Legal Business

International moves: Kennedys in double office launch as Bird & Bird plans San Francisco base

International moves: Kennedys in double office launch as Bird & Bird plans San Francisco base

Top-50 insurance specialist Kennedys has made an ambitious bid to further increase its global footprint, today (2 October) announcing the opening of new offices in Paris and Bangkok.

With the launches in France and Thailand, Kennedys has brought its tally of new international offices opened this year to nine.

The Paris outpost is led by a four-partner team hired from French litigation boutique BOPS Avocats and focuses on insurance disputes.

Co-founder and the former senior partner of BOPS Avocats, Christian Bouckaert, is heading the new Paris office, alongside partners Alexis Valençon, Aurélia Cadain and Nicolas Bouckaert.

Kennedys and BOPS Avocats have a shared history, jointly acting on a number of cross-border cases over the years and also possess a significant overlap in important clients.

Kennedys’ senior partner Nick Thomas (pictured) told Legal Business: ‘A Paris office has been important for us all along. It’s important for us to be where clients want us to be, it’s not simply a case of throwing a dart at a map!’

Outside of Europe, Kennedys has tapped into a major south-east Asian market through its Thailand launch, building on its pre-established presence in Singapore and Hong Kong.

The firm’s new two-partner office in Bangkok also has an insurance litigation element, with the outpost being led by Suraphon Rittipongchusit, a former partner of DLA Piper’s Bangkok insurance and litigation department.

Alongside Rittipongchusit is fellow partner Supreedee Nimitkul, who is a corporate and commercial specialist with over 20 years’ experience. Completing the team is senior associate Tassanu Chutikanon and Ian Johnston, a foreign qualified lawyer who relocates from Kennedy’s Singapore office.

On the Bangkok launch, Thomas added: ‘Clients had told us that there was only one other insurance firm there and that they didn’t have any choice. They wanted the product that we’ve got.’

Despite the Paris office being its first office opening in mainland Europe this year, Kennedys has made serious strides in expanding its global operations throughout 2017. The firm has opened in the US through its merger with insurance firm Carroll McNulty & Kull and also added offices in Australia, Mexico and formed a formal association in Italy.

Meanwhile, Bird & Bird has also revealed plans today to open a representative office in the US.

The new hub, based in San Francisco, will advise clients on international disputes, intellectual property and data privacy issues.

David Kerr, chief executive of Bird & Bird, told Legal Business: ‘We have seen a huge request from clients to have lawyers in that time zone and we think that demand is growing.’

tom.baker@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Kennedys sustains remarkable growth with NY team as insurance players keep up global push

Kennedys sustains remarkable growth with NY team as insurance players keep up global push

The internationalisation of insurance law continues apace. Just four months after securing a merger with US practice Carroll McNulty & Kull (CMK), Kennedys has taken a New York team from Sedgwick including the firm’s former managing partner, John Blanchett. Partners Christopher Novak and Matthew Ferguson will also join Kennedys alongside three associates.

Blanchett, who headed up Sedgwick’s financial institutions (FI) practice, focuses on commercial crime, fidelity, professional liability, directors’ and officers’ liability and media liability as well as other types of insurance. Novak specialises in insurance coverage disputes and Ferguson’s practice covers both domestic and international coverage matters.

Kennedys senior partner Nick Thomas (pictured) said that the team hire was a substantive move for its institutional practice and would significantly raise Kennedy’s US profile. ‘In addition to complementing our US offering, the team will significantly strengthen our London market capabilities, which is crucial for international FI matters.’

Kennedys merged with CMK in May, adding 43 partners to its offering as well as five offices including New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Texas.

Its recent US investments cap off a frenetic period of international expansion for the top 50 UK insurance specialist. The London-based adviser has opened five offices in Latin America since the second half of 2016. In his time as senior partner, Thomas has overseen the firm’s growth into an international insurance player, with offices in locations including Sydney, Hong Kong and Miami.

