redomestication from Ireland to Bermuda through an Irish scheme of arrangement. Other significant clients are Morgan Stanley, John Hancock and Citigroup. Restructuring expert Robert Sullivan, who is ‘hugely responsive, extremely experienced and very talented’ as well as reinsurance lawyer Michael Homison are names of note. All lawyers mentioned are based in New York.

The team at the newly merged Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP has an established reputation in the insurance market and is adept at handling corporate restructuring, regulatory advice and M&A. In regulatory matters, it advised Pan-American Life Insurance Group on the regulatory aspects of its $5.5bn merger agreement with Mutual Trust Life Financial Group and assisted Watford Holdings with the regulatory aspects of its acquisition of Professionals Direct Insurance Company from The Hanover Insurance Group. Its transactional strength was in evidence when Bert Adams and Washington DC-based David Massey advised the Reinsurance Group of America on its acquisition of a reinsurance block from XL Catlin for $300m. The team also assisted The Hartford with the proposed restructuring of its unit investment trust accounts. New clients include Legal & General and Maxum Specialty, while longstanding clients include Exor, Guggenheim Partners, Jackson National Life and Great-West Financial. Cynthia Shoss and the Washington DC-based Stephen Roth lead the practice, which also includes James Dwyer and Atlanta’s Scott Burton. Named lawyers are based in New York unless otherwise stated.

Mayer Brown delivers ‘extensive business knowledge, spot-on advice and a very strong team’. Based out of New York, the team frequently undertakes M&A, reinsurance transactions, regulatory advice and structured bond offerings for a full range of clients, including underwriters, insurers and private equity firms. David Alberts and Stephen Rooney assisted Grupo Fidens with its acquisition of Liberty Mutual’s Venezuelan insurance operation Seguros Caracas. The firm is adept at handling catastrophe bond transactions: Rooney advised National Railroad Passenger Corporation on its $275m maiden catastrophe bond transaction and newly promoted partner Richard Spitzer assisted Mitsui Sumitomo with its $200m catastrophe bond for Japanese typhoon reinsurance protection. Also on the client roster are Zurich, Munich Re and Radian Group. James Woods and Lawrence Hamilton are well regarded. Francis Monaco joined from Hogan Lovells US LLP and Magnus Karlberg was promoted to the partnership.

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP excels in insurance and reinsurance transactions, with the practice supported by the firm’s tax and corporate teams. Based in New York, the team focuses on M&A work, advising sellers and buyers on the full transaction lifecycle; reinsurance collateral transactions, capital markets reinsurance deals and equity investments are other key area of expertise. Reinsurers, insurers, banks, funds and private equity companies all feature on the firm’s client list. Bernhardt Nadell is the practice head, specializing in insurance securities transactions, asset transfers and demutualization matters. He is ably supported by reinsurance expert Robert Lewin and Bradley Kulman, who has expertise in public and private offerings as well as debt and equity securities. Former counsel William Latza left to become the chief compliance offer at Lemonade Insurance.

Clifford Chance has a fine reputation for handling cross-border transactional and regulatory advice in the insurance sphere for asset managers, insurers, reinsurers and brokers; acquisitions, private equity investments into insurance companies and joint ventures are areas of expertise. The firm has experience dealing with start-up insurers such as Fidelis Insurance Holdings, and practice head Gary Boss advised the client on its hybrid investment model and subsequent acquisitions, regulatory matters and corporate structuring issues. Practice head Nicholas Williams continues to advise the Singapore investment arm of CMI on its $2.6bn acquisition of Sirius International Insurance Group from White Mountains Insurance Group. Other highlights included overseeing Willis Capital Markets & Advisory’s establishment of its Middle Eastern operations, including regulatory advice and corporate structuring assistance. Big-ticket clients include Munich Re, Citigroup and Apollo Global Management. Other notable names in the practice are senior counsel tax expert Donald Carden and capital markets lawyer Per Chilstrom. All lawyers mentioned are in the New York office.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP’s transactional insurance team has particular expertise in capital markets matters and M&A. The team is a part of the firm’s broader financial institutions practice and draws on deep expertise in financial regulation, corporate governance and derivatives and structured products. Clients include insurers, reinsurers, banks, funds, underwriters and private equity firms. The respected corporate governance practice head Joseph Hall advises clients on financial regulatory compliance matters, while the well-regarded global head of capital markets Richard Sandler is adept at handling securities offerings, restructurings and exchange offers for insurance clients. Other notable names in the department are M&A expert Phillip Mills, who has vast experience in cross-border transactions and corporate governance, and Jason Kyrwood, who specializes in corporate finance transactions and acquisition financing for lenders and borrowers. All lawyers mentioned are based in New York.

Dentonsprovides a very good level of service’ and has ‘a lot of experience and knowledge’. With offices across the country, the team delivers a national practice that advises insurers, reinsurers, underwriters and private equity firm clients on M&A deals, regulatory matters and risk management, among other things. It assisted Metromile with its $22m acquisition of Mosaic Insurance, including obtaining regulatory approval from 50 states. The team also frequently assists AXA Equitable with regulatory matters, including the opening and maintenance of accounts to support the client’s variable annuity and funding agreement products. Other clients include Swiss Re, Chubb and Fidelity Security Life Insurance Company. San Francisco’s Kara Baysinger chairs the practice, which also includes Miami-based John Sarchio, who recently joined from Holland & Knight LLP, as well as Oakland-based Dan Brown and Los Angeles-based Stephanie Duchene, who is ‘very responsive and knowledgeable in Californian insurance regulatory law’.

