DLA Piper NZ Suffer Second Law Talent Swoop From Rival

Trans-Tasman law firm Wotton + Kearney has made a lateral recruitment move on DLA taking a team of insurance lawyers, including partner Peter Leman, who has been an insurance litigator for 35 years and including Caroline Laband and Misha Henaghan.

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Wotton + Kearney has grown rapidly as one of the largest dedicated insurance law firms in Australasia, growing from its two founders to a firm of over 200 insurance lawyers. In 2017 the firm aligned with its New Zealand partner DAC Beachcroft to expand its local footprint and grow its insurance law practice in New Zealand.

The DLA insurance law team will join Wotton + Kearney on Feb. 1 bringing the firm’s insurance law and dispute resolution practice to 14 partners and over 80 staff, which Wotton + Kearney says will be the largest in New Zealand. The addition of the DLA team means Wotton + Kearney will have over 330 dedicated insurance lawyers, including 57 partners across its six offices in New Zealand and Australia, they said in their press release.

Leman (pictured above left) is based in Wellington and has been an insurance litigator for 35 years, specialising in coverage issues in property and liability classes and regularly advises on and defends material damage, business interruption, public and professional liability, and statutory liability claims.

Laband (pictured above centre) is based is Auckland and specialises in steering insurers and insureds through contentious insurance issues. Described by Chambers as “one of the best insurance litigators in New Zealand,” Laband has over 20 years’ experience acting in High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and arbitration proceedings. She also acts for companies and directors in financial services regulatory investigations and claims against directors.

Henaghan (pictured above right) is also based in Auckland and has more than 15 years’ experience in litigation and dispute resolution. She acts for clients in the areas of professional indemnity (including disciplinary claims) and liability (including product and statutory liability). Henaghan represents construction, financial services and healthcare professionals in contentious matters and provides coverage advice to insurers.

The move follows Wotton + Kearney’s swoop for the former New Zealand DLA healthcare team in January 2019.

“In considering this move, the first thing we did was talk to our clients about what this move would look like for them,” said Antony Holden, Wotton + Kearney New Zealand managing partner. “We were delighted with their responses and are convinced Wotton + Kearney has the most compelling insurance practice in the NZ market. Peter, Caroline and Misha and their teams share our passion for insurance law, and we warmly welcome them to W+K. With our combined team, we now offer market-leading expertise and unrivalled depth and breadth across all commercial insurance lines. I’m very excited about the value this will create for our clients as we meet their immediate and future needs.”

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