Recently the firm has also opened offices in Russia and Denmark and formed associations in Norway, Sweden and Argentina. Closer to home, in March Kennedys hired a 24-strong casualty claims team from Hill Dickinson’s Sheffield branch, resulting in the closure of the latter’s operations in the region.

With insurance clients being among the most canny and thrifty on both sides of the Atlantic, London’s band of specialist law firms are increasingly moving to go global as a means of avoiding a race to the bottom of the value chain. With sector leader Clyde & Co already well into a highly-successful expansion programme in the US, the strategy appears to be paying off far more clearly than for larger City counterparts focused on transactional work.

kathryn.mccann@legalease.co.uk

Read more: ‘Is Kennedys keeping up? Insurance player claims innovation and expansion provide the right cover’

Legal Business

‘We are seeing results’: Kennedys’ international growth continues with Melbourne launch

‘We are seeing results’: Kennedys’ international growth continues with Melbourne launch

Insurance specialist Kennedys is continuing to invest in its international operations by expanding into Melbourne through what is its seventh international office opening and eighth lateral hire this year.

The firm’s second Australian base will be led by Michael Kavanagh from local firm Lander & Rogers, where he was a partner.

Kennedys Australia’s managing partner Matt Andrews said the insurance-focused firm is aiming more closely with a number of its ‘local and global clients’ based in Melbourne.

The second Australian opening after the Sydney office in 2006 follows that of five US offices as part of the merger with Carroll McNulty & Kullin May and one in Mexico City in January. The firm now has 28 offices, 10 in the UK and 18 worldwide.

Kavanagh headed the casualty team at Lander & Rogers, where he spent 16 years advising on claims for insurers, brokers, insureds and loss adjusters. Two senior associates, Emily Unger and Uki Murphy, and lawyer Angela Woodward also join from Lander & Rogers.

Senior partner Nick Thomas told Legal Business that organic growth, laterals and international expansion had been the firm’s strategy for some time: ‘It has involved a lot of investment, but fortunately we are seeing the results. The fact that we are in different geographic areas means that we can win more clients.’

Special counsel Nicholas Blackmore will also join the Melbourne practice, transferring from Kennedys’ Hong Kong office, where he advised on IT, commercial and regulatory matters for insurers and large corporates.

Kennedys’ revenues grew by 8% to £149.9m in 2016/17, boosted by a strong western European and South American performance. Disputes accounted for 91% of fee income.

However, the recent international expansion and investment in new technology has meant that profit per equity partner (PEP) stalled at £406,000. The firm increased its lawyer headcount by 13% to 785 in one year and has also put about £3m a year into technological innovation since 2013.

Kennedys is part of a group of top-50 insurance and shipping specialists whose significant top-line growth has not translated into a rise in profitability in the last financial year. Firms focused on the insurance sector are investing to keep up with the increasing need for international coverage, product specialisation and technological innovation to improve efficiency in an increasingly competitive market.

‘Firms doing more traditional stuff are struggling,’ said Thomas. ‘But then again: why are these firms struggling? Because they don’t innovate.’

marco.cillario@legalbusiness.co.uk

Legal Business

‘A complementary fit’: Kennedys acquires Manchester outfit Berg & Co

‘A complementary fit’: Kennedys acquires Manchester outfit Berg & Co

Kennedys, which yesterday (28 June) announced an 8% rise in revenue, has acquired Manchester-based Berg & Co, bringing the firm’s 50 staff into Kennedys offices in the city.

Berg provides corporate and commercial, banking and financial regulation, real estate, dispute resolution and employment legal services. The firm is led by founder and senior partner Reuben Berg and CEO Alison Loveday.

The expansion follows Kennedys tie-up with US insurance specialist Carroll McNulty & Kull (CMK), handing the London-based firm five branches across the US. The practice will be marketed as Kennedys CMK in the US. Kennedys also recently boosted its marine and shipping departments through a City merger with Waltons & Morse, adding a 28-strong legal team and five partners.

In a statement, Nick Thomas, Kennedys senior partner said the two firms were a complementary fit, allowing the businesses to offer clients significantly enhanced commercial litigation and complementary services.

