A team of San Francisco-based Sedgwick lawyers led by partners Bruce Celebrezze and Alexander Potente will be joining the U.S. arm of insurance-focused British firm Clyde & Co on Jan. 1, according to an internal announcement obtained Tuesday by The American Lawyer.
The memo notes that “many lawyers” from numerous Sedgwick offices will also be joining Clyde & Co. Those offices include Chicago; Dallas; Irvine, California; Los Angeles; Miami; New York; and Seattle. A source said the departing group from Sedgwick could number up to 25 partners in total.
Sedgwick announced last month that it would be shuttering operations early in 2018 following a deluge of partner exits. The firm has lost more than 40 percent of its lawyers within the past year, according to ALM Legal Intelligence.
Celebrezze, a veteran insurance industry lawyer, did not immediately return a request for comment about his move to Clyde & Co. Nor did Potente or James Burns, the San Francisco-based head of Americas at Clyde & Co, although the latter did provide a statement.
“We are sorry to hear the news of Sedgwick’s closure,” the British firm said. “We know many of its lawyers and hold them in high regard. In line with our own growth potential in the U.S., we are in advanced discussions with a number of its insurance partners, predominantly in California, about the possibility of them joining us. It would not be appropriate to comment further while discussions are ongoing.”
The note announcing the moves of Celebrezze and Potente to Clyde & Co lacks specifics on the exact number of lawyers or practice groups joining the British firm, which has been on an expansion kick this year. It was sent by Celebrezze, a partner in San Francisco who sources familiar with Sedgwick have said is one of the last remaining rainmakers at the failing firm.
Celebrezze’s note does specifically mention a group of Sedgwick lawyers in Washington state who will be making the move to Clyde & Co. Sedgwick’s insurance practice lists 61 lawyers on its website, most of them based in San Francisco. The firm’s Seattle office, which opened in 2011, currently has seven lawyers.
“We look forward to continuing to serve our clients from our new platform at Clyde & Co,” said the note from Celebrezze, whose clients include insurance giant The Travelers Cos. Inc.
The American Lawyer reported last month that Clyde & Co was in talks to take on a group of insurance lawyers from Sedgwick, including what is left of the firm’s London office. Sedgwick also notified Missouri officials that it would be closing its back office operations center in Kansas City, Missouri, in a move that will result in about 75 layoffs, almost all of them non-lawyer employees.
In late November, Duane Morris confirmed that it would take on a group of Sedgwick employment lawyers in San Francisco led by practice co-chairs James Brown and Robert Eassa. Laura Goodman, a Sedgwick insurance litigation partner in San Francisco, also recently left the firm for local shop Gough & Hancock.
She declined to comment when contacted Tuesday.
Additional reporting by Joseph Evans from Legal Week in London.