Adebola Lamikarna (from left), Brynda Insley, Walter Yarbrough and Jennifer Pfanzelt, Taylor & English, Atlanta. (Photo: John Disney/ALM) Adebola Lamikanra (from left), Brynda Insley, Walter Yarbrough and Jenifer Pfanzelt, Taylor English Duma, Atlanta. (Photo: John Disney/ALM)

After 20 years practicing together, Brynda Insley and Kevin Race have disbanded their insurance defense firm, Insley Race.

Race has started his own solo plaintiffs practice, while Insley said she decided it was time for a larger platform for her broad-based insurance defense practice in an increasingly competitive market. She joined Taylor English Duma in March, bringing three associates, Adebola Lamikanra, Jenifer Fallon Pfanzelt and Walter Yarbrough.

The changes were precipitated, Insley said, when Race and another partner, Jim Myers, at the 14-lawyer boutique each told her that he had decided to switch to representing plaintiffs. She considered maintaining her own firm but soon decided that Taylor English, a general practice firm with about 175 lawyers, made more sense.

“It was to become stronger and more formidable in a very competitive market,” Insley said. “The insurance defense industry has changed a lot. Bigger firms have come into Atlanta and gobbled up smaller firms or opened offices here.”

“I wanted a bigger and better platform to continue serving my clients. With the industry changing, I felt merging with TED would provide that platform and then some,” she said, adding that Taylor English provides better resources for her national insurance clients.

“Kevin has been a terrific partner,” Insley added.

Myers joined plaintiffs firm Pratt Clay in January, and Race, now the proprietor of The Race Law Firm, moved into new digs Monday at 5555 Glenridge Connector that he’s subletting from plaintiffs firm Moraitakis & Kushel.

Kevin Race Kevin Race

“I’ve always enjoyed plaintiffs work,” Race said. “I hit 50 a year ago, and I thought that would be the time if I were going to start over with a plaintiffs practice. It only took me a year to pull the trigger.”

On the defense side, Race and his team at Insley Race handled medical malpractice and other liability cases for hospitals, including for Marietta-based Wellstar Health System.

Three partners who worked with Race on the hospital defense team–David Johnson, Kevin Spainhour and Kim Woodland—along with associate Tony Hassan, have joined Bendin Sumrall & Ladner, which has a focus on med-mal defense. That gives Bendin Sumrall about 20 lawyers.

Two other Insley Race associates, Kristin Malcolm and Dwayne Brown Jr., have joined Huff Powell Bailey, another litigation defense firm that also specializes in med-mal defense.

Insley Race’s other partner, Aynsley Harrow Mull, went in-house at Centurion Managed Care, a prison health-care provider.

New Directions

Insley and Race ventured out from Sullivan Hall Booth Smith, now Hall Booth Smith, in 1998 to start their firm. Both said its disbandment has been amicable. “Everybody is going their separate ways and is going to be happy where they end up,” Race said.

At Taylor English, Insley said, “it’s been a phenomenal, whirlwind experience,” in the month since she and her team joined. “The wealth of talent at the firm is amazing.”

Insley said she’s now in practice with partners with real estate, health care, employment and product liability expertise who can assist on her cases, adding that she’s already partnered with some seasoned litigators, LeeAnn Jones, Don Boyle and David Forestner.

“It adds bench strength to my book,” she said.

The move to a larger firm did not affect her rates, Insley said. “The wonderful thing about TED is they allow me to service my client needs at the prices I negotiate with them.”

“It was the perfect opportunity at the perfect time,” Insley said.

For his part, Race said he’s looking forward to being a “hands-on lawyer” who can choose his cases.

He said noted plaintiffs lawyer Tommy Malone once told him that for defense lawyers, “as you get older and wiser your cases get worse, but as I get older and wiser my cases get better.”

At Insley Race, the new plaintiffs lawyer explained, he spent a lot of time supervising his team, while clients wanted him to take on their worst cases personally.

“The ability to have 10 really good cases instead of managing 50 is exciting to me,” he said. “I can really roll up my sleeves and get into each case.”

Race said he’s going to be handling medical malpractice, personal injury and premises liability cases, adding that he’s already had plaintiffs lawyers offer to refer him cases. “Anything weird that happens inside of a hospital—I’ve handled it,” he said, including slip and falls and other tort cases.