Buchalter Adds Ex-Procopio Insurance Atty In San Diego

By Daphne Zhang
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Law360 (March 17, 2021, 9:27 PM EDT) --
Cecilia Miller
Buchalter Law Firm has hired away an insurance recovery attorney from Procopio Cory Hargreaves & Savitch LLP to bolster the firm's practice in San Diego amid policyholders' increasing demand for insurance litigation services during the pandemic.

Cecilia Miller joined Buchalter's San Diego office on March 1 as a shareholder, ending her more than eight years of practice at Procopio, where she was a partner. Before that, she was a counsel at Latham & Watkins for 12 years. 

The insurance recovery litigator told Law360 on Wednesday she was drawn by Buchalter's "established" litigation and insurance practice group, and excited to be able to service clients in San Diego and all over the West Coast.

"There's been an explosion across the country of business interruption litigation stemming from COVID-19 issues and liabilities," she said. "The folks here at Buchalter in their insurance recovery practice are handling many such matters and the opportunity to collaborate with them and fully service my clients was very enticing."

Miller said the pandemic has made policyholders realize the importance of understanding insurance terminology, especially with regard to policy exclusions, before locking themselves into an insurance contract.

More and more individuals and business owners may want to hire an insurance attorney in the first place to understand certain phrases, she said. For example, an "all-risk" insurance policy may not cover all risks as the policyholder thinks, she said.

The attorney is bringing most of her clients — ranging from city government and financial services policyholders and high-net-worth individuals with life insurance and long-term disability claims to business owners with multibillion-dollar claims for property and fire losses and health care policyholders — to Buchalter.

Miller said one of the "factors" that prompted her to leave Procopio was practice limitations.

"Buchalter provides a platform without those limitations," she said, explaining that Buchalter is a policyholder-only firm so there will not be conflicts of interest from representing insurance companies as she observed at other firms. 

Miller's practice focuses on complex commercial litigation and pre-litigation counseling for policyholders. She has helped clients from various industries including technology, hospitality, retail, manufacturing, construction, gaming and charter schools to recover millions in insurance coverage.

Adam Bass, Buchalter's chief executive officer, said in a statement Tuesday the firm is pleased that the "well-known and remarkably skilled attorney" came on board. 

"Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have considerably expanded the number of attorneys in our San Diego office and experienced a significant increase in the demand for insurance coverage litigation services," he said. "We are confident that the welcome addition of Ceci will be instrumental in the continuing demand for these types of legal services."

--Editing by Janice Carter Brown.

For a reprint of this article, please contact reprints@law360.com.

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