05 May 2022

Kennedys makes up record tally of 22 partners including six in Australia

Women make up nearly 60% of round that is more than double the size of last year’s

Maya Parbhoo (l) and Martina O'Mahoney Images courtesy of Kennedys

UK insurance specialist Kennedys has promoted 22 lawyers to partner in its latest round, the largest for the firm to date that is also notable for its geographic spread.

The round is more than double the size of last year’s, which saw 10 lawyers made up, and a notable step up on 2020’s 13-strong cohort. 

The latest round features majority women, with 13 (59%) being made up. Last year’s group included four (40%), while the year before was again majority female, with seven women getting the nod (53%). 

Like the previous two years, this round leans heavily on the firm’s UK and US offices, but unlike the last two years also sees lawyers made up in the firm’s other European offices and six get the nod in Australia.

The UK saw seven promotions this time round, three of which went to lawyers based in Birmingham and another going to data breach response specialist George Chaisty in the cyber and data risk team in Manchester. Three were made up in Kennedys’ London office – Kavan Bakhda in the international litigation and arbitration team, Rhys Davies in the financial and political risks group and Nicola Pangbourne, who advisers insurers and reinsurers on policy coverage issues arising from financial lines products.

The London promotions follow the firm adding a 10-lawyer team — including three partners — to its catastrophic injury practice in the city last year from insurance rival BLM, which in turn marked its largest batch of UK hires since it secured a 36-strong insurance team from Langleys last January as part of its office launch in Leeds. 

Seven were also made up across Kennedys’ US offices, including two apiece in Miami and Basking Ridge, New Jersey. Litigator Bevin Carroll, who focuses on complex insurance matters including those involving construction and toxic tort, was welcomed in Chicago, while Daniel Lockwood, who specialises in the structure of CGL policies, E&O policies and umbrella coverage, moved up in Austin. The US promotions were rounded out by New York-based Nitin Sain, who handles matters dealing with New York Labor Law, premises liability and property damage, among others. 

Australia saw six promotions, four of which were in Sydney. The lawyers made up there cover a range of practice areas including property disputes, marina and aviation insurance, employment law and policy response relating to financial lines. Two lawyers also moved up in Melbourne – data privacy and cyber insurance law specialist Nicholas Blackmore and Maya Parbhoo, who advises health professionals on medical negligence claims. 

Finally, in Europe Heidi Bloch, who manages complex financial lines, transportation and marine claims, was made up in Copenhagen, while Martina O’Mahoney got the nod in Dublin in the liability team. 

Nick Thomas, Kennedys senior partner, said: “I am delighted to recognise and reward a record number of new partners this year and to see that success shared so widely across our global offices.”

He added that the firm’s recent diversity and inclusion survey, which gathered the views of more than 1,000 of its employees, “found that the majority felt we achieved that.”

“We recognise there is always more we could do, but that’s really pleasing to hear”, he said.  

The promotions bring Kennedys’ overall partner headcount to 293 and come at a time when it is firmly in growth mode.

In the past 12 months the firm, which last July posted record revenue of £264m for the 2020/21 financial year, has opened offices across the globe and made 18 partner-level lateral hires. Among them was veteran commercial litigator, Marc Casarino, who joined from US firm White and Williams in March to launch an office in Wilmington, Delaware.

Last summer the firm also hired a team of insurance lawyers from Clyde & Co to set up shop in Perth and relocated insurance, construction and disputes partner Jamie Kellick from Dubai to open its second office in the Middle East in Oman.

And just last week Kennedys announced it had formed associations with law firms in Bolivia and Ecuador, bringing its association office count to six across South America on top of the seven offices of its own in the region.

In March, partners at UK-based insurance focused rivals Clyde & Co and BLM agreed to merge in a deal that will add almost £100m to Clydes' top line.

Top