Washington, D.C. (February 13, 2006) Heller Ehrman LLP and Swidler Ber…

Washington, D.C. (February 13, 2006) Heller Ehrman LLP and Swidler Berlin LLP jointly announced today that Swidler’s Insurance Group is joining the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. Following the merger announcement between Swidler Berlin LLP and Bingham McCutchen LLP, Swidler’s Insurance Group, headed by Mark J. Plumer who was formerly Chair of Swidler’s Insurance Practice Group and a Swidler Director, elected to move their practice to Heller Ehrman to avoid client conflicts created by the merger. In addition to Mr. Plumer, the other shareholders joining Heller Ehrman include Bernard P. Bell, David F. Klein and Peri N. Mahaley. Three associates, two special counsel, and three consultants from Swidler’s affiliate, Harbour Consulting, also will be joining Heller Ehrman.

“We’re very excited about Mark and his outstanding group joining us in Washington, D.C.,” said Geoffrey Aronow, newly appointed Office Managing Shareholder of Heller Ehrman’s Washington, D.C. office. “We are particularly pleased that these highly-regarded insurance recovery attorneys chose to join us at Heller Ehrman. They give us additional breadth and depth here on the East Coast and are an ideal complement to our existing powerhouse insurance recovery practice. Serving clients such as Kaiser Aluminum, Sony Electronics, Hewlett Packard, GMAC, and a host of others, our insurance recovery group recovered more than $2 billion for corporate policyholders in the last three years. With the addition of the Swidler group, we are ideally positioned to be an even more formidable force in insurance recovery nationally. The addition of these twelve new professionals also serves our continuing strategic goal of significant East Coast expansion.”

“Heller Ehrman has one of the premier policyholder-side insurance practices in the United States and their unsurpassed reputation and reach were key factors in our decision to join the firm,” said Mr. Plumer on behalf of the group. “During the Swidler-Bingham merger discussions, after it became clear we were leaving, we focused on finding a new home where we felt our practice could thrive and where we could contribute to building the premier insurance recovery practice in the nation. Heller Ehrman had all of the right pieces for us: a strong platform, global reach, outstanding clients, a true team-orientation and excellent lawyers.”

“The insurance recovery practice has been an integral part of Swidler’s success for over a decade,” said Swidler Berlin’s Managing Partner Barry Direnfeld, “and we truly regret that their practice will not fit within Bingham after our merger. The firm will sorely miss the group’s contributions to our success, and Mark’s energy and counsel among our leadership. We wish them great success at Heller Ehrman.”

Mark J. Plumer
Mr. Plumer earned his B.A. from Franklin & Marshall College, cum laude, and his J.D., cum laude, from George Washington University Law School. As former Chair of Swidler’s Insurance Practice Group, he specializes in resolving insurance coverage disputes and providing counsel to insured companies on insurance related issues. Mr. Plumer’s practice includes resolving coverage disputes with insurance companies involving a broad array of losses, including products, environmental and other business-related claims. He has also served as lead counsel on behalf of Fortune 500 companies in litigation matters involving a variety of procedural and substantive issues.

Bernard P. Bell
Mr. Bell earned his B.A. from Colgate University, cum laude, and his J.D. from Fordham University School of Law. His practice focuses on representation of corporate policyholders and their individual directors and officers in complex insurance coverage matters. Mr. Bell has extensive civil litigation experience in federal and state courts on an assortment of matters, including environmental, securities, libel and products liability claims. His previous clients include companies in the oil refining and marketing, gas and electric utility, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, financial services, apparel and real estate industries.

David F. Klein
Mr. Klein received his B.A. from Boston University, summa cum laude, and his J.D., from Yale Law School. His practice focuses on resolving disputes with insurance carriers without resort to litigation, through the development and presentation to insurers of a persuasive description of their coverage risks that combines legal argument with scientific, technical and economic analysis. Mr. Klein has represented clients in federal and state trial and appellate courts throughout the nation and has practiced before various administration agencies and represented clients in mediation.

Peri N. Mahaley
Ms. Mahaley received her B.S.F.S. from Georgetown University, summa cum laude, and her J.D., magna cum laude, from Georgetown University Law Center. Her practice focuses on complex insurance coverage litigation and dispute resolution exclusively on behalf of policyholders. Ms. Mahaley’s clients include companies from a broad range of industries such as oil and gas, public utilities, manufacturing, construction and engineering, chemicals and health care. She litigates insurance coverage matters and other commercial disputes in federal and state courts around the country and she has extensive experience in alternative dispute resolution techniques, including private negotiated settlements, mediations and arbitrations.

Heller Ehrman’s Insurance Recovery Practice Group is one of the world’s largest, most successful policyholder-side insurance recovery practices. For more than 100 years, we have represented policyholders in litigation and non-litigation insurance disputes, and provided risk management counseling and insurance advice in the most challenging and important matters. We represent policyholders in virtually all major industries in pursuit of insurance proceeds for their existing and potential liabilities in environmental, toxic tort, life sciences and medical device, intellectual property, product liability, securities and corporate governance, finance, consumer class action, real estate/construction and employment matters. Our attorneys have set important insurance precedents and have been involved in numerous large and high-profile insurance coverage cases.

Facts About Our Insurance Recovery Practice

* Recovered more than $2 billion from insurers for policyholders in the last three years.

* Ranked by Chambers USA as the Number 1 and 2 insurance coverage practice in California and Washington, D.C., respectively. Chambers also recognized eight of our lawyers as among the best in the nation.

* With the addition of the group from Swidler Berlin, the Insurance Recovery Practice now totals some 60 attorneys and professionals working on some of the highest profile insurance coverage matters in the world, including claims arising out of the collapse of the World Trade Center and Hurricane Katrina.

* Responsible for the development of favorable law for policyholders, including 49 published opinions on insurance matters dating back to 1943 on behalf of clients such as American Airlines, Inc., BP, Bank of America, Levi Strauss & Company, NEC Electronics America, Inc., Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Sprectra-Physics, Inc. and Syntex (USA) Inc.

Heller Ehrman’s Washington, D.C. office, which recently moved to new landmark space at 1717 Rhode Island Ave., NW, represents clients in matters involving litigation, antitrust, securities enforcement, intellectual property (with a special emphasis in life sciences), energy, food and drug, and international matters. In addition to representing our clients in state and federal courts throughout the country, our lawyers represent clients before the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Federal Trade Commission, Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office various divisions of the United States Department of Justice, and in departments and agencies throughout the U.S. government.

Heller Ehrman LLP has more than 700 attorneys and professionals in 12 offices worldwide – Anchorage; Beijing; Hong Kong; Los Angeles; Madison, WI; New York; San Diego; San Francisco; Seattle; Silicon Valley; Singapore; and Washington, D.C. As a full-service law firm, we represent a wide range of industry leaders, from entrepreneurial, technology-driven enterprises to established, multinational conglomerates. At Heller Ehrman, we take a multidisciplinary approach to the practice of law, drawing upon our legal, scientific and industry knowledge from across the firm to build the best legal teams for our clients. Through commitment to our core values of Excellence, People, Teamwork, Innovation, Community and One Firm, we offer clients unparalleled legal service.


John Buchanan
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Alexi Estrella
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Ellen Katkin
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