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Please don’t try to pigeonhole Robert Shulman. “I want to have as broad of a practice as I can and represent as many clients as I can and have as many problems as I can,” says Shulman. Rather than focus on one particular area of the law — as many other insurance lawyers do — Shulman, a partner at Howrey, represents policyholders on a wide range of issues, including environmental cleanup, asbestos, property damage, product liability, directors’ and officers’ coverage, securities, and market timing issues. Shulman’s client roster is equally diverse, including AmerUs Group; Amvescap; ConocoPhillips Co.; Electrolux; Hess Corp.; the city of Jacksonville, Fla.; MBIA; NCR Corp.; and Tulane University. At any given moment, he may be representing as many as 15 clients. At Howrey since 1992, Shulman, 53, now co-chairs the insurance recovery practice. A high point in his career so far was representing International Paper Co. in a $40 billion nationwide class action that lasted more than a decade. The plaintiffs alleged that hardboard siding sold by the company for use in homes was defective. Shulman was hired by International Paper to negotiate the settlement with the plaintiffs’ lawyer, as well as to sue the company’s 30 insurance companies to recover the costs of the settlement. He was able to collect $600 million when the case concluded earlier this year. “His imagination and intellectual curiosity and ability to fashion aggressive legal theories makes him able to provide convincing arguments to both courts and adversaries,” says John Hartje, former chief counsel of corporate litigation at International Paper. “He has an encyclopedic understanding of insurance law. But he’s always trying to move it to the next level.” A current case strikes especially close to Shulman’s heart. He earned his law degrees from Tulane University in 1979, and now he’s helping the university receive insurance payments to cover Hurricane Katrina damage. The two cases, which involve hundreds of millions of dollars, are still in progress in Louisiana. Shulman’s career in insurance law had a slightly unusual genesis: Twenty years ago, at his nephew’s bris, mutual friends urged him to call Jerold Oshinsky, a well-known D.C. insurance lawyer. At the time, Shulman was working as an attorney in the Office of Chief Counsel at the Securities and Exchange Commission. The friends thought Shulman would hit it off with Oshinsky. They were right: Shulman was eventually recruited to work with Oshinsky at the firm now known as Anderson Kill & Olick in 1980. It was the right move. Shulman thrives on the challenge of going to court, where so many insurance disputes end up. One of the major difficulties in representing policyholders, he says, is that insurance companies usually come armed with 15 different defenses. “You have to prevail on upwards of 10 to 15 issues on any given case,” he says. “The burden is on you to succeed.”

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