…as Kennedys takes on eighteen lawyers

Kennedys is boosting its insurance practice by hiring three partners and 15 lawyers from near-defunct firm Edward Lewis.

The partners will bring the lion’s share of Edward Lewis’ insurance clients with them.

Partners Jane Smith, Kate Whitefield and Kieron West will join Kennedys at the end of this month.

The Edward Lewis partnership is due to dissolve on 26 January following allegations of sexual discrimination against the firm’s chairman.

Kennedys’ senior partner Nick Thomas says: “The jewel in Edward Lewis’ crown was doing work for Zurich Eagle Star.

“That work and two partners who dealt with it [Smith and Whitefield] are coming to us.”

Thomas adds that insurance giant Zurich Eagle Star was consulted before Kennedys recruited the two partners and is in favour of the moves.

He says: “We have dealt with Zurich Eagle Star before but this will immensely strengthen our client base.”

The Metropolitan Police is another client that Smith is bringing with her. She handles much of its liability work.

West is bringing portfolios with him which include defence work for asbestos manufacturer T&N.

Thomas says: “This is part of an expansion drive by Kennedys.”

Next month, the firm is establishing its first Hong Kong office after poaching insurance partner Rupert Skrine from Wilde Sapte and three of his assistants (The Lawyer, 13 December).

Thomas adds: “Our expansion drive is not over. Watch this space.”

None of the three partners who are moving to Kennedys were available for comment.