#BreakingTheBias – Lawyers don’t come in one shape or form
To celebrate International Women’s Day 2022, our Legalign colleagues have once again joined together to create a series of videos to share real stories from across our network in support of this year’s theme – #BreakTheBias. In the first of three videos Caitlin Barclay, Caroline Cherry, Katja Labusga and Celena Mayo talk about their own career journeys to explain why lawyers don’t need to come in one shape or form.
2020 has reminded us all how quickly our world can be turned upside down. As the market considers how best to prepare for a resilient future, scenario planning is a key tool that can begin to provide the answers.
Wotton + Kearney has joined with our Legalign Global alliance partners to produce the Critical Uncertainties series of reports. The overarching Critical Uncertainties Thought Leadership Report highlights how scenario planning is key to preparing for a resilient future. We look at both critical certainties (such as climate change) and critical uncertainties – which are events that if happen, could be very disruptive.
There are also four additional reports which take a deeper dive into some of the critical certainties and uncertainties, such as climate change, cyber risk, social unrest and the impacts on global workforces which senior W+K specialists have contributed to. You can also view all Legalign Global Thought Leadership on DACB Beachcroft’s Informed Insurance micro-site.
- Critical Uncertainties – Resilience in the face of uncertainties: more than just keeping the lights on. Download PDF
- Climate Change – The rising tides of uncertainty (Kristine Vale, W+K). Download PDF
- Cyber – Four mismatches and misconceptions that could cost cyber dear (Kieran Doyle, W+K). Download PDF
- Social Unrest – Resilience in restless times (Kristine Vale, W+K). Download PDF
- World of Work – Work in progress: a full horse? (Chris Mossman, Rebecca Scott, Murray Grant, W+K). Download PDF
The growing dependence on technology and our hurried transition to remote working as a result of the pandemic has increased opportunities for malicious cyber-actors to target vulnerable organisations.
Wotton + Kearney’s Australian Cyber Team Kieran Doyle talks to Insurance NEWS on the impact on the insurance industry of the government’s efforts to improve Australia’s cyber-resilience and crack-down on e-crime and state sponsored cyber-attacks.
You can download the full article below.
Wotton + Kearney has appointed David Nathan as its first Non-Executive Chair, effective 1 December 2020. His appointment follows an extensive market search and the firm’s move to an incorporated model in July 2019.
David is an experienced Chair and NED with a demonstrated history of working across many industries, including insurance, professional services and health. He previously led Australia’s largest professional indemnity insurer, Avant Mutual, and its boutique private health insurer, the Doctors’ Health Fund. Before that David led the Australian offices of global law firm Baker McKenzie. David is also currently the Chair of the RSL’s National Board and the City Fertility Centre, and a non-executive director at Momentum Life NZ, Campbell Page, the Australasian Foundation of Plastic Surgery and the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce.
“I have a long-standing passion for the insurance industry and for professional services firms. Wotton + Kearney is a young, dynamic law firm that puts the insurance sector at the epicentre of everything it does. I am excited by the prospect of assisting them to achieve their strategic objective to put their clients at the heart of what they do, as they continue their impressive growth,” said David Nathan.
Wotton + Kearney’s Chief Executive Partner David Kearney added: “David’s combination of insurance and law firm experience made him the perfect choice for Wotton + Kearney. We’re confident, given his expertise in both law firm management and as a non-executive director, that he will guide Wotton + Kearney in achieving its strategic goals with an informed, independent perspective.”
David Nathan, Non-Executive Chair
There have been a number of general liability trends strengthening or emerging across 2020.
Construction risks remain a hot topic given the increased infrastructure activity across all states, coupled with the high levels of political, public and media attention on building defects and cladding issues. There is also growing interest in litigation funding activity focussing on nuisance-based economic loss claims. Another sector reported to have a strong pipeline of planned activity is mining. This will shine a light on an increase in mine site injury claims and ‘worker to worker’ claims across the industry.
Following the Royal Commissions, we continue to see high levels of historical sexual abuse claims and expect to see a rise in abuse and neglect claims in the aged care and disability sectors. In the mental health injury claim space, the circumstances in which claims are being brought are expanding. This is causing a rise in claim levels and, at times, creating complex policy indemnity issues. Concern is also growing around a number of significant risks seen globally, including latent injury risks, concussion in sport, climate change and COVID-19.
You can view the full update here. Also below we will be adding a series of short video overviews from our senior specialists on each of the trends. If you would like to discuss any of the topics covered in this update, please contact me or one of W+K’s general liability partners.
Partner & General Liability Practice Leader
T: +61 2 8273 9911
Wotton + Kearney is delighted to announce our most recent senior promotions in Australia and New Zealand, including two new partners – Angela Winkler and James Clohesy – and 15 senior lawyers, effective 1 January 2021.
