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Growth mode: Kennedys bolts-on US law capability with local hires and forms fifth LatAm alliance

Kennedys has made two local partner hires in Miami in a move which will allow the firm to practice US law for the first time. US-qualified Neil Bayer and Dan Sanders will join Kennedys’ Miami office and will oversee the firm’s US advisory capability. The hires come as the firm aims to give ‘rise to new local growth opportunities and strengthen its London market capability’.

Bayer joins Kennedys from Gray Robinson with litigation experience of advising insurance underwriters and private clients on issues relating to yachts and super yachts, including first and third party insurance claims involving both property damage and personal injury.

Sanders worked in private practice before joining global insurer, Zurich, where he was head of technical claim excellence for the Americas. He has vast experience of insurance policy issues and claims regarding a range of indemnity contracts and policies, including professional indemnity, financial lines, general liability, construction, motor, property and aviation.

The firm has also formed its fifth Latin America (LatAm) association in Argentina with local firm Alberto Bunge & Asociados (ABA). ABA is led by founding partner Alberto José Bunge and focuses on large and complex insurance and reinsurance matters. The boutique has worked with Kennedys since 2013.

The formal alliance marks the firm’s second move into LatAm, in the last 12 months, having made another association with Mexican firm Bufete Solís Marín around this time last year, and complements Kennedys’ other existing associations in Brazil, Chile and Colombia.

Kennedys senior partner Nick Thomas said: ‘Our international clients operate in this developing market and we regularly advise on large property, energy and construction claims in Argentina, via both London and Miami. Having worked with ABA on various matters, we are delighted to formalise our relationship.’

He added: ‘Until recently, our Miami ‘hub’ was exclusively focused on supporting Latin America and the Caribbean, and London Market (re)insurers. I’m now delighted to welcome Neil and Dan, enabling us to advise on US law for the first time.’

The firm recently grew its footprint in Scandinavia through a combination of mergers and alliances, having taken over a four-partner and 12-lawyer Danish firm Erritzøe, and also formed associations with Norwegian firm Kogstad Lunde & Co and Swedish firm NorelidHolm.

‘Insurance clients are constantly consolidating so have a global perspective and want global law firm panels,’ Thomas told Legal Business. ‘Back in 1977, we knew we were never going to be a Clifford Turner, but we knew we could be an insurance class act. We have stolen a massive march on everybody else.’

Kennedys currently boasts 14 offices worldwide along with 12 associate offices, with a view to integrate these local offices completely. ‘Our cultural values are very important to us. This way, clients get used to the other lawyers and we can parachute the lawyers in,’ added Thomas. While the firm’s City base is servicing some hotspots in Europe, an official set up in Germany, France and Italy is next on the agenda for the UK top-30 firm.