International law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has appointed leading insurance litigator Paul Lewis as the firm's new Joint Managing Partner for its Global Disputes Practice and the UK/US Regional Head of Practice effective from 1 May.
He will succeed Damien Byrne Hill, who returns to full-time practice after five years in the role. Paul will work together with fellow Disputes Managing Partner Anna Sutherland, who is based in Australia.
Paul is a disputes lawyer specialising in insurance and professional negligence disputes. As a homegrown talent, he joined Herbert Smith Freehills as a trainee in 1992 and subsequently progressed to become partner in 2001.
He is currently Global Head of the insurance disputes practice and works with clients on all aspects of insurance and professional negligence disputes. He assists policyholders, insurers and brokers with claims under all types of insurance with a particular focus on professional indemnity, directors and oﬃcers, Bermuda form and credit and political risk policies.
Paul is described by Chambers UK as "an absolutely first-rate lawyer who goes above and beyond to support his clients". His recent matters include successfully advising the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the Supreme Court in the COVID-19 business interruption test case in 2020. This landmark case was the most significant and high-profile insurance case of the last decade, with a wide impact on both insurers and policyholders. The work of the team, led by Paul, won several awards including Litigation and Dispute Resolution team of the Year at the British Legal Awards and Insurance Team of the Year at the Legal Business Awards.
The appointment comes as litigation analytics provider Solomonic recently named Herbert Smith Freehills as the law firm with the highest average claim value in commercial disputes in the High Court, for 2022.
Paul comments: "I'm honoured to take the reins of the disputes practice from Damien, who has steered the practice so brilliantly during his tenure. It's an exciting time for our practice as we continue to advise on major mandates and support clients in their most complex disputes, and play a leading role in emerging areas of litigation practice such as class actions."
Ian Cox, Executive Partner, Practices at Herbert Smith Freehills, says:
"Paul has demonstrated strong leadership skills through his adept handling of highly complex disputes matters and in his commitment to the development of the contentious insurance team. Paul, together with fellow Joint Managing Partner Anna Sutherland, have the strong collective experience to lead our disputes practice and drive forward the firm's Ambition 2025 strategy. I would also like to thank Damien for his contribution to practice and the firm over the past five years."