James A. Skarzynski
OverviewJim Skarzynski has served as Chair 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. 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 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. Jim 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. Jim also served as a Trustee of PLUS from 2012-2018. During that time Jim served in various executive capacities including as Secretary and Treasurer (2012-2013); President Elect (November 2014-2015); President (November 2016) and Immediate Past President (2017). Jim currently is a member of the 2019 PLUS Conference Committee.
Jim is also a member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and served two three-year terms on the Association’s Insurance Committee. During that time Jim served as Chair of the Director and Officer Liability Sub-Committee during which time he co-chaired the annual D&O seminar presented by the Committee.
- Martindale-Hubbell®, AV Preeminent Rated
- New York Super Lawyers, 2006-2018
- Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS): Co-Chair of the Annual PLUS D&O Symposium (2001 - 2004); Trustee (2012-2018); Secretary–Treasurer (2012 - 2013); President-Elect (2014); President (2015); Immediate Past President (2016); and Member of the Conference Committee (2019).
- American Bar Association, Litigation, Tort Trial and Insurance and Business Law Sections, Member.
- Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Former member of the Insurance Committee and Chair of the Subcommittee on Director and Officer and Professional Liability.
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.
- Chair of the 2014 PLUS Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada.
- 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.