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Mayer Brown Bolsters Insurance Practice With Dentons, DLA Piper Hires

Kara Baysinger (from left), Matt Gaul, Stephanie Duchene and Paul Chen all recently joined Mayer Brown as partners. (Courtesy photos)

Mayer Brown has expanded its insurance practice with the with the addition of a three-partner group from Dentons in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, as well as a partner from DLA Piper in Northern California.

The Dentons group is led by partner Kara Baysinger, who served as co-leader for her previous firm’s global insurance sector, and will be the co-leader of Mayer Brown’s U.S. insurance regulatory and enforcement group. Baysinger, in San Francisco, joined Mayer Brown Monday, along with partners Stephanie Duchene in Los Angeles and Matthew Gaul in New York.

Also new to Mayer Brown is Northern California partner Paul Chen. He came from DLA Piper, where he led the U.S. insurance transactions team and formerly served as its head of Asia corporate practice.

In a statement about Chen joining the firm, Ward Johnson, the partner-in-charge of Mayer Brown’s Northern California offices, noted that the firm has been focused on growing its core industry groups, including insurance. With the most recent additions, Mayer Brown now has 14 attorneys focused on the insurance sector in California and 30 in New York as part of about 100 lawyers in its insurance practice firmwide.

“I have long been impressed with Mayer Brown’s commitment to the insurance sector,” Baysinger said. “Additionally, Mayer Brown has a big global platform like what I am used to, very collaborative culture."

Baysinger spent over 21 years at Dentons’ Northern California offices. She works closely on insurance matters with Duchene, who has been with Dentons' Los Angeles office for over 14 years, and Gaul, who joined Dentons in New York five years ago from Steptoe & Johnson.

“From my perspective, we are a team that works very well together,” said Baysinger. “We have long serviced clients, as a unit, Matt bringing a real depth of experience in insurance regulatory work in New York, while Stephanie and I are more focused on California.”

“New York and California are probably the two most challenging regulatory environments for the insurance companies,” she emphasized.

Also licensed to practice in Illinois, Baysinger will split her time between Mayer Brown's Northern California offices and its Chicago headquarters.

Baysinger has over three decades of experience working with financial services, insurance and technology companies. Before entering private practice in the late 1990s, she spent nearly 10 years in-house, working compliance, product development, regulatory affairs and contracting functions for insurance companies.

“We are thrilled that Kara, Matt and Stephanie have chosen to join Mayer Brown,” said Larry Hamilton, the co-leader of Mayer Brown’s U.S. insurance regulatory and enforcement group, in a statement. “The addition of this exceptional group of lawyers is a significant milestone in the ongoing enhancement of our service offerings for our insurance industry clients, particularly in regulatory and enforcement matters, as well as the growing area of insurtech.”

Chen said DLA Piper was a great firm for him, but Mayer Brown was a better place to grow his M&A and insurance sector practice.

"I thought the opportunities would be tremendous at Mayer Brown, given what they are trying to do in California and growing the California corporate practice, as well as several industry sectors," he said.

Chen noted he has wanted to deepen his practice in other regulated industries as well, such as financial services and health care. Before joining DLA Piper in 2012, Chen was the Hong Kong managing partner for the now-defunct firm Dewey & LeBoeuf.

Chen said he stepped down from his role as the head of DLA Piper's Asia corporate practice about two years ago upon his return to northern California. Terry O’Malley, global co-CEO of DLA Piper, is also the chair the firm's Asia Committee.

Chen isn't the only partner leaving DLA Piper for Mayer Brown. In London, DLA Piper’s global restructuring co-chair Michael Fiddy and U.K. restructuring head Amy Jacks are both planning to make the move to Mayer Brown, Legal Week reported Tuesday, though their exact arrival date has not yet been determined.

Mayer Brown's New York office, which recently named Matthew Ingber as partner-in-charge, also brought on M&A partner Fritz Lark from Bracewell last month.

Asked for comment on Baysinger, Duchene and Gaul's departure, Dentons said in a statement: "While it’s disappointing to see these three lawyers depart, as the global law firm with one of the largest insurance practices, we are energized by the focus and enthusiasm of colleagues who share our ambitious vision, strategy and optimism for serving insurance sector clients in the US and globally. We wish our friends well."

DLA Piper did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding Chen's departure.

Read more

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