BILL SNEED serves as global co-leader of the firm’s Insurance Disputes practice. He has been litigating and arbitrating reinsurance contract disputes for nearly three decades, his entire legal career. Bill’s litigated cases include precedent-setting decisions on settlement allocation and the follow the fortunes doctrine, as well as the division of authority between courts and arbitrators respecting consolidation of arbitrations. His clients entrust him with major disputes involving hundreds of millions of dollars, whether tried before a jury or a judge or arbitrated before industry professionals.
Representative matters include:
- Lead trial lawyer in Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co., No. 6:09-cv-00853 (N.D.N.Y.), where the jury returned a verdict in excess of $64 million for Sidley’s client after a three-week trial
- Great Western Ins. Co. v. Alpha Re Ltd., No. 17-cv-9446 (S.D.N.Y.), confirming and entering judgment on interim arbitration security award exceeding $131 million
- Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s v. Westchester Fire Ins. Co., 489 F.3d 580 (3d Cir. 2007) – holding that arbitrators decide consolidation questions in the first instance, even if multiple layers of a reinsurance treaty program are involved
- American Employers’ Ins. Co. v. Swiss Reinsurance Am. Corp., 413 F.3d 129 (1st Cir. 2005) – vacating summary judgment for reinsurer on challenge to cedent’s allocation of a settlement under multi-year policies, and also vacating summary judgment for reinsurer on claim that cedent failed to investigate pollution sites before allocating settlement amounts to them
- North River Ins. Co. v. ACE Am. Reinsurance Co., 361 F.3d 134 (2d Cir. 2004) – affirming summary judgment in favor of cedent and holding that the “follow the fortunes” doctrine applies when the reinsurer challenges its cedent’s allocation of a settlement with the policyholder
Bill has been recognized as a Band 1 leading lawyer in the reinsurance disputes area by Chambers USA—America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, and The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers. He was listed as a leading lawyer in The Legal 500 US (2012–2017) for Insurance: Advice to Insurers. Bill was also selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® (since 2006) and was named a Best Lawyers Chicago Insurance Law Lawyer of the Year for 2020, 2018 and 2012.
Bill has published articles respecting insurance and reinsurance issues in various journals, including the Defense Counsel Journal, the National Insurance Law Review, the International Journal of Insurance Law, ReActions, the Environmental Claims Journal, the NAIC’s Journal of Insurance Regulation, The Review Worldwide Reinsurance and Mealey’s Litigation Reports: Insurance Insolvency.
Admissions & Certifications
- U.S. Tax Court
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 1st Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit
- U.S. District Court, N.D. of Illinois - General
- U.S. District Court, N.D. of Illinois - Trial Bar
- Northwestern School of Law, J.D., 1987 (magna cum laude, Order of the Coif)
- Northwestern University, M.M., 1987
- Stanford University, A.B., 1983