James Skarzynski

James A. Skarzynski

New York


James (Jim) Skarzynski has been the Chairman of Skarzynski Black since the firm's inception in 2003. He is a nationally recognized expert in matters pertaining to directors and officers (D&O) liability insurance and other forms of professional liability coverage. Jim has extensive experience in all facets of the exposures faced by insureds under these policies, including shareholder and derivative litigation, private equity and hedge fund disputes and banker professional liability.  Over the last three decades, he has worked on many of the country’s largest and most complex cases involving directors and officers, financial institutions and other professionals.

Jim also regularly counsels clients regarding insurance underwriting and new product development, and has assisted many clients in the drafting of both specimen insurance policies and specialized manuscript policies and endorsements for complex underwriting situations. He also has aided clients in the regulatory filing process of insurance products. As an insurance industry leader, Jim also serves as an expert witness in litigation on professional liability coverage issues.

Jim often speaks at legal conferences, seminars and in-house client training programs on D&O and related professional liability insurance. He is very active in and has held many leadership roles with the Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS). From 2001 to 2004, Jim was the co-chair of the Annual PLUS Directors and Officers Liability Symposium. He was elected Trustee and member of the PLUS Executive Board in November 2012. Jim served as the PLUS Secretary and Treasurer (November 2012 to 2013); was the President Elect of the Society (November 2013-2014); President (November 2014-2015) and currently serves as the Immediate Past President (November 2015-2016).  Jim also chaired the 2014 PLUS International Conference.

Jim is also active in the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and served two three-year terms as Chair of the Director and Officer Liability Sub-Committee of the Insurance Committee during which time he co-chaired six times the Sub-Committee’s annual seminar.


  • Martindale-Hubbell®, AV Preeminent Rated 
  • New York Super Lawyers, 2006-2018

Professional Associations

  • Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS): Co-Chair of the Annual PLUS D&O Symposium (2001 - 2004); Elected Trustee (2012); Secretary–Treasurer (2012 - 2013); President-Elect (2014); President (2015); and Immediate Past President (2016).
  • American Bar Association, Litigation, Tort Trial and Insurance and Business Law Sections, Member.
  • Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Subcommittee on Director and Professional Liability, Former Chair. 

Cases of Interest

  • Represents insurers in connection with the resolution of numerous securities class actions and derivative suits against public company insureds.
  • Represents insurers in connection with claims arising from complex bankruptcy proceedings.
  • Represents insurers in matters involving financial institution E&O insurance, private equity and hedge fund policies, and mutual fund and investment advisory coverage.
  • Drafts specimen and manuscript polices for clients including new entrants to the D&O and professional liability marketplace.
  • Counsels clients on underwriting considerations and trends and claim management issues relevant to D&O and professional liability lines of business.
  • Participates on behalf of clients in the mediation process of numerous complex, high exposure multi-party litigations.
  • Serves as expert witness on D&O and professional liability issues, including bad faith exposures.
  • Client Presentation: Claims Handling Best Practices and Trends in Bath Faith and Extra-Contractual Litigation (2016), Presenter.
  • Presentation at PLUS D&O Symposium: Parting Shots: A Conversation with Industry Leaders (2015), Moderator.
  • PLUS Webinar: The JOBS Act (2013), Presenter.
  • Presentation at ExecuSummit: Mediation Tactics and Strategy (2011), Presenter.
  • Presentation at ExecuSummit: Current Issues in Mediation (2010), Presenter.
  • Presentation at PLUS D&O Symposium: A Mock Mediation of a Securities Class Action (2006), Presenter.
  • Presentation at Insolvency Workshop, International Association of Insurance Receivers: An Overview of Selected Director and Officer Liability Insurance Issues that Arise in the Context of Company Insolvencies (2006), Presenter.
  • Presentation at Association of the Bar of the City of New York: Current Trends in Complex D&O Liability Claims (2005), Presenter. 
  • Presentation at PLUS D&O Symposium: Current Trends in the Handling and Resolution of Complex D&O Claims in a Post Sarbanes-Oxley World (2005), Presenter. 
  • Presentation at PLUS D&O Symposium: Hot Topics in the D&O Insurance World (2004), Presenter.
  • Presentation at Institute for International Research: Heading off Shareholder/Derivative Litigation (1999), Presenter.