Cadwalader lures team to boost litigation dept

US firm Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft has poached one of the top re insurance teams in the US to boost its international practice.

The former chairman of one of the leading insurance firms in New York is moving with three other partners to Cadwalader.

The team is joining from Rosenman & Colin, which is a 275-lawyer firm with offices in New York, Washington DC, New Jersey and North Carolina. It is led by Lawrence Brandes, now chairman of the insurance and reinsurance department at the firm.

Cadwalader claims the team is the largest reinsurance dispute resolution practice in the US. It will join the firm’s litigation department, and will be doing a lot of deals centring on the London market with the ultimate aim of building up a reinsurance practice out of Cadwalader’s London office.

The other partners joining Cadwalader are Clifford Schoenberg, Harry Cohen and John Finnegan. The firm says there are also a “substantial number” of other counsel, associates and administrative staff moving with them.

Managing partner of Cadwalader Robert Link says the team will boost the firm’s practice across the world.

He says: “This reinsurance group represents a unique opportunity for Cadwalader to expand into the fast-growing area of litigation by acquiring one of the most experienced and respected groups in its field.

“Larry Brandes’ group fits extremely well with our strategic plan by providing a quality practice that counts among its clients a good number of major insurance and reinsurance firms.

“It is also an excellent fit with our rapidly expanding London office and allows formidable cross-marketing opportunities.”

Last month, Cadwalader recruited its first litigation partner in London from rival New York firm Weil Gotshal & Manges. Michelle Duncan is a banking litigator who had been with Weil Gotshal for four years, and was previously with Clifford Chance (The Lawyer, 3 April).

Brandes says it was the international practice at Cadwalader which attracted himself and his team.

He says: “Cadwalader has a unique blend of high quality legal service and dynamic growth on a global scale that fits perfectly with our practice group.

“Of all the firms that approached us, Cadwalader was clearly the best fit for an energetic, expanding practice like ours.”