Insurance vs. Reinsurance: 85/15%
Treaty vs. Facultative Reinsurance: 25/75%
Mr. Fitzgerald is a mediator, an arbitrator, and a consultant in trial and litigation strategy. Jim draws from his 40+ years of experience as a trial lawyer and complex business litigator to provide these services in a variety of substantive areas of law and business.
Jim began his career practicing in New York at the national insurance firm Mendes Mount, where his practice focused on lawyer’s professional liability, directors and officers and reinsurance matters. In the mid-1980s, Jim moved to Los Angeles where he began practicing general business litigation with an emphasis on complex insurance/reinsurance cases representing insurers, and, on occasion, insureds. Jim has practiced at a number of large national/international firms since moving to Los Angeles – most recently Stroock Stroock Lavan, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer Feld, and Drinker Biddle Reath (now Faegre Drinker).
Over the years, Jim has tried 50 jury cases in federal and state courts in California and other select courts around the country. He has also tried dozens of arbitrations before a variety of tribunals, including the AAA, JAMS, ARIAS, The Independent Film and Television Alliance and NASD/FINRA. Jim has also been a trial instructor for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) for 30 years, as well as presented CLE courses on trial strategy for in-house and outside counsel. Recently Jim moderated a webinar for the Rutter Group entitled: Path to Better Mediation, and one for ARIAS entitled: Arbitration – How Much Does the Law Matter.
Jim’s practice has allowed him to become expert in the field of insurance law, particularly complex coverage, claims handling and bad faith, as well as defense of professionals (lawyers, accountants, directors and officers, investment advisors, broker-dealer, architects and engineers, and agents and brokers), and, on occasion, prosecuting professional liability claims. Jim has been involved in all types of property and casualty claims (including environmental, wildfires, earth movement, earthquake, hurricanes and storms), life insurance claims, class actions, cedant/reinsurer claims, and cyber claims. Insurers have also sought Jim’s assistance in investigation and prosecution of claims against managing general agents, insureds and third parties for fraud, embezzlement and breach of fiduciary duty. He has also advised and assisted U.S. and London brokers in creation and editing of insurance policy wordings and select underwriting risks, as well as advising corporate clients on placement of coverages (especially D and O) and presentation of claims for coverage.
In other business litigation matters, Jim has handled a wide variety of cases including securities cases, theft of trade secrets, and entertainment matters.
Jim has first and foremost always been a trial lawyer. He approaches every matter as an experienced trial lawyer – early assessment of the real issues and razor focus on a path to resolution. This avoids getting mired in the clutter of extraneous issues with unnecessary, costly discovery. The focus instead is on what needs to be proved or disproved at trial, and then developing a strategic plan to accomplish the most efficient resolution of the matter. Having tried 50 civil cases and dozens of arbitrations, Jim knows what would, and does, happen at trial and how to prepare for it in the most focused, cost-efficient matter.
This “trial approach” is directly applicable to mediations. Jim approaches mediation with an eye to bringing the parties together to listen to each other, identify the real issues involved in the dispute and helping the parties forge options for resolution. This requires listening, out-of-the-box thinking and a buy-in to a willing commitment to the process. Jim uses techniques learned through years of dealing with litigants and counsel, as well as courses in mediation training, especially transformative mediation, to provide participants with the best opportunity to deal with their dispute and conflict. Finally, Jim brings a highly respectful manner and calming demeanor for the best opportunity to achieve a successful mediation.
Jim also uses the trial approach in providing services as an arbitrator. Jim assists the parties and their counsel in framing the issues in dispute, focusing the parties to design a limited discovery plan and removing the clutter from their arbitration. This approach meets the parties’ expectation of the goal of arbitration – to reduce the costs of court litigation, unnecessary extended discovery and a quicker, less costly resolution. Early-on assessment, strategic focusing of the real issues in dispute, mutual respect for the parties and counsel, and listening are the keys to success in arbitration. Jim’s trial approach fosters the implementation of those principles to achieve success in arbitration.
In addition to being a certified arbitrator and certified mediator for ARIAS, Jim is also a Panelist with the American Arbitration Association (AAA) National Roster of Arbitrators.
Jim looks forward to working with and providing you with the highest level of service to resolve your disputes.
Visit Jim at: www.fitzlegalconsult.com.