‘We are also pleased to be further growing our presence in Manchester. The city’s talent pool and our increased presence there provide a strong platform to source, attract and retain talent.’

Kennedys announced 8% revenue growth for the 2016/17 period, up from £138.8m to £149.9m.

The top 30 UK law firm highlighted European growth as a key contributor to the performance. Kennedys’ continental network saw combined turnover more than double from £6.5m to £14.2m. The firm’s Dublin branch increased income 41%, from £3.5m to £4.9m as the firm invested in the Irish capital by more than doubling its office space last year.

Kennedys also pointed to growth in a number of international offices across the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and the Americas. The firm fulfilled extensive international expansion aims last year, particularly in Latin America, opening offices in Chile and Columbia, while launching greenfield operations in Brazil and Peru.

Additionally, the firm, which has yet to finalise its net income and partner profits, announced that debt had dropped to 14% of turnover, while headcount rose 10% worldwide.

kathryn.mccann@legalbusiness.co.uk

Legal Business

Financials 2016/17: Kennedys posts 8% growth as expansive insurance player builds Euro business

Financials 2016/17: Kennedys posts 8% growth as expansive insurance player builds Euro business

With a core base of demanding clients facing an uncertain future, insurance specialist Kennedys will be relieved to have posted 8% revenue growth for the 2016/17 period, up from £138.8m to £149.9m.

The top 30 UK law firm highlighted European growth as a key contributor to the performance. Kennedys’ continental network saw combined turnover more than double from £6.5m to £14.2m. The expansive firm’s Dublin branch increased income 41% from £3.5m to £4.9m as the firm increased investment in the Irish capital by more than doubling its office space last year.

Kennedys also pointed to growth in a number of international offices across the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and the Americas. The firm carried out extensive international expansion last year, particularly in Latin America, opening offices in Chile and Columbia, as well as launching greenfield operations in Brazil and Peru.

The results come as Kennedys earlier this month announced a tie-up with US insurance specialist Carroll McNulty & Kull (CMK), handing the London-based firm five branches across the US. The practice will be marketed as Kennedys CMK in the US. Kennedys also recently boosted its marine and shipping departments through a City merger with Waltons & Morse, adding a 28-strong legal team and five partners.

Additionally, the firm, which has yet to finalise its net income and partner profits, announced that debt had decreased to 14% of turnover, while headcount had increased by 10% worldwide.

Senior partner Nick Thomas (pictured) commented. ‘We have seen strong European financial growth this year as new office openings have matured, and we expect to see this replicated in other markets over the next year as office openings in those locations develop.’

The results come as a range of UK practices have this year unveiled wildly diverging financial performances for the 2016/17 trading period, with the legal market being hit on one hand by last year’s EU referendum, while sterling-based results have been flattered by the recent strength of the euro. Kennedys’ core base of insurance clients are expected to be among the most heavily-impacted industries when the UK leaves the EU.

kathryn.mccann@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Kennedys complete merger with US insurance firm Carroll McNulty & Kull

Kennedys complete merger with US insurance firm Carroll McNulty & Kull

Kennedys and US insurance firm Carroll McNulty & Kull (CMK) have completed their merger, giving the firm over 1000 lawyers across the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East.

The US legacy firm has retained its branding in the region with the new offering, now named Kennedys CMK in the US.

The merger extends Kennedys offices to New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Texas, bringing the firm’s global office count to 32. Kennedys’ Miami office will also take on the name Kennedys CMK.

The firm’s US offering specialises in coverage and defence work encompassing general liability, cyber risk, professional liability, medical malpractice, construction defect, property and casualty, surety, fidelity and reinsurance across all sectors.  It also advises on construction and healthcare, commercial litigation, real estate and employment.

One of CMK’s founders, Chris Carroll, has joined Kennedys’ Global Strategy Board as part of the move.

Kennedys senior partner Nick Thomas said: ‘I’m thrilled to complete our merger with CMK, an exceptional firm with an outstanding reputation in the US that shares the same insurance focus as we do.’

