Goldberg Segalla LLP

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Directors and Officers Liability Coverage

Goldberg Segalla’s lawyers remain at the forefront of the evolving directors and officers liability insurance market. As D&O insurance has become a commonplace tool for public and private companies to protect key executives and minimize corporate exposures, we assist our clients with understanding the merits, potential damages, and coverage issues presented by a variety of underlying exposures.

We work aggressively toward effective claims resolution while being sensitive to our clients’ business reality — all of our legal tactics and choices are informed by a comprehensive but flexible strategy tailored to the client’s needs and long-range objectives. Drawing on our firm’s extensive experience providing counsel in connection with some of the largest and most complex public and private D&O exposures, we provide our clients with a broad perspective and deliver value and superior service from the first notice of claim through final disposition.

We represent insurance carriers under D&O policies issued to policyholders ranging from Fortune 500 companies to smaller and privately held companies, as well as various financial institutions including investment advisors, mutual funds, hedge funds, and private equity firms. Our team’s experience extends to claims presented under the Securities Act, Securities Exchange Act, Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and other legislation impacting corporate entities and their management.

Our attorneys are positioned to handle the largest and most significant insurance coverage disputes, drawing from national leadership credentials that include serving as chair of the Directors and Officers Subcommittee of DRI’s Insurance Law Committee, as well as the knowledge and capabilities of the directors and officers litigation practice in our Corporate Services and Commercial Litigation, and Professional Liability teams.

Our capabilities include:

  • Evaluation, monitoring, and resolution of complex D&O claims — Many of the world’s leading insurers turn to our Global Insurance Services team to analyze, litigate, and resolve claims presenting cutting-edge coverage issues and complex claims. We leverage our globally recognized team’s broad knowledge base and experience to assist in evaluating the merit and value of claims, monitor the progression of litigation, and provide innovative and practical solutions to resolve claims through negotiation, alternative dispute resolution, or if necessary, litigation. When litigation is necessary, our attorneys have vast experience representing D&O insurers in coverage disputes in state and federal courts throughout the nation.
  • Policy wordings and negotiations — To help minimize the risk of a potentially costly coverage dispute, our team can partner with clients to develop, draft, review, or modify policy language in order to tailor a public or private D&O policy to the unique risks of a policyholder. On behalf of insurers and reinsurers, we regularly negotiate policies, endorsements, and treaties with policyholders, brokers, and cedents.
  • Risk assessment — Through the underwriting process, our attorneys can work with insurers to evaluate risks presented by a potential policyholder, and assist insurance companies through their underwriting decisions — providing valuable insight into the specialized exposure faced by corporations in various fields. This includes guidance on emerging risks such as data breaches and other cyber risks. We harness the broader knowledge of Goldberg Segalla’s spectrum of lawyers in our diverse range of practice groups to identify risks for our clients before they quote or bind.
Representative Matters:
  • Goldberg Segalla attorneys have represented lower-tier excess insurers as coverage and monitoring counsel under public company D&O policies in connection with large scandals (e.g. Madoff-related litigation, subprime/credit crisis-related litigation, and insurance brokerage contingent commission scandal), as well as securities and derivative litigation stemming from securities offerings and corporate disclosures.
  • Goldberg Segalla attorneys successfully represented the insurer of a private equity fund in connection with a claim made by an investor of the fund against the fund general partner and several limited partners. After the private equity fund settled the underlying lawsuit, we negotiated a settlement of the coverage issues with the insured for a fraction of the underlying settlement value by asserting there was no covered loss under the policy, and that the settlement payment may have been characterized as uninsurable disgorgement or restitution damages.
  • Goldberg Segalla attorneys represented an insurer under a private company D&O policy issued to a taxi company that was sued, in part, for wage and hour violations. Although some of the claims against the taxi company would not constitute covered loss, the company demanded 100 percent advancement of defense costs. We were able to engage the insured in pre-litigation mediation and resolve the dispute, achieving a beneficial allocation for the advancement of defense costs, and creating value for the insurer by avoiding costly coverage litigation.

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London, England
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  • 5.0/5.0 Review for Michael Rubin by a Partner on 05/28/15 in Civil Litigation

    Mike is an excellent attorney, a strong client advocate and worthy adversary.

    Mike is an excellent attorney, a strong client advocate and worthy adversary. Read less

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  • 5.0/5.0 Review for Marc W. Brown by a Judge on 08/13/13 in Appellate Practice

    Mr Brown served as a law clerk at the Appellate Division, Fourth Dept., one of New York's intermediate appellate courts while I was Presiding Justice of that Court. His work was outstanding.

