Kennedys, a large U.K.-based law firm that in September hired a team of partners from Sedgwick, including the latter’s former New York managing partner John Blancett, has once again raided the Am Law 200 shop.
On Monday, Kennedys announced its addition of Bermuda-based Sedgwick Chudleigh Ltd. to its global network. The insurance-focused firm, which had been affiliated with Sedgwick, will now operate independently as Kennedys Chudleigh. The opening makes Kennedys the first “onshore” global firm to establish a presence in Bermuda.
Mark Chudleigh, a former managing partner of Sedgwick Chudleigh, will continue to lead the Bermuda office from the island’s capital of Hamilton. Chudleigh focuses his practice on dispute resolution, with a strong emphasis on insurance matters. He will be joined at Kennedys by insurance partner Alex Potts and Nick Miles.
“This arrangement provides us with the opportunity to service clients in Bermuda, the [U.S.] and the U.K., as well as our numerous other locations globally. It significantly augments our global insurance practice and puts us in a class of one amongst insurance law firms,” said a statement by Kennedys senior partner Nick Thomas.
Kennedys has been on an expansion tear in 2017, acquiring New Jersey-based Carroll, McNulty & Kull and merging with Manchester, England-based Berg. Both moves came after Kennedys held unsuccessful tie-up talks with British insurance firm Plexus. Last year Kennedys bolstered its bottom line by absorbing London-based maritime and shipping boutique Waltons & Morse.
On the lateral recruitment front, Kennedys recently hired a pair of Mayer Brown insurance partners in London and Dublin and the firm has brought on partners this year for new offices in Bangkok, Melbourne, Mexico City and Paris.
“The global reach of Kennedys is unsurpassed for an insurance and litigation firm and the available expertise and resources over the Kennedys network places us in a unique position in Bermuda as we continue to service our valued clients,” said Chudleigh in a statement about his new firm. “Our New York, Chicago and London lawyers have worked with Mark and his team and, together, we all represent some of the world’s largest insurers.”
In 2016-17, Kennedys had gross revenue of £149.9 million ($198 million), an 8 percent increase over the previous year. Sedgwick, however, has struggled mightily in 2017 as more than 30 partners have headed for the door, including a 12-lawyer group that moved in Robinson & Cole.
The San Francisco-based Sedgwick, which settled a gender bias dispute earlier this year with former partner Traci Ribeiro in Chicago, has also closed offices in Austin, Texas; Houston; South Florida; and Washington, D.C.