Clyde & Co absorbs insurance boutique to launch in Boston

Flurry of US boutique takeovers continues as UK insurance giant opens 15th US arm
Boston skyline

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Top 20 UK firm Clyde & Co has taken over 14-lawyer Boston-based firm Hermes Netburn O’Connor & Spearing as it continues to expand in the US.

The deal is the latest of a flurry of mergers featuring boutiques as large law firms look to build their presence in the US that kicked off at the start of January when Morrison & Foerster's absorption of 36-lawyer San Francisco IP litigation boutique Durie Tangri went live.

The Hermes Netburn team focuses on insurance coverage, surety and fidelity and civil litigation matters, particularly around product liability, toxic torts and construction. 

The incoming team includes partners Kevin O’Connor, Holly Polglase and John Felice, as well as founder and long-time president Peter Hermes and fellow founding member Peter Netburn. The new Boston office will work closely with Clyde & Co’s existing East Coast teams in New York and New Jersey.

Carolena Gordon, Clyde & Co’s senior partner, said: “This office further enhances our offering in the Northeastern region of the US. New England is home to a vibrant insurance, biotech, healthcare and professional services ecosystem which we are ideally placed to support.”

O’Connor specialises in insurance coverage and surety matters, advising national and international property and casualty insurers, reinsurers and insurance claim administrators. He has been with Hermes Netburn since its inception in 1994.

Polglase is a trial lawyer who specialises in product liability matters, including pharmaceuticals, medical devices, toxic torts, asbestos and general liability and commercial law. She has been with Hermes Netburn since 2011, having joined from Campbell Campbell Edwards & Conroy, where she spent more than two decades.

Fellow trial lawyer Felice brings extensive experience representing manufacturers, distributors, businesses, premises owners and their insurers in areas such as toxic exposure cases. He also represents insurers on coverage matters and bad faith and unfair claims. He has been with Hermes Netburn for just over 14 years, having joined from Pierce Davis & Perritano.

O’Connor said: “Joining Clyde & Co was the natural next step for us, with clear synergies between our practices and clients. Our clients in Boston and beyond stand to benefit significantly, as does our entire team. We will make the most of the national and global opportunities to grow and develop our practices and people.”  

The Boston office is Clyde & Co’s 15th in the US, adding to its most recent openings in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Denver back in 2021. The UK firm has also recently added international outposts in Milan, Bangkok and Calgary.

Other firms have also been expanding their footprints in Boston. Last month Withers added a life sciences and intellectual property partner duo from Brown Rudnick in Boston, including former IP team lead Tom Meyers and Zachary Hyde. And in October, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld made a twin partner hire from Choate Hall & Stewart ahead of its planned Boston office launch.

Clydes' deal, meanwhile, continues a run of mergers and large team hires by leading firms looking to build their presence across the US. Last month, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe unveiled a tie-up with Washington DC-based specialist fintech firm Buckley and Holland & Knight agreed to absorb Nashville-based healthcare specialist Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis.

Already this week, Chicago firm Croke Fairchild Duarte & Beres has snapped up seven-lawyer litigation boutique Prendergast Layden and Haynes and Boone has launched an office in Northern Virginia with 19 lawyers from litigation boutique Smith Pachter McWhorter.

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