    Mr Brown served as a law clerk at the Appellate Division, Fourth Dept., one of New York's intermediate appellate courts while I was Presiding Justice of that Court. His work was outstanding. Read less

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Diversity

Both within our own firm and across the wider business and legal communities, Goldberg Segalla’s commitment to diversity is strong, sincere, and a critical component of our firm’s mission and culture. Our philosophy has always been that we hire people who are excellent at what they do, and even better human beings. Period. We feel we would be doing a disservice to our firm and to our clients if we didn’t include contributions from every available resource.


We are extremely proud that our commitment has received regional and national recognition for the innovative programs we have developed and the results we have been able to achieve. The following is a sampling of the firm-wide or individual honors we have received for implementing initiatives that make a difference:


  • George B. Vashon Innovator Award, Minority Corporate Counsel Association
  • MCCA Firm Affiliate Network
  • Vault/MCCA Commitment to Diversity
  • Community Service Award, Defense Research Institute
  • Good Works Award, American Bar Association Section of Litigation
  • Outstanding Committee Chair, ABA Section of Litigation
  • Diversity Trailblazer Award, New York State Bar Association
  • Legal Service Award, Minority Bar Association of Western New York
  • Lawyer of the Year, Bar Association of Erie County
  • Legal Community Leader Award, National Federation for Just Communities of Western New York
  • Diversity Excellence Award, Buffalo Niagara Human Resource Association
  • Value Award for Diversity, Leadership Buffalo
  • Western New York Game Changers, Buffalo Spree magazine

What we are most proud of, though, is that our efforts have shown significant results and continue to make a lasting impact on the lives of many.

Leadership and Action

To put our philosophy and commitment into practice, we have a Diversity Task Force, which includes our managing partner, in place to conceptualize and implement diversity-focused programs as well as give diversity a voice in our decision-making at the highest level. The individuals on this task force share the firm’s strong commitment to increasing diversity, and they use their unique experiences and backgrounds to support and advance that goal. The team meets regularly to create programs, schedule events, establish diversity initiatives both inside and outside of the firm, set long-term goals, and develop the strategy to recruit and retain people from diverse backgrounds.


The chair of our Diversity Task Force, Joseph M. Hanna, has spearheaded numerous diversity initiatives in various organizations and outreach programs, serves on several diversity-related committees, and is a frequent author and speaker on diversity. Among other positions, he is co-chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Young Lawyer Leadership Program, former chair of the association’s Minority Trial Lawyer Committee and its Special Committee on Human Rights, and former editor-in-chief of the ABA’s Minority Trial Lawyer; a 2014 fellow of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD); a past president of the Minority Bar Association of Western New York (MBAWNY) and the MBAWNY Foundation; and the Diversity Liaison for several committees at the 22,000-member DRI.


For more than a decade, Goldberg Segalla has proudly supported the ABA’s Judicial Internship Opportunity Program, which provides racial and ethnic minority law students, along with members of other groups underrepresented in the legal profession, opportunities to serve as an intern with a judge during the summer after their first or second year of law school. Joe Hanna — an alumni of the program himself — acts as a mentor and leader in the program, through which he has conducted more than 100 interviews for students across the country.

In 2017, Goldberg Segalla participated in the Thurgood Marshall Summer Law Internship Program, the New York City Bar Association’s flagship pipeline program for high school students. As a participating legal employer, we hosted high-achieving inner-city students for the summer and collaborate with the NYC Bar to provide them with additional programming before, during, and after the summer designed to help them prepare for a legal career.

Each summer, Goldberg Segalla proudly welcomes interns through a formal Diversity Clerkship Program that was conceived by Joe while he served as president of the MBAWNY. The program was developed in collaboration with the MBAWNY and the SUNY Buffalo Law School to provide opportunities for minority UB Law students to gain firsthand experience in the legal system. Since it was launched in 2011, the program has placed more than 100 students in clerkships in area courts as well as in several area law firms, with more judges and law firms asking to participate every day. It provides participants with an in-depth look at the legal process and the interaction between the bench and the bar that they would not otherwise get. At our firm, a dedicated team of partners monitors the work of these law clerks and ensures they obtain valuable experience to help develop important legal research, writing, case management, and client service skills critical to their long-term success. Our program earned the firm the Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s 2012 George B. Vashon Innovator Award.


