Miami-Based Firm Absorbs Kemper Offices

October 17, 2003

Wagenfeld Levine, a Miami-based law firm that focuses on self-insured defense, is opening new offices in St. Louis and Philadelphia to serve its corporate clientele.

Beginning immediately, Wagenfeld Levine will absorb Kemper Insurance Companies’ field litigation offices in Miami, St. Louis and Philadelphia, growing the firm to 22 attorneys and 54 employees. At the same time, Wagenfeld Levine, formerly known as Edelstein, Levine & Diamond of Florida, LLP, will be expanding its Miami offices. The firm also has an office in Sarasota.

“Having legal hubs in the Northeast, the Midwest and the Southeast allows us to provide more effective and efficient service to our national clients, who include Barnes & Noble, Footlocker, Burger King, FedEx and other major corporations,” said Edward Levine, managing partner. “This agreement with Kemper provides the infrastructure for our firm to grow quickly with experienced litigators.”

For Kemper, the agreement with Wagenfeld Levine provides a “soft landing” for its in-house attorneys and staffers as the firm winds down its operations, according to Vice President, Chief Litigation Officer Louis Vaccarella. “Kemper is pleased that the staff of our litigation offices have such an exciting opportunity, while assuring continuity of counsel for our insureds,” said Vaccarella.

Facing continued capital constraints and a series of downgrades from various rating agencies, Kemper earlier this year made the decision to substantially cease its underwriting operations.

“Unlike other major U.S. corporations in financial distress, Kemper has taken effective action to support its employees during this period of transition,” added attorney Eugene Flinn, a former Kemper employee and mayor of Palmetto Bay who has joined Wagenfeld Levine’s Miami office.

By concentrating its practice in representation of self-insured and large retention entities, Wagenfeld Levine’s attorneys and other professional staffers are able to obtain operational knowledge from its clients which assists in the litigation process of general and product liabilities and employment practices such as workers’ compensation. “Such a knowledge base allows for more meaningful client communication and ultimately more favorable litigation results,” added Levine.

The firm recently relocated to larger quarters at 9350 South Dixie Highway, Penthouse – II, Miami, Fla.

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