The latest promotions take the firm’s numbers to 44 partners and more than 220 dedicated insurance lawyers. Wotton + Kearney’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is also reflected in these promotions as 59% of the lawyers appointed to new senior roles are women. With the well-deserved promotions of Angela Winkler and James Clohesy to partner, the firm’s general liability practice continues to go from strength to strength to meet client demand.
Chief Executive Partner David Kearney comments: “These senior promotions, which are across all of our offices and practice groups, together with the 13 promotions we made in July this year, reflect Wotton + Kearney’s commitment to offer our clients deeper expertise. With our people first culture, we do this by recognising emerging talent and growing our ranks of senior specialists in key insurance lines.”
The full list of promoted senior lawyers is below:
Angela Winkler – General Liability (Sydney)
Angela is an experienced general liability lawyer who advises on personal injury matters, as well as property damage and professional indemnity claims. With both international and local experience, Angela has honed her highly commercial and cost-efficient claims management skills and understands the key drivers of an insurer’s claims function.
James Clohesy – General Liability (Sydney)
James specialises in property and construction third party claims, as well as intentional torts, general and product liability matters. He is particularly known for his ability to identify key issues clearly and quickly in coverage matters, dual insurance actions and large-scale litigated claims.
- Emma Bray – General Liability (Brisbane)
- Emily Payne – General Liability (Melbourne)
- Natalie Bountros – General Liability (Sydney)
- Andrea Carnuccio – General Liability (Sydney)
- Patrick Thompson – General Liability (Sydney)
- Luke Vincent – Financial Lines (Sydney)
- James Dymock – Financial Lines (Auckland)
- Sasha Davey – Financial Lines (Brisbane)
- Samantha Younane – Financial Lines (Melbourne)
- Tully Anders – General Liability (Melbourne)
- Sophie Crowther – General Liability (Melbourne)
- Diviij Vijayakumar – General Liability (Perth)
- Bridget Carpenter – General Liability (Sydney)
- Ryan Owens – Property & Energy (Sydney)
- Kate Wills – Medico-Legal/Employment (Wellington)
A year after the Royal Commission report was submitted, claims handling has emerged in its wake as one of the biggest issues for the insurance industry.
The Financial Sector Reform (Hayne Royal Commission Response) Act 2020 (the Act) was given assent on 17 December 2020. Schedule 4 of the Act which has the effect of making handling and settling a claim a financial service under the Corporations Act 2001 (Corporations Act) will commence on 1 January 2021. As a consequence, insurers will face higher compliance costs and a more assertive regulator in 2021.
Click on the download to read the full article.
Wotton + Kearney has been recognised as a Band 1 insurance law firm in Australia for the ninth consecutive year in the 2021 Chambers and Partners Asia-Pacific rankings, and has retained its long-standing Band 2 position in New Zealand. Eight of the firm’s senior lawyers were also individually rated.
Chambers says Wotton + Kearney is known for being a “well-regarded insurance powerhouse acting for major insurers on big-ticket disputes, including public and product liability, financial lines and professional indemnity matters” and possessing “an impressive trans-Tasman footprint”. The directory goes on to say: “The specialised orientation of the firm is the decisive factor in the minds of a number of clients” and “consistency of quality is also a frequently stressed theme.”
Chief Executive Partner David Kearney said: “I have really appreciated the client feedback about the firm, including one comment that reflects the value of our “People First” strategy: ‘They’ve done a very good job in having the right people with the right skills and experience. With that diversity, there wouldn’t be many matters where we wouldn’t consider them’. I was also delighted to see Cain Jackson move up to a Band 1 individual in Australia, and Sophie Lucas and Andrew Moore being individually recognised for the first time in New Zealand.”
Along with the firm rankings, eight Wotton + Kearney senior lawyers were individually ranked:
- David Kearney (Eminent Practitioner) – widespread acknowledgement for having played “a big part in the impressive growth of the firm” and continues to oversee its interactions with its impressive roster of clients, one of whom says: “He’s very committed to the market and ensures that the firm stays on top of its relationships with insurers and meets the changing needs of the industry.”
- Cain Jackson (Band 1) – ranked since 2013 with interviewees characterising him as “a very good lawyer with a great reputation who knows his stuff” and “one of the best in Australia.” Another source reported: “We find Cain to be an excellent all-rounder, not only in the technical and strategic senses, but also as someone who is always thinking of what our next step should be, why that should be and how to get there.”
- Andrew Moore (Band 3) – singled out by an interviewee as being a practitioner who “combines strong customer focus with good technical ability and balanced advice” and being “very responsive, especially when we have a tight timeframe.”
- Adam Chylek (Band 4) – described as “[commanding] widespread market recognition as a partner who ‘gets a lot of good work’ in the insurance space, particularly where property-related matters are concerned”.
