Mayer Brown exodus continues as reinsurance litigator heads to Locke Lord

Mayer Brown has seen another partner departure from its City base, with high-profile reinsurance litigator Ian McKenna leaving to join US rival Locke Lord.

McKenna, who has been a partner at Mayer Brown since 2003, is set to join the Texan firm’s London office as the third partner in an insurance group that currently includes Damian Cleary and Gavin Coull, who joined from Steptoe & Johnson earlier this year (29 May 2012).

McKenna, who previously worked in reinsurer Munich Re’s London office, moved to Mayer Brown in 2003 from Holman Fenwick & Willan (9 June 2003). He is one of the leading legal figures in the City in the contentious insurance scene.

His practice covers coverage disputes, reinsurance recoveries, breach of contract, avoidance and related disputes both in the commercial courts and in arbitration, encompassing E&O coverage issues and disputes, reinsurance run-off, restructuring and insolvency matters.

He advised on the California fires in 2007, Hurricanes Katrina, Wilma and Rita in 2005, the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 and the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989.

Locke Lord global insurance and reinsurance chair Nick DiGiovanni said in a statement: “Ian’s addition to our insurance and reinsurance group makes our international platform that much stronger. Our bench strength in the London, European and Bermudian insurance and reinsurance markets offers our growing client base even more capabilities and service.”

Mayer Brown has suffered a string of partner exits in London in 2012, including most recently structured finance partner Stephen Day to join Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft (24 August 2012).

It has carried out two redundancy rounds for London staff this year, putting fewer than 20 employees in consultation last month (21 September 2012).

A Mayer Brown spokesperson said in a statement: “We confirm that Ian McKenna is leaving the firm. We’re grateful for the significant contribution he made during his time here and wish him all the best in his new role.”

Mayer Brown London litigation head David Allen commented: “There are very few clients that Ian will be taking with him but there are one or two, and they will go with our blessing.”

Locke Lord’s City launch, first reported by The Lawyer, saw six partners and two consultants join the US firm from Salans alongside a partner from Rochman Landau (7 November 2011). The office has since grown to 14 London partners following a major latering hiring spree.