‘The global nature of the insurance market means that our clients will benefit from the expertise CMK can offer in the US. Likewise, CMK’s clients will benefit greatly from access to our network of specialists, stretching from Dublin to Auckland, and many points in between,’ he added.

Carroll said that CMK had worked with Kennedys for over 10 years on some of the biggest insurance cases of recent years.  ‘We know that we are joining forces with a firm with ambitions and a reputation to match our own and we look forward to continued growth with trusted friends, ’ he said.

Since the second half of 2016, Kennedys has opendc five offices around Latin America, in Brazil, Peru, Chile, Colombia and Mexico.

madeleine.farman@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Joining forces: Kennedys lands US merger with Carroll McNulty deal

Joining forces: Kennedys lands US merger with Carroll McNulty deal

Insurance specialist Kennedys is merging with US firm Carroll McNulty & Kull to add 43 partners to its offering.

The merger, effective from 1 June, will add five offices to Kennedys global network including New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Texas. One of CMK’s founding members Chris Carroll (pictured right) will join Kennedys global strategy board, and founding partners Joseph McNulty and Gary Kull, along with managing partner Margaret Catalano will join the firm.

Kennedys senior partner Nick Thomas (pictured left) said: ‘Our growth is always predicated on client need and the global nature of the insurance market means that our clients will benefit from the expertise CMK can offer in the US. Likewise, CMK’s clients will benefit greatly from access to our network of specialists, stretching from Dublin to Auckland, and many points in between.’

Kennedys has opened five offices in Latin America since the second half of 2016 – in Brazil, Peru, Chile, Colombia and Mexico.

At the start of this year, longstanding senior partner Thomas was re-elected to serve a fifth five year term, which commenced in February.

In his time as senior partner, Thomas has overseen the firm’s growth into an international insurance player, with offices in locations including Sydney, Hong Kong and Miami.

Recently the firm has also opened offices in Russia and Denmark and formed associations in Norway, Sweden and Argentina. In March, Kennedys hired a 24-strong casualty claims team from Hill Dickinson’s Sheffield office, resulting in the closure of the latter’s operations in the region.

The team, which will bolster Kennedy’s Sheffield office, consists of three partners and 21 support staff. The partners leading the group are Alan Dury, Suzanne Wilkinson and Paul Bedford, who all joined Hill Dickinson from DLA Piper in 2013. Collectively, they specialise in defending casualty claims related to disease and catastrophic injury matters.

victoria.young@legalease.co.uk

Read more: ‘Is Kennedys keeping up? Insurance player claims innovation and expansion provide the right cover’

Legal Business

Hill Dickinson closes Sheffield office as claims team jumps ship to Kennedys

Hill Dickinson closes Sheffield office as claims team jumps ship to Kennedys

Kennedys has hired a 24-strong casualty claims team from Hill Dickinson’s Sheffield office, resulting in the closure of the latter’s operations in the region.

The team, which will bolster Kennedy’s own Sheffield office, consists of three partners and 21 support staff. The partners leading the group are Alan Dury, Suzanne Wilkinson and Paul Bedford, who all joined Hill Dickinson from DLA Piper in 2013. Collectively, they specialise in defending casualty claims related to disease and catastrophic injury matters.

The team’s transfer to Kennedys is expected to be completed on 3 April 2017.

Hill Dickinson chief operating officer Iain Johnston told Legal Business: ‘We’re trying to make sure, whatever we do, the client gets the right level of service for as long as possible and that our people and staff get as smooth a transition as possible to the next stage of their careers.

‘As a firm we’re committed to continuing our growth strategy and our regional presence is really important, but in this particular case it was the right decision on balance.’

Kennedys senior partner Nick Thomas (pictured) said: ‘Alan is thrilled to be bringing the entire Sheffield casualty team with him. Not only do we share the same clients, which makes this a fantastic fit, Kennedys’ international network is a distinct advantage for the team.’

