The LawCareers.Net Handbook 2021


Technically challenging environment Benjamin works as international counsel in the insurance team at Debevoise & Plimpton. His team acts for global, European and UK insurers, brokers and other intermediaries that have an insurance focus. In addition, they work for investors in the insurance space (eg, private equity and pension firms). The scope of the team’s work is broad, with a very strong regulatory insurance focus. “We provide regulatory advice to all of our insurance clients and off the back of that, our expertise leads to the big-ticket M&A work that we do,” he says. “We do insurance regulatory and insurance M&A work, and also help insurance firms with capital raisings and other capital solutions for insurance firms.” Insurance is a highly specialised area of law, but he relishes the challenge: “Insurance is a very technical area and I like the fact that it’s highly specialised and takes knowledge and dedication in order to become an expert. The possibility to work in a technically challenging area, in a great environment and with great clients is what I enjoy the most about my job.” A recent case saw Benjamin working with the global speciality insurer AmTrust to sell its AmTrust at Lloyds business. This was a high-profile, complicated and difficult transaction that was strategically important to AmTrust. He led the transaction in challenging circumstances and obtained a great result for the client in April 2019. Brexit: trade deal or no trade deal? On Brexit, Benjamin says that “the current uncertainty surrounding the UK’s trading position with the EU when the current transition period expires at the end of the 2020 calendar year is clearly a negative for the country as a whole, including UK-domiciled insurance firms and EU insurance firms who operate in the UK on a cross-border basis. That being said, insurers are now well placed to address either a

Insurance (and reinsurance – the insurance of insurers) is an integral part of commercial activity throughout the world. The insurance practices of top- end firms advise on a range of areas, including coverage disputes, investment management, documentation, mergers and acquisitions of insurers, and the transfer of books and business between insurers. Regulatory law governs matters such as the establishment and regulation of insurance companies throughout the world. Clients include insurers, reinsurers and UK insurance institutions, as well as major insured companies and their captive insurers. While in his native New Zealand all legal practitioners are admitted as solicitors and barristers, having studied commerce at the University of Auckland, Benjamin Lyon knew that he was more interested in the corporate advisory side of the legal world: “There are certain personality types that suit being a litigator and those that suit being a corporate M&A person,” he notes. “My personality traits certainly led me at a very early stage in my career to want to be more corporate M&A focused. And after doing a commerce degree, I realised that I liked the analytical side of finance and how it impacts commerce. So, on the back of those interests, being a solicitor rather than a barrister was always going to be the path that I was going to go down.” Benjamin started his career in New Zealand as a junior corporate lawyer without a set idea of which specialism he would end up in. However, having done a lot of general corporate advisory work in his early days in the profession, over time his speciality narrowed to the financial services field. Debevoise & Plimpton and London seemed like natural fits given his professional interests, the firm’s rich client base and focus on insurance, and the City’s focus on financial services generally.

For more firms that work in this practice area, please use the “Training contract regional indexes” starting on p197.



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