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Why has Gary Dixon been so busy for the last few years? Because early in his career he chose to specialize in directors’ and officers’ insurance. The accounting scandals that have inspired so many news stories have also kept the Ross, Dixon & Bell partner on his toes. When directors and officers are sued for their role in business disasters, they look to their corporation’s D&O insurance policies for protection. Dixon, 56, has been counseling issuers of D&O policies involved in some of the most notorious creative-accounting cases, including Adelphia, Enron, Tyco, and WorldCom. Dixon has also represented an insurance company in the securities litigation and derivative suits related to accounting fraud at HealthSouth. He has worked on settlement negotiations in the HealthSouth case for the last three years, and he says they’re close to a conclusion. Over the years, Dixon has handled some rather unusual coverage disputes, including claims involving John Lennon, Joe Theismann, and the New York Yankees. But it has been some of the less eye-catching cases that have proved the most memorable. In 1984, he was brought into a D&O liability case involving Beverly Hills Savings & Loan Association. At the time, it was the biggest savings-and-loan collapse in the country, he says. Dixon represented the insurer that had provided the D&O policy. The case settled after seven long years of litigation. It was through that case that he met San Diego-based litigator Roy Bell, who 15 years later would merge his firm with Dixon’s. Clients say that Dixon has an ability to make them feel as if each one of them is his only concern. “Gary is very good at servicing exactly what you want, where other lawyers fall on their face in that regard,” says Richard Ruffee, senior vice president of claims at HCC Global Financial Products, which provides D&O insurance to public and private companies. “We’ll send him a new claim or case, and he can give us a distilled, precise analysis of where it’s likely to go.” Back in the early 1980s, Dixon took a chance on where his whole field was likely to go. Like many others, he could see that a flood of insurance cases was building. But unlike many others, he decided to ride the wave. So he, Stuart Ross, Harold “Skip” Masback III, and four other colleagues left D.C.’s Hogan & Hartson in 1983 to launch what was then Ross, Dixon & Masback. Masback later left the firm to attend Yale Divinity School, and Bell merged his 14-attorney firm with Dixon’s in 1999. Those first clients were generated in large part through Stuart Ross’ contacts. Today, Ross, Dixon & Bell boasts 120 lawyers in four offices, the majority of whom handle insurance cases, commercial litigation, and other corporate matters. “We were kind of thinking long term about our career plans, and it just seemed like an exciting thing to do,” Dixon recalls. “We thought it would be fun to grow it.”

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