Two Dickstein Shapiro insurance partners are leaving the firm to join Reed Smith. John Schryber and Andrew Weiner represent corporate policy holders in disputes against insurance companies.
Schryber and Weiner have represented clients in a range of disputes—from environmental coverage, asbestos and professional liability to directors and officers liability, products liability and bankruptcy.
In an interview with Legal Times, Schryber said Reed Smith offered a broader platform to better serve clients. Reed Smith reached out to Schryber about his interest in joining the firm, he said. Schryber said he’d earlier asked a Reed Smith lawyer "how things were going over there and by the time I was talking with people they had a good interest in me, so it was a bit of a coincidence."
Schryber is taking clients—including Estee Lauder Inc., Ford Motor Co. and American Capital Ltd.—to Reed Smith. Schryber recently represented Estee Lauder in a breach of contract dispute with its insurer, OneBeacon Insurance Co. The cosmetic company was seeking $40 million in damages plus legal fees.
"My basic philosophy is that every business problem should be covered by some insurance policy," Schryber said. "Corporate America leaves billions of dollars on the table every year in insurance money it did not know it had the right to."
Reed Smith, like Dickstein, represents policy holders against insurance companies. "Our clients never have to worry about looking over their shoulder and wondering whether we have an agreement with an insurance company," Schryber said. "Clients are understandably nervous about law firms who simultaneously represent insurance companies and policy holders."
Before joining Dickstein in 2010, Schryber was a partner at Patton Boggs in Washington, where he established the indemnification and cost recovery practice. Weiner formerly headed up Dickstein's fidelity and crime insurance practice.
Several partners have left Dickstein in recent months. In July, five energy lawyers—including Larry Eisenstat, who led Dickstein’s practice—joined Crowell & Moring. One month later, partner Richard Lehfeldt, who focused on energy and environment issues, and senior counsel Irving Yoskowitz, left Dickstein for Crowell.
In February, Legal Times reported that Dickstein's 2012 gross revenue dipped 3.2 percent to $258.5 million. Last year, profits per partner increased by 3.8 percent to $950,000.
"What I am particularly proud of as an organization from 2011 to 2012 we reduced our gross revenue and size and increased profitability," Dickstein chairman Michael Nannes said in an interview in September. "We were definitely smaller but more profitable."
Reed Smith, which has about 1,500 lawyers—five times as many as Dickstein—posted profits per partner of a little more than $1 million for 2012. The firm's gross revenue exceeded $1 billion, which was up by 2 percent.