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McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP
Andrea Best moved to London in 2005 when the law firm she was working at in New York rekindled a secondment program to give its attorneys experience in the London market. She never came back.
“It was so different to the way I was practicing law in New York. In London they call it the Square Mile for a reason. I got to see my clients on a regular basis. I really enjoyed that personal aspect of it,” she said.
Since her early days as an attorney at the now-defunct Dewey & LeBoeuf, then at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP where she established and headed up the London office, and now at McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP, Ms. Best has always enjoyed practicing insurance law.
“I work with London market, European and Bermudian insurers to help them with the U.S. market. Over 40% of the London market business comes from the U.S. and yet the rules are still different state by state. It’s like dealing with 50 different countries,” she said.
Quite often she used to be the only woman in a meeting, but that has changed through the years. “These days it is women instructing me in the insurance industry, which is really nice to see,” she said.
Her mother, who came to the U.S. as a refugee from Hungary, put herself through college and became a medicinal research chemist, has inspired her throughout her career. “She always instilled in us the importance of education and hard work,” she said.
The support of colleagues has been key to her success. “It’s important to have colleagues who are willing to be good mentors and to encourage you,” Ms. Best said.
“She’s a great leader. She’s honest, thoughtful, effective and works well with others,” said Elda Feldman, vice president, legal and compliance at AEGIS Insurance Services Inc., based in East Rutherford, New Jersey, who works with Ms. Best in her role as outside counsel to AEGIS.
“She’s someone who’s able to pick up new issues and understand not just the technical legal points but the whole picture in terms of analyzing the information and providing practical advice for stakeholders in the market.”
The Business Insurance Women to Watch awards program highlights the achievements of female leaders in the insurance sector to celebrate their success and promote gender diversity in the industry.