DLA Piper LLP (US) undertakes significant cross-border transactions in the insurance sphere and has advised on acquisitions, joint ventures and capital market matters in Europe and Asia for reinsurers, insurers and hedge funds. It has been advising clients on the recent trend of non-traditional capital entities entering the insurance market, such as advising Blackstone in relation to a $600m capital raise for its joint venture partner, reinsurer Harrington Re. Other highlights included advising new hedge fund reinsurer Somerset Re on its $375m capital raise and assisting Fosun International with its $1.8bn acquisition of shares in Bermuda insurer Ironshire. Legal & General, Wells Fargo and Swiss Re are also on the client roster. William Marcoux is the joint practice head with Michael Murphy, ably supported by David Luce, Gerald Rokoff and the Chicago-based counsel Carl Poedtke. Named lawyers are based in New York unless otherwise stated.

Foley & Lardner LLP is able to undertake a wide range of insurance-related transactions and regulatory advice for clients, with notable expertise in reinsurance transactions and M&A work. Regulatory work is a big aspect of the practice, which is supported by the firm’s nationally recognized insurance litigation team. Clients include hedge funds, insurers and private equity houses, and specific areas of expertise include property and casualty, healthcare and catastrophe insurance. The Milwaukee-based practice chair Thomas Hrdlick has previously worked for insurers and reinsurers on public offerings, demutualization matters and corporate restructurings. He is ably supported by Kevin Fitzgerald in the same office, who advises on captive insurance matters, premium taxation and insurance insolvency, as well as Tallahassee-based Austin Neal, who specializes in reinsurance mandates, regulatory concerns and corporate insurance deals for domestic and international insurers.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is ‘the very best’ for insurance transactional and regulatory matters according to clients. The team advises on a full remit of matters, including private equity investments and M&A. The intersection between capital markets and insurance is a key area for the practice; capital markets expert Lesley Peng recently advised big-ticket client AXIS Capital Holdings on its public offering of 22 million depository shares. Other highlights included advising Evercore Group as financial adviser to AIG on the latter’s proposed divestment of its interests in Ascot Underwriting Holdings. CNO Financial Group, The Phoenix Companies and Travelers are all clients. Department heads Lee Meyerson and Gary Horowitz are ‘exceptionally smart and experienced, highly practical and very user-friendly’. Named lawyers are based in New York.

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Legal Developments worldwide

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    On 10 August 2017 the Luxembourg Stock Exchange announced that all domestic and foreign issuers operating on the regulated market (Bourse de Luxembourg) or on the multilateral trading facility (Euro MTF) of the Luxembourg Stock Exchange must provide their legal entity identifier (“LEI ”) codes to the Luxembourg Stock Exchange before 15 September 2017.
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    The Luxembourg law on the exploration and use of space resources of 20 July 2017 entered into force on 2 August 2017 and placed Luxembourg among the most innovative space-oriented nations in the world.
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    The pieces of the puzzle are finally falling into place. The long-awaited level 3 and 4 measures have been published earlier this week, half a year before the PRIIPs KID becomes compulsory.
  • MiFID II: Further guidance on product governance requirements

    Amongst the numerous topics covered by the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II (MiFID II), the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has decided to provide further guidance on the requirements regarding product governance through its guidelines dated 2 June 2017 which focus on the target market assessment by manufacturers and distributors of financial products.     
  • Arendt & Medernach is again the “Luxembourg Tax Firm of the Year”

    The partners of Arendt & Medernach are pleased to announce that their firm has been awarded once again the prestigious “Luxembourg Tax Firm of the Year” title during the International Tax Review’s European Tax Awards ceremony held at the Savoy Hotel in London on 18 May.
  • Signature of the Multilateral instrument – reservations made by Luxembourg

    On 7 June 2017, the official ceremony for the signing of the multilateral instrument (“MLI”) took place bringing to a close a process initiated last year when a consensus was reached on the wording of the MLI on 24 November 2016 (see also our newsflash dated 2 December 2016, available on our website www.arendt.com section Publications/Newsflash).
  • Arendt & Medernach: Luxembourg Law Firm of the Year

    Luxembourg, May 2017 – Arendt & Medernach is proud to have been named “Luxembourg Law firm of the year” both by Chambers & Partners and IFLR (International Financial Law Review). The prestigious trophies were both received in April in London at the respective ceremonies of the Chambers Europe Awards 2017 and the IFLR European Awards 2017.
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  • An Introduction to Corporate Guarantee

    In the UAE, the risk management activities inherent in running a corporate or investment banking business remain of crucial importance, not least because of the strong local characteristic of “name lending”, by which is meant lending or providing other banking facilities to family or other private businesses, primarily on the strength of the “name” or “names” of the proprietors standing behind the business, rather than on the strength of the asset quality and underlying credit of the particular business. Of course, in practice, there is commercial overlap between the proprietors and the companies which they own, but the credit analyses can break down where poor banking practices and procedures result in poorly constructed legal documentation and gaps in guarantee and security support documents.

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