Lathrop Gage Hires L.A. Leader from Proskauer

Kansas City-based Lathrop Gage LLP announced yesterday that Nancy Sher Cohen, formerly a partner and co-head of Proskauer Rose’s Insurance Recovery and Counseling Group, will serve as the partner-in-charge of Lathrop’s Los Angeles office.

Cohen, who was also named the leader of Lathrop’s Policyholder and Insurance Coverage practice, said she chose the firm because of its active policyholder insurance practice.

Lathrop’s attorneys have recovered more than $2 billion on behalf of policyholder clients, she said.

“I am a Kansas City native with strong ties to the Kansas City community,” Cohen told Big Law Business in an email.

“The opportunity to build a Los Angeles office for a Kansas City firm was too exciting an opportunity to turn down.”

Cohen served as lead counsel for GMAC Commercial Mortgage, the lender that held the mortgage for the World Trade Center towers, in prosecuting claims for insurance coverage following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. GMAC and the owner of the building, Larry Silverstein, sought $3.5 billion per occurrence in coverage to rebuild the towers or reimburse for the loss.

“In the end, our client, GMAC Commercial Mortgage, received full reimbursement for its loss,” Cohen said via email.

Cohen also represented LA 2024 (now LA 2028) in its purchase of insurance coverage related to its recently accepted bid for the 2028 Summer Olympics. Insurance issues included interruptions caused by terrorist acts, comprehensive general liability, and property damage covers related to the games, she said.

She has also represented Atlantic Richfield Co., B.P., Teledyne, Boeing, and Countrywide.

Lathrop, which has almost 300 attorneys that advise clients in the areas of litigation, business, and intellectual property law, was founded in Kansas City but now has 10 offices across the United States. Proskauer was founded in New York City, and now boasts more than 725 attorneys “active in virtually every major market worldwide,” according to the firm’s website.

Cohen, who also previously led Heller Ehrman’s LA office, said she’s looking forward to “the challenge of building an office in Los Angeles” yet again.

“The phone is ringing off the hook with lawyers who want to talk to us about bringing their practice to Lathrop Gage,” she said via email. “Our plan is to grow the office with lawyers who meet the quality expectations of the firm, provide synergistic opportunities and want to be part of a very special culture.”

Ronald A. Valenzuela also joined Lathrop as a partner from Proskauer’s litigation department. He represents policyholders in disputes with insurers, and has “extensive experience in other complex litigation matters,” according to Lathrop.

“We are thrilled to welcome Nancy and Ron to Lathrop Gage and are excited to have them play a driving role in developing a Los Angeles presence,” Mark Bluhm, Lathrop Gage CEO wrote in a statement yesterday. “I am proud of the policyholder practice that we have grown organically, and Nancy’s addition catapults our policyholder capabilities and profile to a new level.”

Representatives for Proskauer didn’t return requests for comment.

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