Lugar de Noticias Haynes and Boone

David Taubenfeld Quoted in Law360: Texas Firms Take On Policyholders To Recoup Business
05/17/2011

Law360, New York (May 17, 2011) -- Despite having little experience in the field, Texas law firms are turning to insurance coverage disputes as a way to recoup business that dried up due to the slow economy and other factors, experts say.

Personal injury, labor and construction boutiques — and even some larger general firms — are suddenly popping up in Texas and elsewhere as counsel for policyholders in disputes with insurance companies, according to experts.

These firms often see insurance cases as another type of contract litigation, and think it would be a relatively easy transition for them, said David Taubenfeld, a Dallas-based partner at Haynes and Boone LLP who represents exclusively policyholders.

“Some animals are driven out of their normal habitat, and one of the habitats they settle on is one that appears to be, a little bit erroneously, but it appears to be relatively simple and straightforward,” Taubenfeld said.

He added, however, that representing policyholders was not merely a matter of enforcing insurance policies. Attorneys still have to know what buttons to push, how to litigate when published case law is not clear, how insurance companies work, and so forth, according to Taubenfeld.

Commenting on clients looking to cut back on their payments to lawyers while the economy was trending down sharply, Taubenfeld stated one byproduct of this downswing was general litigation counsel were more likely to handle coverage disputes themselves rather than referring them to a specialist.

Large firms were also more likely to begin competing with small firms for less-complex matters in which lower rates were charged, Taubenfeld said.

Excerpted from Law360, May 17, 2011. To read the full article, click here (subscription required).