RPC makes double partner hire from Sedgwick London office ahead of US firm's planned closure

RPC has made a double partner hire from Sedgwick’s London office, after the US firm announced that it is set to close early next year.

Insurance partner Naomi Vary, who has a focus on political risk, terrorism insurance and trade credit, will join RPC alongside professional indemnity partner Karen Morrish.

Vary only joined Sedgwick as a partner 10 months ago, having previously worked at Clyde & Co as a director. Morrish was with Sedgwick for five years, joining from legacy Bond Pearce.

The double partner hires takes the number of partners in RPC’s London professional indemnity team to seven.

RPC head of insurance Simon Laird said: “Naomi will be building out our political risk team in London and joining up with Geraldine Bourke in Singapore to add a truly international service to our clients. Karen joins a team which is operating at its capacity and needs to grow. She’ll add real strength to the team and provide an impressive depth of experience that our clients in London and Bristol will benefit from.”

News of the hires comes as a number of UK insurance firms have been circling the stricken US firm’s London arm, which will house four partners and a number of lawyers after the RPC exits.

Legal Week  reported last week that Clyde & Co and DAC Beachcroft were in the running to take on parts of Sedgwick’s London office, which operates as a separate limited liability partnership to the US arm of the firm and is headed by insurance partner Edward Smerdon, who is also a member of Sedgwick’s executive committee.

Following news that Sedgwick is winding down operations, Legal Week sibling title The American Lawyer reported at the weekend that the firm had announced plans to permanently close its back office operations centre in Kansas City, Missouri on 20 January. The closure will result in 75 jobs being lost at the facility, which opened in mid-2014. No lawyers are based in the office.

Clydes is also understood to be in talks to take on teams of Sedgwick lawyers in the US, where the San Francisco-based firm has offices in Chicago, Dallas, Kansas, Los Angeles, Miami, New Jersey, New York, Seattle and Orange County.