Insurance trio form Euro-US alliance

The first ever multinational insurance litigation partnership involving firms in Britain, the US and France has been set up.

London firm Hextall Erskine has teamed up with US firm Clausen Miller PC and French firm LaGiraudiere Larroze & Associes to form Clausen Miller Europe.

The partnership will have its headquarters in London. Lawyers from all three firms are also hoping to persuade firms in other European countries to join and have already begun talks.

The trio are all insurance litigators who say teaming up reflects the international nature of the insurance business with clients who need law firms with cross-border expertise.

John Startin, one of 21 partners at Hextall Erskine, says it is a unique initiative between an English, US and French law firm.

“While Clausen Miller Europe is able to function as a single entity in international matters, each member retains its own independence, identity and integrity in its own country,” says Startin.

“By working together as a partnership we are able to ensure synergy of service on a multi-jurisdictional level.”

Hextalls, which was formed 50 years ago, has worked closely with Clausen Miller PC for several years and has had an informal arrangement with LaGiraudiere's in Paris since 1988.

Senior attorney at Clausen Miller PC Stephen Marcus, and Ann-Phillipe de La Giraudiere, managing partner at the French firm, say the move was prompted by an increasingly global insurance marketplace.

The US firm was formed in 1936 and has offices in New York, California, Illinois and New Jersey. La Giraudiere's power base is Paris, but the firm has a lobbying office in Brussels and has a network of European associates.

Two months ago, Hextalls formed a UK consortium with Jacksons from Stockton-on-Tees and Bristol firm Cartwrights in another unique move.

They are linked by a new IT system, which comes into operation this month, which they believe will change the way insurance litigation is delivered with all three firms able to easily share their expertise. The UK consortium is also seeking to recruit other firms.

Clifford Chance is currently in merger talks with New York firm Rogers & Wells. A partner vote on the merger will take place in June.