- Antony Holden (Band 2) – ranked since 2016 and identified as “a go-to guy” by a client who goes on to praise his “thoroughness, advocacy and commercially astute negotiation style”.
- Mathew Francis (Band 4) – listed for the fourth year running and described by a client as an “excellent technical lawyer and communicator”.
- Sophie Lucas (Band 4) – newly ranked and assessed as “[standing] out for her expertise concerning professional indemnity and liability issues”, with one interviewee calling her an “excellent, well-regarded practitioner doing an excellent job”.
- Andrew Moore (Up and Coming) – newly listed in the Up and Coming category and said to be “widely viewed as ‘a young lawyer with a very bright future’”.
Wotton + Kearney has appointed two new partners, Chantal van Grieken, a highly regarded general liability practitioner, and Sian Gilbert, an EPL Accredited Specialist. Chantal and Sian, who were formerly with HWL Ebsworth, will join the firm on 1 February 2021.
Chantal is known for her expertise in the areas of public liability, workers actions, statutory third party recoveries, property damage and product liability. She has broad industry experience acting for both local and international insurers, and advises shopping centre owners/managers, REITs, manufacturers and construction and engineering companies in this capacity. She also advises manufacturers and other parties in the product supply chain on product recalls and associated claims.
Chantal said: “I’m excited to be joining Wotton + Kearney’s General Liability Team. I’m looking forward to being part of a firm that has such a clear vision for future growth, strong collaborative practices and a people first culture.”
Sian is an Accredited Specialist in Employment and Industrial Relations who is particularly known for her high level of technical skills, efficiency and strong client relationships. She advises insurers, financial institutions and government employers on EPL matters, spanning WHS prosecutions, coronial inquiries, general protections disputes, sexual harassment claims and unfair dismissals. She also advises on contract and management disputes, including applications for injunctive relief over contractual restraints.
“Wotton + Kearney has an outstanding market reputation due to the calibre of its team and its singular focus on insurance. I’m delighted to be joining the team,” Sian added.
“Both Chantal and Sian are known for their high quality legal advice, pragmatic approach and strong client relationships. We’re delighted they are joining Wotton + Kearney as they will be a great addition to our national General Liability and EPL teams and share our commitment to providing outstanding service to the insurance market. As W+K is a firm committed to improving diversity and inclusion in our industry, we’re also pleased that their arrival will further boost female representation in our partner ranks,” said David Kearney, Wotton + Kearney’s Chief Executive Partner.
You can view their full profiles at the links below.
Chantal van Grieken – Partner, General Liability
Sian Gilbert – Partner, Work Health & Safety/EPL
Last year, vulnerable members of our communities needed more help than ever before. Through our Pro Bono and Responsible Business program, Community Footprint, W+K was able to help people experiencing homelessness, refugees and people seeking asylum, people experiencing domestic violence, and the elderly.
Our Community Footprint program is a core part of who we are, how we do business and how we give back to our communities.
The Community Footprint FY2020 Report highlights many of the impactful ways we contributed to our communities during a very challenging year, including:
- extending our partnership with the Black Dog Institute to help address mental health issues
- contributing more than 3,000 pro bono and community hours
- running 9 pro bono clinics, including remote offerings
- providing two pro bono secondments and hosting three pro bono interns
- providing financial support to 15 charity partners
- donating goods and other essential items, and
- making ‘kindness calls’.
Our plans for 2021 are even more ambitious and include a W+K team trekking the Larapinta Trail with the goal of raising more than $100,000 for the Black Dog Institute and improving mental health. If you’d like to know more about our Community Footprint program, please get in touch.
You can view a short video overview of the report below or read the full report here or at the button below.
Wotton + Kearney is pleased to provide our 2021 Insurance Predictions Report, looking at the major trends and issues we expect will remain in the spotlight for the insurance industry in our region this year.
It’s no surprise that this report addresses some of the horizon issues that we expect to face in the wake of COVID-19, ranging from pandemic-related mould and legionella risks to class action exposures.
We look at the way many longer-standing issues continue to evolve, including corporate governance exposures, litigation funding, the impact of climate risks, the rising stakes around cyber security, and increasing levels of regulatory pressure.
We also consider emerging issues, such as the real likelihood of a local sports injury class action, the constantly expanding circumstances behind mental health injury claims and the complex coverage questions raised given the potential application of multiple policy periods.
This publication features predictions made by senior lawyers from Wotton + Kearney’s Australian and New Zealand offices, which have been grouped and categorised by major product lines for your convenience.
You can also view more than 140 global predictions on the Informed Insurance microsite hosted by our Legalign Global colleagues, DAC Beachcroft, with contributions from all five Legalign Global alliance firms.
I hope you enjoy reading our latest predictions report. Our team of insurance specialists are available to discuss any of these issues with you.
Chief Executive Partner
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