Legalign Global alliance member, Wotton + Kearney, has opened a new office in Adelaide, Australia. This move continues the firm’s growth trajectory and expanding its footprint into seven cities across Australia and New Zealand – and further expands our global coverage.
David Kearney, Wotton + Kearney’s Chief Executive Partner, said: “Our expansion into Adelaide will meet our increasing local client demand. It’s also a great example of our People First strategy in practice. Throughout the pandemic, we had lawyers who understandably wanted to work from home in their home town. That worked so well that we have now opened an office for the team.”
The firm’s move into Adelaide is the latest chapter in its growth story. It follows recent senior appointments across its Property, Energy & Construction, Financial Lines and General Liability practices and in the specialty lines of Cyber, Marine & Transport and Health, as well as the arrival of the former DLA insurance team in New Zealand.
Wotton + Kearney now has more than 330 dedicated insurance lawyers, including 58 partners, across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Wellington and Auckland. To meet insurer’s needs, the firm also has an active presence in the London and Singapore markets and continues to actively recruit.
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
Welcome to Wotton + Kearney’s NZ Insurance Market Trends Update, our biannual snapshot of legal trends and developments impacting claims managers, underwriters, brokers and corporates operating in the New Zealand market.
In this edition, we look at the impact of recent matters in the areas of D&O claims, representative actions and EPL. We provide updates on longer-standing issues, such as exclusions in construction defect claims, and increased levels of regulatory pressure adding to professional indemnity risks.
We also look at some emerging trends, such as the employment claims falling out of the pandemic, the need to navigate the new Privacy Act and mandatory reporting requirements for cyber incidents, and new regulatory pressures on the medico-legal sector.
If you have any queries about any of these emerging issues or would like to know more, please get in touch with our authors or key contacts. You can read the full update at the link below or directly download a PDF here.
Managing Partner – New Zealand
A recent case note from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner highlights how failures to keep personal information up-to-date, and to act on requests to update information, can lead to privacy exposures.
In this short article, Wotton + Kearney’s Mark Anderson, Joseph Fitzgerald and Johnson Zhuang look at the issues raised and ways to manage similar risks.
Click on the download below to read the full update.
Congratulations to Natasha Cannon, Senior Associate in Wotton + Kearney’s Wellington office, who has been named in NZ Lawyer’s 2021 Rising Stars Report released today. The Rising Stars Report recognises excellence in young lawyers in New Zealand — those who are showing signs of becoming the industry’s future leaders.
Natasha was also recently recognised by a client in The Legal 500 Asia-Pacific who said: “A rising star of the firm is senior associate Natasha Cannon who has assisted us often in the real estate space and is approachable, offering practical solutions for resolution.”
Natasha has previously worked for international firms in both Australia and London. She specialises in professional liability, product liability, subrogated recoveries and general liability. She is also experienced in high value and complex litigation, including in the design and construction space, as well as disciplinary proceedings.
“Natasha is a thorough litigator with excellent written and oral advocacy skills. She is committed to our clients and has a great eye for identifying the strategy that will obtain the right result for them. I’m delighted to see her acknowledged in this way for her outstanding legal work, as well as her contribution to the firm and the wider sector,” said Antony Holden, Managing Partner of Wotton + Kearney in New Zealand.
You can read more on the 2021 Rising Star Report here.
Wotton + Kearney is pleased to have 23 senior lawyers featured in the 2022 edition of Best Lawyers Australia and New Zealand. We received 35 listings in total across a range of insurance law and litigation categories. Recognition in Best Lawyers is based on peer review and feedback from leading lawyers on the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same legal practice and location. Our full listing is below. Congratulations to you all.
Recognised Lawyers – Australia & New Zealand
- Mark Anderson – Privacy and Data Security law
- Aimee Credin – Insurance Law, Litigation
- Sophie Lucas – Insurance Law
- Rebecca Scott – Insurance Law
- Raisa Conchin – Insurance Law, Professional Malpractice Litigation
- Paul Spezza – Personal Injury Litigation
- Brooke Jacobs – Insurance Law
- Andrew Brennan – Insurance Law
- Cain Jackson – Class Action Litigation, Insurance Law, Professional Malpractice Litigation
- Nick Lux – Professional Malpractice Litigation
- Edward O’Brien – Insurance Law
- Andrew Seiter – Personal Injury Litigation
- Robin Shute – Insurance Law, Personal Injury Litigation
- Belinda Henningham – Insurance Law, Personal Injury Litigation, Product Liability Litigation
- David Kearney – Insurance Law
- Andrew Moore – Insurance Law, Professional Malpractice Litigation
- Sean O’Connor – Insurance Law, Personal Injury Litigation
- Wes Rose – Insurance law, Professional Malpractice Litigation
- Katie Shanks – Insurance Law
- Charles Simon – Insurance Law, Personal Injury Litigation
The home of fresh thinking about key insurance topics by subject matter experts from around the world.
We curate our thought leadership around the insurance topics that matter most.
We anticipate issues and opportunities for clients and share our future-focused insights in this annual report.