Merging US firms Pillsbury Winthrop and Shaw Pitman have made their first bold move to offload unwanted practices sending a 20-lawyer insurance litigation team to Hunton & Williams.

The group of four partners, one counsel and fifteen associates are led by Walter Andrews and Lon Berk, who will join Hunton & Williams’ Northern Virginia office.

While the litigation practice is successful it is not seen as core to the merged firm’s strategy.

Shaw Pittman has seen many departures over the last year as it has prepared itself for the Pillsbury merger. The two firms are desperate to meet a self-imposed completion deadline of April 4, 2005.

Andrews was co-head of litigation at Shaw Pittman. The team will continue to focus its practice on the representation of insurers in coverage and bad faith disputes involving business interruption, construction defect, e-commerce issues and other emerging claims.