The LawCareers.Net Handbook 2021

Name: Benjamin Lyon Firm: Debevoise & Plimpton Location: London University: University of Auckland Degree: Law and commerce

the same matter in relation to different clients, which can cause confusion. A big part of the job is helping clients unpick that confusion. Greater alignment among insurance regulators globally would certainly help in that, with more consistency in approach to certain issues.” Be interested in what you do Having a genuine interest in insurance is key to being successful in this area of law. “When we have junior lawyers going through their traineeships, you can tell very quickly which ones come to insurance for six months with a real interest in the subject,” Benjamin says. “I had a genuine interest in the corporate world, as well as business and finance, and that’s continued throughout my career. Having curiosity in the subject matter as you embark on your career is hugely important. It’s vital to be interested in what you are doing, because you are going to be doing it for a long time!” He also recommends that lawyers at the start of their careers make sure that they get the broadest legal education that they can. “You never know where you are going to end up,” he notes. “If you told me 15 years ago that I would be a senior insurance lawyer at a US law firm in London, I would have laughed at you. But because I got a very broad corporate legal education in New Zealand – I did capital markets work, general corporate advisory, M&A and commercial contracts – I found a speciality that I love. Having that broad legal education is critical to help you find the area that interests you.”

negotiated trade deal with the EU or a no-deal end to the transition period. This is on the basis that the insurance industry was required by their UK and relevant EU regulators to forward plan for either eventuality. Larger UK insurers have set up fully authorised subsidiaries or branches in the EU to ensure seamless service for clients and other stakeholders. Likewise, EU firms have done the same in the UK. A ‘no trade deal’ end of the transition period will be hardest for medium to small insurers who may not find it economical to have more than one fully authorised firm in their group.” 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 Ongoing regulatory changes The ever-changing landscape of insurance regulation at the EU level is another variable that poses a significant challenge for insurance lawyers going forward. “Solvency II is the European directive that governs insurance broadly and that key piece of legislation is not changing at a great rate of knots,” Benjamin says. “However, there are other EU directives and other continual changes in law and regulation that insurers need to comply with. People want certainty and ongoing regulatory change can disrupt that. While these changes can lead to more work for law firms, it is difficult for young insurance lawyers to learn about regulations if they keep changing every six months.” Lack of regulatory consistency “Insurance regulators in different areas can be a little inconsistent with their decisions and practices,” he argues. “Significant regulators may take two different decisions regarding


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