Kennedys’ continued expansion reaches West Coast of US with opening of California office

Kennedys has continued its growth in the United States with the opening of its first West Coast office, in San Francisco, and the addition of a four-partner team. This latest opening responds to significant demand from both US and global clients for Kennedys to have a presence in California. A West Coast presence significantly strengthens the firm’s international insurance offering.

The new office will open with four partners from Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP: Forrest Booth, Erik Kowalewsky, Pamela Schultz and Jonathan Thames.

Forrest was Senior Partner of Hinshaw’s maritime and energy practice. Along with Pamela and Jonathan, they are currently one of the largest maritime practices in San Francisco. Forrest’s practice is focused on insurance and reinsurance with particular emphasis on the defence of claims and disputes, litigation, admiralty and maritime claims, insurance coverage, marine insurance, oil and gas and energy matters. Forrest also advises and counsels his clients on matters of commercial general liability.

Erik Kowalewsky has considerable London Market experience, with his practice primarily focused on insurance coverage, including, among other lines, cyber and tech E&O, D&O, professional liability, general liability, property, healthcare, marine, and energy. His experience extends to manuscript policy forms under US and English law, and he also advises London Market and other international insurers.

Pamela L. Schultz’s primary area of practice is maritime law, with some insurance coverage and general liability litigation. Having practiced in New Orleans, New York and California, she has a broad range of experience in federal and state courts in jurisdictions across the US, with an emphasis on admiralty and maritime litigation. Pamela is actively involved in many professional and trade associations, recently serving a three-year term on the Board of Directors of The Maritime Law Association of the United States.

Jonathan advises business and insurance clients on complex maritime, property, regulatory, and transportation matters. He has particular expertise in assisting underwriters with coverage and recovery problems arising from goods in transit, and in guiding shipyards and customers through thorny marine construction issues. Jonathan is the chair of Education Committee of the Association of Marine Underwriters of San Francisco.

Nick Thomas, Senior Partner at Kennedys, says: “We’re starting the new financial year by fulfilling an ongoing commitment to our global strategy of growing our international capabilities based on client need. This is an exciting milestone to have reached in an important and growing market for us.”

US based partner Christopher Carroll, who also sits on the Global Strategy Board at Kennedys, added: “We have seen significant demand from our existing US clients over the last few years to open in California, and this sees us respond to that. The addition of this group will complement our existing capabilities both in the US and globally.”

Meg Catalano, US managing partner at Kennedys, says: “We’re absolutely thrilled to welcome our new partners to Kennedys and to open our seventh office in the US. It is especially exciting and gratifying to be able to move forward with the opening of this office during these difficult and challenging times in the US and globally. The team’s experience will be invaluable in growing this office further and will strengthen our insurance coverage and global marine capabilities.”

Forrest Booth commented: “Kennedys already has an excellent reputation in the marine and energy sectors, and within the London Market. This new office provides a fantastic opportunity for us to transition to a larger platform adding depth and value to a global offering which, in turn, will provide our clients with greater access to a wider network of capabilities.”

In the last two years Kennedys has significantly strengthened its US insurance practice and global offerings through a number of prominent lateral hires, which last year led to a 12% increase in headcount across its offices in New York City, New Jersey, Chicago, Philadelphia, Austin and Miami. The firm now has over 200 people working in the US.

The new address in San Francisco is: 101 California Street, Suite 1225, San Francisco, CA 94111. The new team in San Francisco will be operating remotely until further notice due to ongoing measures in place surrounding coronavirus (COVID-19).