The firm’s Sheffield office head Suzanne Liversidge added: ‘Following our recent global expansion, we’re continuing that growth strategy with a focus on both domestic and international expansion from Europe to further afield.’

Thomas’s firm has embarked upon an expansive start to 2017, opening new offices in both Italy and Mexico since the start of the year. Mexican-born partner Michael Hennessy is heading up the new Mexico office, with Egidio Rinaldi leading a team of nine partners across offices in Milan, Rome and Bologna.

tom.baker@legalease.co.uk

Read more: ‘Is Kennedys keeping up? Insurance player claims innovation and expansion provide the right cover’

 

Legal Business

Nick Thomas wins uncontested ballot for another five-year term as Kennedys’ senior partner

Nick Thomas wins uncontested ballot for another five-year term as Kennedys’ senior partner

Insurance specialist Kennedys‘ longstanding senior partner Nick Thomas has been re-elected to serve a fifth five-year term. It is understood that the election was held this week and Thomas (pictured) was elected unopposed. His new term commences February 2017.

Thomas, who became senior partner of the firm in 1996, currently carries out that role in addition to chief executive duties after previous chief executive Guy Stobart stood down at the end of 2014. There are no plans to replace Stobart, with Thomas supported instead by a roster of directors.

In his time as senior partner, Thomas has overseen the firm’s growth into an international insurance player, with offices in locations including Sydney, Hong Kong, Brazil and Miami.

Kennedys carried out extensive international expansion last year, particularly in Latin America, opening offices in Mexico, Chile and Columbia, as well as greenfield sites in Brazil and Peru.

Just last week the firm continued its aggressive global expansion by entering into a formal association with Italian firm Studio Legale Rinaldi Associati (RASS), providing the firm with offices in Milan, Rome and Bologna.

Recently the firm has also opened offices in Russia and Denmark and formed associations in Norway, Sweden and Argentina bringing the firm’s total number of offices to six in continental Europe, as well as seven associate offices, including Paris and Warsaw.

Additionally, the insurance specialist is planning to more than double its office space in Dublin, as well as boosting its marine and shipping departments through a City merger with boutique firm Waltons & Morse, which added a 28-strong legal team and five partners.

kathryn.mccann@legalease.co.uk

Read more: ‘Is Kennedys keeping up? Insurance player claims innovation and expansion provide the right cover’

Legal Business

‘International reach’: Kennedys continues global expansion with Europe association

‘International reach’: Kennedys continues global expansion with Europe association

Kennedys has continued its aggressive global expansion by entering into a formal association with Italian firm Studio Legale Rinaldi Associati (RASS), providing the firm with offices in Milan, Rome and Bologna.

According to Kennedys, formalising the relationship was a result of an increased volume of cross-border and international referrals. RASS, which has nine partners and is led by Egidio Rinaldi, provides insurance claims, coverage and litigation advice, particularly through their property and casualty practice.

Kennedys’ senior partner Nick Thomas (pictured) said the tie-up will enable the firm to provide clients with strong litigation and dispute resolution services in Italy and focus on insurance coverage issues and claims defence work.

He added: ‘Expanding our international reach remains key to our strategy and this association with RASS brings more opportunities for our global network.’

Kennedys carried out extensive international expansion last year, particularly in Latin America, opening offices in Chile and Columbia, as well as greenfield sites in Brazil and Peru.

Recently the firm has also opened offices in Russia and Denmark and formed associations in Norway, Sweden and Argentina bringing the firm’s total number of offices to six in continental Europe, as well as seven associate offices, including Paris and Warsaw.

Additionally, the insurance specialist is planning to more than double its office space in Dublin, as well as boosting its marine and shipping departments through a City merger with boutique firm Waltons & Morse, which added a 28-strong legal team and five partners.

Legal Business revealed in September that Thomas is to stand uncontested for a fifth five-year term as Kennedys’ senior partner. The election will be held this month, with voting closing in a few weeks and the new term commencing February.

kathryn.mccann@legalease.co.uk

Read more: ‘Is Kennedys keeping up? Insurance player claims innovation and expansion provide the right cover’