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Arnold & Porter Lands Landgraf to Grow Insurance Practice as Dewey Files for Bankruptcy

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Arnold & Porter LLP is now poised to become a bigger insurance regulatory player after the implosion of Dewey & LeBoeuf, the white shoe insurance practice law firm, brought about the arrival of storied insurance Charles (Charley) Landgraf as a partner in Arnold & Porter’s Washington office.

Dewey & LeBoeuf filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy May 28, late on the Memorial Day holiday after news of financial problems, compensation issues and defections became commonplace in the press.

Landgraf is widely considered one of the top insurance lawyers in Washington—and one of the nicest, too, a meticulous man who has been methodically building a stone wall fence at his working Shenandoah farm, collecting the granite rocks himself with his tractor on weekends.

Landgraf has many insurance clients from his career as a managing partner of Dewey & LeBoeuf’s Washington, DC office, and is looking forward to bringing them with him to Arnold & Porter, along with new ones.

There was stiff competition from other Washington regulatory practices to hire him.

Arnold & Porter, a well-regarded banking and international policy and foreign affairs firm, already has major insurance clients, but the addition of Landgraf gives it a huge and more high-profile Washington regulatory presence.

Landgraf regularly practices before the executive branch, including the Departments of Treasury, Commerce, and Transportation, the Executive Office of the President, and federal financial regulatory agencies, his new firm notes.

Landgraf has represented many companies and trade associations as a top insurance regulatory lawyer, including Lloyd’s of London, the Association of Dutch Insurers, the Financial Services Roundtable, and Liberty Mutual Insurance Co.

Landgraf also played a key role in representing clients in the development and passage of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 and the development of insurance measures in the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010. Landgraf helped craft language for clients working with legislators on Title V (the insurance section which also established the Federal Insurance Office) of Dodd-Frank.

“Arnold & Porter has a prominent role in banking regulation law but perhaps more quietly significant insurance clientele for regulatory and transactional work, litigation for insurers like AIG, TIAA-CREF and State Farm,” Landgraf says. “The strengths that Arnold & Porter has [in not only banking but in foreign policy] made it really attractive to me and my team.”

Landgraf says the synergies brought on by expertise at the firm with banking regulators like the Federal Reserve and insurance modernization efforts would work in the best interest of current and future insurance clients. He has added one deputy so far who is already on the ground, attending insurance-related hearings on the Hill, and is talking to more to come over.

Landgraf also will be supplementing his current insurance portfolio with more firms, he hopes.

With Dewey & LeBoeuf’s announced bankruptcy and plans to unwind, the firm’s insurance practice will likely be dispersed among the many partners that have already left to go to other firms, with many insurance partners already settled at other firms.

Another Dewey insurance heavyweight, especially in surplus lines, James R. Woods, is now global co-leader of Mayer Brown’s insurance practice in New York and had some of the same clients or work projects as Landgraf.

Dewey is, or was, known for captive insurance company strategies and risk transfer for its clients, reinsurance disputes and negotiations, risk-linked securities, merger and acquisitions and other transactions, insurance securitizations, representing insurers in capital markets worldwide, with its far-reaching enormous global insurance law practice, and the Dodd-Frank Act implementation here in Washington. In the fall, Landgraf helped write a report for clients on the modernization of insurance regulation in the United States.

Dewey had also addressed the potential treatment of certain insurance products as swaps under Dodd Frank and a joint regulatory (CFTC and SEC) proposal to exempt the definition of swap for insurance products that satisfy certain tests, including insurance supervision and the “insurance interest” standard. Dewey also heavily touted its insurance insolvency and restructuring expertise and experience.

One of Dewey’s top insurance clients on M&A, MetLife, had no comment.

Dewey recently represented l MetLife in its November 2011 agreement to sell select businesses and assets in the Latin American and Caribbean regions to Pan-American Life Insurance Group (PALIG). As part of the transaction, MetLife will sell its American Life and General Insurance Co. unit in Trinidad & Tobago, along with American Life Insurance Company (ALICO) branches in Barbados, Cayman Islands and the majority of the Leeward and Windward Islands, and the ALICO operations in Panama and Costa Rica.