Stephenson Harwood hires insurance head

Stephenson Harwood is bolstering its insurance/reinsurance practice by securing a new head from Barlow Lyde & Gilbert.

Former equity partner Paul Howick joined Barlow Lyde in 1987 from Holman Fenwick & Willan. He specialises in international insurance/reinsurance litigation and commercial dispute resolution.

Barlow Lyde is regarded as the leading City firm in both general claims and reinsurance. Stephenson Harwood does not enjoy the same reputation.

Howick expects his clients to follow him and is also in talks about staff moving with him.

Barlow Lyde has suffered from key partner departures, the most recent being head of corporate finance Judith Shepherd, who quit for Gibson Dunn & Crutcher (The Lawyer, 29 May).

The insurance industry has been through a period of consolidation and legal spend has been cut heavily. But Howick denies that changes in fee levels influenced his decision to join Stephenson Harwood.