West Conshohocken, PA (August 19, 2021) – National insurance coverage law firm, Stewart Smith, is pleased to announce that four senior attorneys – Gary Berdeen, Bryan Petrilla, Michael Smith and William Stewart – have been named to the 2022 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America® in the area of Insurance Law.
“We are honored to join this prestigious list of the country’s most highly regarded attorneys,” shared Stewart, managing partner. “It’s nice to know that our successful representation of insurance companies with their coverage issues has not gone unnoticed. We appreciate the recognition and congratulate all of this year’s honorees.”
Berdeen, who is located in the firm’s Virginia office, has more than 15 years of experience representing clients in complex insurance coverage matters. He successfully represents insurers throughout the country in state and federal court in a wide range of coverage cases including disputes involving construction defect, product liability, environmental, professional liability, directors and officers liability, rescission and bad faith claims. He graduated cum laude from Virginia Tech and graduated magna cum laude with his J.D. from Syracuse University College of Law.
Petrilla is a partner in the firm’s Pennsylvania office, practicing in the area of complex litigation. A significant portion of his practice involves representing insurers throughout the country in a wide range of coverage issues and disputes, including those arising from asbestos claims, directors and officers, financial institution liability, professional liability/errors and omissions, construction defect and additional insured issues and complex first-party claims. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Washington and Lee University and graduated magna cum laude with his J.D. from Villanova University School of Law.
Smith, a firm co-founder, is a shareholder in the firm’s Pennsylvania office, and practices in the area of complex litigation. With extensive experience in various types of commercial litigation, a significant part of his practice is devoted to complex insurance and reinsurance coverage issues. His experience includes matters involving mass torts, encompassing long-tail claims with complex trigger and allocation issues; environmental, management liability/directors and officers, bad faith/extra-contractual liability, professional liability/errors and omissions, advertising injury, construction defect, and property claims. He also advises clients and provides training on preventive measures to avoid or minimize liability exposure. Smith earned his B.A. from Villanova University, graduating summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa and earned his J.D. from Villanova University School of Law.
Stewart, a firm co-founder, has been a first- and third-party coverage attorney for more 30 years. He has successfully litigated complex coverage cases for insurers in 22 states but seeks to resolve cases in ways that avoid litigation and associated costs. Stewart’s legal work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, National Underwriter, Best’s Review, National Law Journal, Business Insurance, Risk & Insurance, NBC News, and many other industry publications.
Stewart is known nationally for identifying emerging insurance issues—including nano-torts, climate change, mold exposure, coal ash, and hydrofracking, and has been a featured speaker at some of the insurance industry’s most prestigious events. Stewart authored a best-selling book, “Climate of Uncertainty: A Balanced Look at Global Warming and Renewable Energy.” In 2005, he was one of three attorneys selected by the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court to serve on the Rules of Civil Procedure Committee, and in 2009, he participated in a United Nations’ Annual Conference of The Parties on Climate Change in Poznan, Poland. He earned B.S. from St. Joseph’s University and graduated cum laude with his J.D. from Notre Dame Law School.
Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers has published their list for over three decades, earning the respect of the profession, the media, and the public as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals. Its first international list was published in 2006 and since then has grown to provide lists in over 75 countries.
Founded in 2012, Stewart Smith is a Pennsylvania-based boutique litigation firm, with a national practice, focused on insurance coverage matters. The firm also provides clients with insurance coverage opinion letters and handles complex insurance and commercial litigation cases. With a team of seasoned insurance coverage specialists, Stewart Smith provides its clients with the wide breadth of experience of a large law firm with the focus and client service of a smaller firm.