Sean T. Keely is a Partner in the Litigation Practice of Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP and serves as the New York Section Head. He is also a member of the Firm’s Compensation Committee. Mr. Keely was previously a Partner with Freeborn & Peters, which combined with SGR in 2023.
Even while a first-year law student, Mr. Keely was involved in reinsurance litigation as an intern with a firm handling reinsurance and insurance insolvency matters. Over 20 years later, he brings that deep industry knowledge to bear, litigating and arbitrating commercial disputes with a particular focus on the (re)insurance industry. Clients seek out Mr. Keely because he knows the industry and the issues they face. Clients rely on Mr. Keely to craft commercial solutions when appropriate and to take cases to trial when necessary to win them. He has successfully tried cases to verdict in U.S. state and federal courts, and to final award in arbitration for clients based in the U.S., London, Continental Europe, and Asia.
Over the past several years, Mr. Keely has been at the center of cases addressing developing issues in the industry, including late notice, allocation and aggregation of losses, follow-the-settlements, breaches of the duty of utmost good faith, material misrepresentation, and insurer insolvency. He has also represented clients in emerging issues, including disputes under industry loss warranties, parametric swap agreements, and other reinsurance products.
Beyond the (re)insurance industry, Mr. Keely has represented energy companies, financial institutions, manufacturers, cable-television providers, beverage companies, and a variety of other clients in general commercial litigation.
While at Freeborn (now SGR), Mr. Keely served as the Leader of the Reinsurance subgroup as well as a member of the Executive Committee and as the New York Office Managing Partner.
Mr. Keely received his B.A. from Georgetown University, magna cum laude, and his J.D. from New York University School of Law, cum laude.
Education Committee Member, AIDA Reinsurance and Insurance Arbitration Society (ARIAS-US)
Member, Association of the Bar of the City of New York
Co-Author, “Client Alert: Buying English Law When You Place London Market Reinsurance,” Freeborn & Peters LLP (February 9, 2022).
Presenter, London Market Forums’ Reinsurance Leaders Practice Group Seminar, “Reinsurance Impact – COVID-19 – Claims, Capacity, Claims, Client Retention,” (March 4, 2021).
Co-Author, “Client Alert: Constitutional Questions Presented by Proposed State Legislation Requiring Retroactive Business Interruption Insurance Coverage for COVID-19 Related Claims,” Freeborn & Peters LLP (April 2020).
“Early Thoughts on Late Notice,” ARIAS•U.S. Quarterly (Q2 2019).
“Legacy Lab: Run-Off Options in the U.S.,” Insurance Insider 2019 Legacy Supplement (June 2019).
“Is the Limit on Your Reinsurance Really a Limit?,” Market People Magazine (Spring 2018).
“Read the fine print,” Insurance Insider 2018 Legacy Supplement (May 2018).