Wotton + Kearney (W+K) is a major specialised insurance law firm in Australasia. Founded in 2002, it grew from just two partners to over 230 team members across offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth in Australia as well as Auckland and Wellington in New Zealand.
Aside from covering Australasia, W+K is part of an international alliance with other insurance law firms in Legalign Global. This allows W+K to provide its clients with global reach and deep local knowledge and capabilities into critical issues. Legalign Global facilitates a more effective legal services response for insurers around the world, with a common client services charter that enables insurance clients to receive the same high levels of service and quality of advice worldwide.
According to W+K, it eats, breathes, and sleeps all aspects of insurance law. It is able to provide legal services for all insurance types and in every market sector.
W+K’s clients include major insurers and reinsurers in Australia and New Zealand, as well as blue-chip companies that manage large under deductible insurance programs or self-insure their business risks through captive insurers.
The firm also works with Lloyd’s syndicates that write insurance business in the region either directly or through coverholders. This gives it a detailed understanding of the unique Lloyd’s insurance market. W+K also assists local underwriting agencies, insurance brokers, TPAs and other insurance market participants.
Wotton + Kearney in the news
2002: Wotton + Kearney is founded
2013: Wotton + Kearney opens Brisbane office
2014: W+K launches 2013 Insurance Year in Review and the new Sydney and Melbourne offices
2014: Named a Band 1 insurance law firm in Australia in the Chambers & Partners Asia Pacific Guide
2014: David Kearney and Adam Chylek co-author the Australian chapter of The International Comparative Legal Guide to: Insurance & Reinsurance 2014
2014: W+K partners with APIG for new scholarship
2015: W+K opens Perth office
2017: Wotton + Kearney joins Legalign Global
2017: W+K sponsors Dive In Festival in Melbourne
2017: Wotton + Kearney and DAC Beachcroft integrate Australia and New Zealand operations
2017: W+K hires human rights lawyer Leanne Ho to develop pro bono practice
Need to know
Type of company: Law firm
Service areas: Insurance law
Headquarters: Sydney NSW
Employees: Around 230
Key people as of 2019
David Kearney, chief executive partner
Kearney co-founded W+K in 2002 as a pioneering insurance-focused law firm. He has practised law for over 25 years in most classes of commercial insurance. From an initial roster of six lawyers, he now manages over 125 lawyers across four offices in Australia. Kearney was also a major contributor to the formation of Legalign Global, an alliance of four major insurance law firms across the globe. Insurance Business named Kearney as part of its Hot List in 2017 and 2018, in recognition of his influence in the insurance sector.
Odile Shepherd, people and culture director
Shepherd has more than 16 years of human resources experience in professional services firms. She heads the people and culture function at W+K, leading its national team of human resources professionals. She is also part of the firm’s innovation group, contributing change management and organisational development expertise.
William Robinson, partner
Robinson first became involved in the insurance industry as a paralegal more than a decade ago. He joined W+K in 2015 as a senior associate. He was later promoted to partner, making him one of the youngest in the firm’s history. Robinson has significant experience in insurance litigation, focusing particularly on public and products liability and property damage claims. He is based in Perth and was tasked to build and manage the firm’s general liability team
Raisa Conchin, partner
Conchin was promoted to special counsel at W+K in 2013, and moved to Brisbane to establish the firm’s office there. She is a key member of the leadership team in Brisbane and specialises in financial lines, such as professional indemnity and D&O claims. She was named by Insurance Business as one of its Young Guns in 2014.
Wotton + Kearney participated several times in the “Biggest Morning Tea” event which raises funds for the Cancer Council. Several staff members prepared pastries and other treats for the firm’s employees to enjoy in exchange for a donation for the council’s research and education activities.
In 2014, the firm also partnered with the Australian Professional Indemnity Group (APIG) to begin a scholarship for young insurance professionals. Annually, the scholarship will send the winner/s to the UK to learn more about professional indemnity and financial lines insurance through courses and visits to insurance institutions such as Lloyd’s.
W+K also supports the international diversity and inclusion festival Dive In, sponsoring its Melbourne leg in 2017. The event aimed to raise awareness and spark discussion about unconscious bias in the workplace.