We also have sponsored Success in the City, an annual diversity networking and mentoring event developed by Joe that brought together students, legal and business professionals, educators, nonprofits, and political leaders to make lasting partnerships. Many employment, business, and mentoring relationships resulted from this event. Past events have drawn more than 500 political and business leaders, legal professionals, and students. Success in the City has influenced the development of similar programs in Baltimore, Cleveland, Birmingham, Dallas, and elsewhere.


Our firm is committed to spreading the message throughout the broad legal and business communities that embracing diversity contributes to greater overall success. We conduct training sessions for in-house counsel at Fortune 500 corporations on increasing and promoting diversity. Our attorneys have authored articles and delivered presentations on diversity for various legal organizations, including DRI and the ABA, and our efforts and accomplishments in this area have been profiled in publications such as Law360, the New York State Bar Association’s State Bar News, Business First of Buffalo, the Buffalo Law Journal, and others.


In one example of our work to provide inspiration and raise awareness of diversity and women’s issues in the legal community, Caroline Berdzik, chair of our Employer and Labor Practice Group, spoke to Law360 for the publication’s “Female Powerbrokers” series. In the interview, Caroline discussed her career, the challenges of being a woman at a senior level at a law firm, the work-family life balance, and the importance of taking risks. She also offered guidance to female attorneys on moving their careers forward and advice to law firms on both increasing the number of women partners and retaining top female talent. Her longtime advocacy for women (at her previous firm, she served on the Women’s Business Development Committee and was a member of what became the national Women’s Presidents Organization) helped earn her a spot on the 2015 NJBIZ list of New Jersey’s Best 50 Women in Business.


Joe Hanna also was featured by Law360 in its “Minority Powerbrokers” series, in which he shared his perspective on breaking the glass ceiling in the legal industry, the challenges of being a lawyer of color at a senior level, how law firms can increase diversity in their partner ranks, and Goldberg Segalla’s core commitment to diversity.

Partnerships

Goldberg Segalla is proud to be a member of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association Firm Affiliate Network, which was created by the MCCA to assist and acknowledge law firms that are committed to advancing diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.


We are also a member of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD), a national organization of leaders in law firms and corporate legal departments dedicated to creating a truly diverse legal profession. As noted earlier, Joe Hanna was a fellow of the LCLD in 2014. In this position, he played a critical role in organizing the first-ever New York City LCLD Fellows Roundtable event, and he was instrumental in establishing a mentorship program in Hartford for local diverse first-year law students.


We support the diversity efforts of numerous organizations, including:

  • American Bar Association
  • Asian American Bar Association of New York
  • Columbian Lawyers Association
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Korean American Association of Greater New York
  • League of First Nations
  • Minority Bar Association of Western New York
  • National Bar Association
  • Native American Rights Fund
  • National Association of Asian American Professionals
  • National Congress of American Indians
  • New York State Bar Association
  • Seneca Free Trade Association
  • SUNY Buffalo Law School
  • Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York

Our outreach efforts led to the creation of a comprehensive database of more than 500 minority law organizations throughout the United States. Contact between these organizations takes place in anticipation of bringing CLE and legal programs together. This group of minority bar associations includes both local and national organizations, such as:

  • National Association of Women Lawyers
  • National Association of Muslim Lawyers
  • Hispanic National Bar Association
  • National Asian Pacific American Bar
  • Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles
  • South Asian Bar Association of Philadelphia
  • Vietnamese American Bar Association of North Carolina

A Talented and Diverse Team

Diversity is further evident within our firm through the many languages and dialects spoken by members of our team, including Albanian, Arabic, Croatian, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Korean, Malayalam, Mandarin, Marathi, Norwegian, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Tagalog, Tamil, Thai, and Urdu.


Goldberg Segalla’s culture is one that values team-spiritedness, collegiality, and interpersonal harmony within our working community. We are a firm that believes in diversity in the workplace, and we are proud to offer a professional and positive work environment for each and every member of our team.


On these values, and on our commitment to diversity, we will never waver. We are proud of what we have accomplished thus far, but we also realize that this is a long-term mission. We will continue to innovate and to improve diversity in law and business — both within Goldberg Segalla and across the communities in which we live and work.

Diversity Matters — Join the Conversation

If you have questions regarding any of the firm’s diversity initiatives or would like to discuss ideas regarding increasing diversity in the legal profession, please contact Joe Hanna (716.566.5447; [email protected]) or another member of our Diversity Task Force:

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