Lift off for Kennedys with three new partner hires and ninth US office opens in Houston, Texas

We are delighted to announce we have opened a new office in Houston, Texas – our second in the State and ninth in the US.

Client need has prompted our move to the city, which is widely regarded as the energy capital of the world, we have added three energy insurance partners, who will be based there, to help meet rising demand.

Doug Wheat, formerly of Wheat Oppermann, joins alongside Candace Ourso and Callie Murphy, both from Schouest, Bamdas, Soshea & BenMaier. The team also includes associate Amanda Farley.

Callie’s experience includes representing US and London market insurers, across multiple lines including energy, marine, construction, aviation, transportation, power generation, private utilities, property, hospitality, directors and officers, and professional errors and omissions, and healthcare. She also regularly litigates commercial matters, intellectual property disputes, and advises on complex marine and energy coverage matters.

Doug, who has practiced law, mainly civil defense, in Texas and Louisiana for more than 40 years, focuses his practice in energy, maritime, transportation and workers’ compensation. He also has extensive experience in defending general liability, toxic tort, products liability, property and casualty and construction cases.

Candace, who is recognized by “Best Lawyers in America” for her background in insurance law, focuses on complex energy and marine insurance coverage issues involving domestic and foreign insurers, energy-related subrogation; admiralty, maritime and energy; mass casualty, and excess liability coverage disputes.  

Doug, Candace and Callie bring a huge amount of experience in defense litigation, which is a key area for us, and I am thrilled to welcome them.

We have experienced rapid growth since entering the US in 2017 with the ground-breaking merger with insurance giant Carroll McNulty and Kull. We now have over 160 lawyers across our nine US offices in Austin, Basking Ridge, Chicago, New York, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Wilmington and now Houston – with the offices in San Francisco, Wilmington and Houston having opened in the last two years, despite global headwinds and business challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Six new partners have been appointed this month alone, including Jeff Trimarchi in New York, and Kristen Perkins and Scott Newman in Miami.

Callie Murphy, partner, says: “Kennedys quickly established itself as a major player in the US.  The opportunity for our team to open the Houston office and collaborate with the firm’s colleagues globally was simply too good to turn down.”

Meg Catalano, US managing partner, says: “Kennedys has continued to flourish thanks to our loyal clients and colleagues whose dedication and innovation ensures such a high level of service. It is that reputation which continues to attract such impressive candidates to join us.

“It is an exciting time for Kennedys, and I look forward to working with our new colleagues to unlock further growth opportunities in the future.”

Christopher Carroll, US senior partner, says: “Doug, Candace and Callie bring a huge amount of experience in defense litigation, which is a key area for us, and I am thrilled to welcome them. There is no better way to celebrate our fifth anniversary.”

Nick Thomas, Kennedys’ senior partner, adds: “Our continued growth across the US shows the increasing demand that there is for our services, and particularly the holistic approach we are able to offer clients thanks to our global network.”