Kennedys strengthens professional liability practice with four partner hire

We are pleased to announce that we have enhanced our professional liability capabilities with the appointment of four partners and two associates across three of our UK offices.

Professional indemnity (PI) specialist Paul Castellani, who will be based in our London office, joins from RPC where he has been a partner for ten years. His appointment will enhance our London Market insurance practice.

Specialising in professional indemnity insurance, Paul deals with both coverage issues and defence of claims involving solicitors, surveyors and insurance industry professionals. He predominantly acts for larger professional services firms, or in dealing with claims involving complex issues of fact or law, or with multiple parties. He also advises insurers in relation to coverage issues arising under financial lines, D&O and all classes of professional indemnity insurance.

In our Birmingham office, we welcome a team of lawyers, who join from DWF, comprising two partners, Paul Chaplin and Steve Oates, and two associates, Eliza Kwok and Scott Lawton.

Paul is one of Birmingham’s pre-eminent PI lawyers and headed the Birmingham PI team at DWF prior to joining Kennedys. He specialises in defending claims against professional entities and their insurers on behalf of solicitors, financial services providers, accountants, construction professionals and brokers. He brings experience of defending claims to trial and subsequent appeals to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court; as well as dispute resolution expertise, including mediation and arbitration. This includes resolution of disputes before the Financial Ombudsman and Pensions Ombudsman.

Upon qualifying as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives in 1992, Paul became one of the first chartered legal executive partners in the country.

These are significant strategic moves for Kennedys, bringing in market-leading lawyers to further strengthen our London and regional offering, which has always grown in response to client need.

Steve has worked alongside Paul for over a decade and focuses on defending lawyers, construction/property professionals, insurance brokers and expert witnesses. He also advises on policy coverage/disputes as well as drafting and advising on construction and commercial contracts, with experience in litigation, arbitration and adjudication. Steve also advises on directors’ and officers’ coverage and the defence of these matters. He is also qualified in the Republic of Ireland.

Completing the quadruple of partner hires, Helen Ager has been hired to head up the professional liability team in our Taunton office, where she joins as partner from DAC Beachcroft.

A professional indemnity specialist, Helen previously worked in our London office after qualifying in 1989, before moving to Newcastle in 1994, where she joined regional firm Crutes.

At Crutes Helen became a partner in 1997 and managing partner in 2005. In 2012, she oversaw the merger of Crutes with DWF. Following the merger, Helen became an equity partner and executive partner of DWF’s Newcastle office. In 2016 she moved with the firm’s Newcastle insurance team over to DAC Beachcroft.

Nick Thomas, Senior Partner at Kennedys, says: “These are significant strategic moves for Kennedys, bringing in market-leading lawyers to further strengthen our London and regional offering, which has always grown in response to client need. I welcome them all and I am confident they will enjoy every success with Kennedys.”

Jeremy Riley, who heads our professional liability practice, says: “I am delighted to welcome Paul, Helen, Steve and Paul to Kennedys. They are all a natural fit for the firm and their collective experience will significantly enhance our existing capabilities, making us an even more powerful professional indemnity team both nationally and regionally.”

We have significantly strengthened our global insurance practice in recent times with the appointment of Louis Kozloff as partner to the Philadelphia office last month, the arrival of a 12-strong market-leading team from Norton Rose Fulbright in June, which boosted our marine and energy capabilities, and the addition of Maurice Pesso and Greg Steinberg in May as partners to our New Jersey and New York offices, respectively, which strengthened our global financial lines practice.

In June, we reported record turnover of £217m for the financial year 2017/18, representing a 12% increase on the previous financial year (£193m) and is the first time our revenue has topped £200m. This growth was supported by a 7% increase in the number of fee-earners worldwide, with our total headcount exceeding 2,000 for the first time in our history.

This continued growth has led to the appointment of Suzanne Liversidge as our first ever global managing partner, which was announced two weeks ago.