Stewart Smith’s William Stewart, Michael Smith, Bryan Petrilla & Gary Berdeen Selected as 2023 Best Lawyers for Insurance Law

West Conshohocken, PA – August 18, 2022 – Four lawyers from Stewart Smith – William Stewart, Michael Smith, Bryan Petrilla and Gary Berdeen – have been recognized on the 2023 Best Lawyers in America® list for Insurance Law. Mr. Smith, Mr. Stewart and Mr. Berdeen were all selected in West Conshohocken, PA, while Mr. Berdeen was chosen in Midlothian, VA.

The Best Lawyers honor is based on peer recommendations through a process in which thousands of lawyers are interviewed in a series of polls.

  • Bill Stewart has developed a highly regarded national reputation for his ability to identify emerging insurance issues—including nano-torts, climate change, mold exposure, coal ash, and hydrofracking – and to advocate them successfully on behalf of his distinguished base of clients.

He primarily focuses on liability coverage, including advertising injury and construction defect claims, first party coverage, and fraud/rescission cases. Bill was lead trial counsel in one of the most important insurance cases of the past decade, AES v. Steadfast, winning a ruling in the Virginia Supreme Court that held that climate change nuisance claims were not covered under a series of CGL policies.

  • Mike Smith is recognized as one of the leading insurance coverage lawyers in the country. He has been entrusted with some of the highest profile insurance coverage allocation cases, including as lead appellate and trial counsel.

Mike devotes a significant part of his practice to complex insurance (and reinsurance) coverage issues. His wide-ranging experience covers matters involving mass tort (including 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.

  • Bryan Petrilla counsels leading insurers across the country on a wide range of coverage issues and disputes. Bryan has litigated coverage disputes in bench and jury trials in state and federal courts throughout the country, including Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, Ohio, Tennessee and Pennsylvania.

He has handled a broad range of insurance matters, including those arising from asbestos claims, directors & officers and financial institution liability, professional liability/errors and omissions, faulty workmanship and construction defects and additional insured and priority of coverage issues.

  • Gary Berdeen has successfully represented insurers in a wide range of coverage cases in state and federal courts throughout the country, including disputes involving construction defect, product liability, environmental, professional liability, directors’ and officers’ liability, rescission and bad faith claims. 

He has recently been engaged in a variety of business interruption and loss of income matters stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Gary also offers extensive experience representing clients in civil litigation cases involving breach of contract, fraud, tortious interference, toxic tort and personal injury claims. He handles appeals as well.

Best Lawyers is “the oldest and most respected peer-review publication company in the legal profession.” Its lists of outstanding lawyers are compiled by “exhaustive peer review surveys in which tens of thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers.” Lawyers are not permitted to pay any fee to participate in or be recognized by Best Lawyers.


About Stewart Smith

Stewart Smith is widely recognized as one of the country’s premier insurance coverage law firms. The firm’s lawyers counsel the top insurers in matters across the U.S. from coast to coast.

Stewart Smith provides decades of experience in essentially all sectors of the insurance industry, including groundbreaking litigation in courts throughout the country. Our lawyers have tried dozens of cases to favorable verdicts and have served as lead counsel in some of the insurance industry’s highest profile disputes.

Clients trust Stewart Smith to handle high stakes matters because of our lawyers’ dedication to understanding their businesses, objectives and the growing challenges in managing operations.