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DAC Beachcroft launches New York base as part of transatlantic alliance

Its international expansion has been extensive in recent years but UK insurance firm DAC Beachcroft has complemented its push in the Americas by opening a representative office in New York to build relationships in the US.

Located at One Battery Park Plaza in Manhattan, the new office forms part of a strategic alliance with specialist New York insurance law firm, Abrams Gorelick Friedman & Jacobson (AGF&J), to work more closely together in New York and London to better serve the interests of their insurance clients.

The 1,000-lawyer, top 25 UK firm, which already has a widespread presence in Latin America, says the new Manhattan base, which opened on Monday 20 January, will promote its multi-jurisdictional insurance capabilities, especially in Latin America, and its international commercial litigation and arbitration in North America.

Staffed on a rotating basis, the core team will include head of insurance David Pollitt, head of global Paulino Fajardo and Mexico office chief Francisco Fernandes-Fletes.

Also in the core team are corporate insurance partner Adrian Williams, engineering and construction partner Nick Young, reinsurance partner Julian Miller, financial lines partner Mark Sutton and commercial litigation/arbitration partner Matthew Wescott.

Commenting on the new office, DAC Beachcroft managing partner, Paul Murray, said: ‘We know there are opportunities for the firm on the other side of the Atlantic. This base will allow us to build relationships in North America, which is another important step toward our long-term goal of becoming the leading international provider of legal services to the insurance sector.’

David Pollitt, head of the firm’s insurance sector group, added: ‘New York is a very important market for many of our insurance clients. We already have a number of strong relationships with major international insurers.

‘They are increasingly more interested in our unique global offering, particularly in relation to our own-office Latin America coverage where we now have a formidable presence in Chile, Colombia and Mexico.

‘We will be focusing on claims work as well as corporate and regulatory work. Our reach extends beyond insurance into commercial litigation and international arbitration where, again, our global footprint offers clients access to strong support in key markets.

‘Furthermore, we have worked with the team of Abrams Gorelick for many years now and our alliance with them will enable both of us better to reach our clients in New York and London.

The firm recently expanded its Latin American presence via a merger with Colombian alliance partner De la Torre & Monroy Abogados Asociados, which began trading as DAC Beachcroft Colombia on 1 December 2013, having formally allied with the six-lawyer Bogata insurance firm in March 2013 ahead of the liberalisation of the Colombian insurance market.

This latest move builds on the firm’s tie-up with Chilean firms Seguros Lex and Amunategui y Cia in November 2012, while its now 20-strong Mexico base has been ‘going strong’ according to Murray, since it’s opening 12 years ago by legacy Davies Arnold Cooper.

Murray has said the firm has further long-term plans to expand in the region, with its sights set on an alliance in Peru, while Guatemala and Panama are also viewed as prospective locations.

Osborne Clarke also announced last October that it had launched a branch in New York’s creative and digital district of BoHo, its second in the US after it set up shop in Palo Alto in 2001 to build links with technology and venture capital clients.

The NY arm primarily provides UK legal advice to European clients who have moved into New York or US clients looking to position themselves in Europe as well as developing relationships with investors. Like DAC, the branch runs on a flexible basis with 12 partners and associate directors, with two or more partners on the ground at any given time, rotating every seven to ten days.