Sidley snares Pinsents’ insurance chief for City practice

US firm Sidley Austin has hired two Pinsent Masons partners for its London insurance practice, including the head of Pinsents’ insurance group.

Insurance head Martin Membery has joined Sidley along with Matthew Griffith, a Pinsents partner since 2004.

Both lawyers are joining Sidley as partners to help develop the  London office’s transactional and regulatory insurance and corporate practices.

Membery’s departure is likely to be particularly felt by the national firm. He was the head of two insurance-focused departments at Pinsents – the core insurance group plus the insurance sector group, which includes lawyers from different disciplines acting for insurance clients.

Pinsents partner John Salmon is to take over as head of the larger group, while the four partners who make up the smaller group will assume its leadership.

Memberyis known for advising on major insurance and reinsurance coverage disputes, with a particular focus on the defence of brokers’ errors and omissions claims.

On the non-contentious side, Membery advises on insurance distribution agreements (particularly on corporate partnerships), insurance and reinsurance wordings and regulatory issues as well as mergers and acquisitions of insurance entities.

A spokesperson for Pinsents said both lawyers were valued members of the insurance team and the firm wished them well.

’We still have a very strong team of partners and lawyers specialising in insurance law, plus specialists in other practices providing advice to insurance clients,” she added.