Spencer Fane has made a significant addition to its insurance litigation practice, with 10 attorneys joining the firm’s Denver office in a move announced Monday.
Among them are four partners: Terence Ridley, Linda Knight, Jeremy Moseley and Evan Stephenson. Associates Hannah Seifert, Kayla Scroggins-Uptigrove, Elayna Fiene and Will Brophy are also joining Spencer Fane, as are Megan Treseder and Evan Blonigen, both of counsel. All were previously at Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell.
“It’s really all about the platform that Spencer offers our group and our client base,” Ridley said of the reason for the move. The group has a “thriving practice” focused on the direct defense of insurance companies, he said, and their clients have operations across the country and face litigation in some “very challenging jurisdictions” where Spencer Fane has offices.
“Insurance laws tend to be very state-centric. And insurance companies often do like boots on the ground when they get sued in these difficult jurisdictions,” Ridley said. “So Spencer Fane really offers us a platform that is particularly well-suited to our clients’ needs.”
“Spencer Fane is also a general practice firm, and we do see potential synergies arising from their extensive client base that expands across the business spectrum,” Ridley added.
Moseley said it was important for the group to find a firm with a culture that is “really client focused first, and then collaborative among the offices and among the various teams.”
Ron Fano, office managing partner for Spencer Fane in Denver, said in an e-mail the firm has “identified a need for increased litigation strength and expertise, specifically in the area of insurance coverage matters, and this group of 10 attorneys will significantly enhance our ability to handle those matters.”
“These new attorneys share our vision for a collaborative culture resulting in high levels of client service, and this ended up being a great fit for them and for Spencer Fane,” Fano added.
Fano said the firm continues to pursue “measured growth” in Denver and other markets where there is increased client need. “This has been a priority in recent years supported by a unique and innovative business model that has created significant and sustained revenue growth over the past eight years,” Fano said in the e-mail.
“Our preparedness allowed the firm to avoid the majority of fallout of the pandemic and maintain a position of strength, setting us up to pursue aggressive growth initiatives in the first quarter of 2021 and beyond,” Fano continued.
Ridley has practiced litigation in Denver for more than three decades, with the most recent 20 at WTO. Before that, he was a litigator at Otten Johnson Robinson Neff & Ragonetti and Roath & Brega. “Over the last approximately 15 or so years, my practice has really homed in on the direct defense of insurance companies in first-party bad faith actions,” he said. Ridley holds a law degree from the University of Denver and was a clerk for former Colorado Supreme Court Justice Luis Rovira.
Stephenson has practiced as a trial and appellate lawyer since 2006, with a focus on insurance industry defense as well as high-exposure and complex commercial, class-action and personal injury litigation. His experience includes trying key jury trials that have “shaped and defined the law of insurance” in Colorado, he said, including at the state supreme court. Stephenson is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and a former clerk for the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Moseley joined WTO in 2008, and his practice has included mass and class actions involving the pharmaceutical, health care and insurance industries. Moseley has expanded his practice to New Mexico and Montana and, he said, the group is excited to expand its class action and appellate work to more jurisdictions. He earned a law degree from Notre Dame Law School and previously clerked for Magistrate Judge Michael Hegarty of the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.
Knight joined WTO in 2017 and, prior to that, worked at Taylor Anderson and Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker. She has tried cases across the country as national trial counsel for insurance companies and directly represented insurance companies. In addition to her insurance practice, she has represented trucking companies and practiced products liability and commercial litigation. Knight graduated from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and served as a law clerk to former Colorado Supreme Court Justice Michael Bender.
“We truly feel privileged to move from one culture of excellence to another culture of excellence,” Ridley said.
“Speaking after 20 years at WTO, I just want to say that I will miss my friends and colleagues at that firm. It has some of the most talented and dedicated trial lawyers in the country,” he said. “It has been an honor to practice and learn from some of the best of the best.”
WTO Chair Michael O’Donnell said in a statement he “holds the group in high esteem.”
“We appreciate all that this insurance litigation group has achieved with WTO through the years, and we wish them continued success as they seek to grow their practice at Spencer Fane,” O’Donnell said. “WTO’s lawyers remain focused on their representation of sophisticated corporate and individual clients in high-stakes civil trials, arbitrations, and appeals nationwide.”