Ex-N.Y. Insurance Regulator Dinallo Joins Debevoise

Eric R. Dinallo, the former New York Superintendent of Insurance who oversaw the industry during the peak of the financial crisis, joined Debevoise & Plimpton LLP as a partner in the law firm’s Manhattan office.

Dinallo said today he expects to represent financial-services companies on enforcement issues, internal investigations and mergers and acquisitions. He was approached by Debevoise partner Wolcott Dunham after losing a race in September to become the Democratic candidate to replace Andrew Cuomo as the state’s attorney general, Dinallo said.

“It was the only firm I spoke with,” Dinallo said in a telephone interview. “It has a unique compensation structure. Partners within a class are paid the same, so there is no eat what you kill, just a bunch of super-smart lawyers pulling on behalf of the client.”

Presiding partner Martin Frederic Evans declined to be more specific about Dinallo’s role. Debevoise, with about 700 lawyers worldwide, represented American International Group Inc. in its $20.5 billion spinoff of AIA Group Ltd. in Hong Kong, and has advised companies including Amazon.com Inc., Prudential Financial Inc. and Dell Inc. on merger deals, according to the firm’s website.

The firm, with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, represents JPMorgan Chase & Co. in national litigation related to mortgage foreclosures, Joseph Evangelisti, a JPMorgan spokesman, said in an e-mail. Debevoise also has a large private-equity practice.

Ethics Rules

New York’s ethics rules will prohibit Dinallo from appearing before the state’s insurance department for six months. “There may be some matters that I will need to review whether I will have to be recused,” he said.

Dinallo last worked at a law firm in 1995, when he left his position as an associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP to join the Manhattan district attorney’s office. He later joined the state attorney general’s office under Eliot Spitzer and headed the investor protection bureau.

He had stints at Morgan Stanley and Willis Group Holdings before Spitzer, who had been elected governor, appointed him superintendent of insurance. Dinallo oversaw the settlement of claims stemming from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, as well as the crisis in the municipal bond insurance market in 2008. He resigned from the insurance department last year.

Dinallo said he will continue to teach professional responsibility at New York University’s Stern School of Business, although on a reduced schedule. He has no plans to run for office again, he said.

This year’s campaign, Dinallo said, “cured that.”

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