Reynolds Porter Chamberlain

U.K. firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain has formed an alliance with U.S. firm Hinshaw & Culbertson to act and pitch together on transatlantic insurance work.

The two firms had been working closely together during the past 18 months but more advanced talks began in January, with Reynolds Porter global insurance head Simon Laird visiting Hinshaw’s leaders in New York.

The firms, which are both highly rated for insurance work, will now work together on client marketing and pitching and will use split teams on transatlantic insurance matters, according to Laird—in particular across directors and officers liability, complex coverage, professional indemnity, medical and marine insurance lines.

“Our insurer clients face increasingly global challenges,” Laird said in a statement. “As far as legal services go, we believe in working with the best local firm for the job. But the U.S. is different because it is such a large and mature insurance market. By joining up with Hinshaw we can develop targeted products, solutions and learnings [that] can benefit our clients across both the U.K. and U.S.”

Hinshaw insurance co-chair Scott Seaman said the firm has found its “British cousin” in Reynolds Porter. “RPC [is] a firm that has a very similar approach to ours, a great stable of lawyers and a team committed to understanding the business environment we’re in,” he said.

Seaman added that both firms will earn new relationships from the alliance and continue to share a number of existing clients. But he also said that the relationship would not be exclusive. “We’re not going to lose the forest through the trees. This alliance is for the benefit of our clients and if they already have a relationship with another U.K. firm, they can use them.”

Hinshaw is headquartered in Chicago and has 21 offices across the U.S., with the highest head counts in Chicago, Los Angeles and Coral Gables, Florida, according to ALM Intelligence database Legal Compass.

The U.S. firm, which comes in at 134th in The American Lawyer rankings, has approximately 450 lawyers in total, including 102 equity partners, and had a gross revenue of $217.2 million in 2018.

Reynolds Porter reported a lower revenue in 2018, with £117 million ($152.2 million), and is smaller by head count, with 355 lawyers in total, including 82 partners. But the revenue per lawyer for the two firms only differed in 2018 by 15 percent—£317,800 ($421,144) for Reynolds Porter and $479,000 for Hinshaw.

The alliance comes amid leadership change at the U.S. firm. Hinshaw named litigation partner Peter Sullivan as its new chairman last week and committed to increasing head count and revenue at the firm after three years of declines, according to Law.com’s U.S. publication The American Lawyer. The firm most notably lost 10 lawyers, including two partners to Clyde & Co in Miami in 2018.

The affiliation marks the second such tie-up in the space of a week, after Taylor Wessing and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati announced last week they had agreed to target tech and life sciences work together.

Reynolds Porter has made a late move into the U.S. market with the Hinshaw alliance, compared with other U.K. insurance-focused firms such as Clyde & Co, Kennedys Law, and Holman Fenwick Willan—which all began ramping up their U.S. presence in 2017.

Laird said Reynolds Porter has had a “completely different” focus to these firms, which have been “looking at market share in a different way.”

“We’re very focused on what the benefits and solutions are for our clients, which won’t get distracted in the noise of trying to grow a massive business as quickly as possible,” he said.

Laird added that the recent impetus for Reynolds Porter and other insurance-focused firms to develop their U.S. capability is market-driven.

“Between 2011 and 2016, Lloyd’s [of London] paid out £68 billion ($90 billion) of claims, half of which were related to U.S. losses,” he said. “A big part of our clients that sit in the Square Mile spend their waking days thinking about their exposures in the U.S. It’s provided a real need for us to get together and work with Hinshaw for those clients.”

Clyde & Co now has nine offices in the region and increased the size of its partnership by a third with a spate of U.S. hires, including 93 lawyers from now-defunct Sedgwick.

Holman Fenwick and Kennedys went down the merger route in 2017, with Holman Fenwick tying up with Texas firm Legge, Farrow, Kimmitt, McGrath & Brown, and Kennedys with Carroll McNulty & Kull.

Other U.K. firms with a strong insurance practice that have a presence in the U.S. include: DAC Beachcroft, which opened a Miami office in 2015; DWF, which has 23 offices in the U.S. and formed its own U.S. insurance alliance in October last year; and Herbert Smith Freehills, which has a 40-strong New York office that launched after its 2012 tie-up.