ON THE MOVE: Atlanta Boutique Lures A Litigator From London
Joseph Gebara has joined Fields, Howell, Athans & McLaughlin as a partner from Markel International in London, the overseas subsidiary of an insurance company, Markel Corp., based in Richmond, Va.
Gebara said Markel International was a client when it asked him to move to London six years ago to become in-house counsel for its Lloyds syndicate. The company handles all of Markel's insurance products offered outside the United States, he said, including property, casualty and specialty lines such as marine and energy, contingency and financial.
He was a partner at Sedgwick in Orange County, Calif., before his sojourn in London.
"I have loved London. It was a great opportunity, and I really enjoyed it. I plan to go back frequently," he said. "But I missed handling cases as a lawyer in the courtroom, and I wanted to go back to private practice."
Gebara has never lived in Atlanta, and said he moved here to join Fields Howell. "When I decided that I wanted to go back to private practice, I wanted to join a firm that I knew and that I knew did excellent work," he said.
The litigation boutique has a large practice representing insurers in complex coverage litigation. Gebara's addition gives it 16 lawyers.
Gebara said he'd seen Fields Howell lawyers' work on specific cases because the firm does a lot of work for London insurance market clients.
He was first introduced to them when they were working on Hurricane Katrina cases. "Of the many firms working on those cases, they stood out in my mind as the firm that was doing some of the best work for the London insurance market," he said.
The London insurance market "touches every sector of the world's economy," Gebara said, so its participants "tend to be the best clients with the most interesting work."
Gebara said he expects that Markel will remain a client.