Norton Rose snares BLG reinsurance maestro

Norton Rose has dealt a blow to Barlow Lyde & Gilbert (BLG) by poaching highly rated reinsurance partner Michael Mendelowitz.

Mendelowitz said the future for reinsurance no longer lies in traditional indemnity, such as shipping, which makes up a large proportion of BLG’s instructions, but new innovations, such as alternative risk transfer.

“The dynamics are changing and firms such as Norton Rose are well placed to capitalise on the opportunities that present themselves as financial institutions begin to realise the potential in managing risk,” said Mendelowitz.

Mendelowitz, a partner at BLG since 1990, could potentially take “a large chunk” of BLG’s reinsurance client base with him to Norton Rose, claimed one BLG partner. He will head the contentious insurance and reinsurance practice at his new firm.

BLG senior partner Richard Denman, however, believes the impact should be limited, although he is disappointed to see Mendelowitz leave.

“If you lose a good player like Michael from a small team, that’s bad news, but our reinsurance team is vast – one of the largest – so losing one important person will have less of an impact,” said Denman.

Mendelowitz is the first partner to quit the firm since The Lawyer (4 December 2006) revealed that BLG was axing partners in a radical management overhaul as it converts to limited-liability partnership status in an attempt to halt the firm’s three-year slump. Mendelowitz was not directly affected by these changes.