Getting to Know: Gary Gassman
Cozen O’Connor's co-chair, professional liability practice group, offers insights into the line and defining qualities of legal professionals
By Eric Gilkey
Recently recognized as a notable Gen X leader in law, Gassman offers his insights into professional lines, trends, and characteristics that should define today’s legal professionals.
Hooked on Coverage
Soon after graduating law school, Gassman took a job with a small law firm where he tried his first case within a week of starting. Much of his work over the next few years involved insurance defense, and when a carrier asked for a couple of coverage opinions with respect to an E&O claim, he was hooked. He cut back on litigation and educated himself on D&O and other professional lines to focus on being a coverage attorney.
“In light of what’s happening right now, I will not be surprised if we see other major pharmaceutical-related claims come to a head in the near future.”
What’s Hot in D&O
In the public company D&O world, Gassman says he is seeing more high-value derivative actions; large nine-figure settlements; imposition of fines and penalties; increased shareholder appraisal and merger and acquisition actions; and more litigated coverage disputes. In the private sector, he’s seeing SEC and regulatory reviews of private companies; matters involving false claims; antitrust and professional services issues and exclusions; as well as matters implicating contract exclusions and bankruptcy-related issues.
Advice to Millennials and Gen Xers
“From the moment you enter a room or conversation, observation is your greatest ally. Strive to be your personal, authentic best at all times and in everything you do.”
What It Means to Be a Leader
“It means doing whatever I can to ensure that service, civility, and respectability are reignited in our next generation of leaders and continue to play a significant role in our profession.”
Gassman says he thinks the world is becoming riskier because the global economy and exchange of and access to information both public and private exposes us all to risks most do not comprehend. He says emotional, economic, and political volatility at home and throughout the world leads to desperate people taking desperate measures, and that exposes us all to a variety of risks.
When the Suit Comes Off
“I am a major dog lover, and my partner and I currently have three. I love singing and enjoy karaoke with family and friends, and I am passionate about my pro bono work with the LGBTQ community.”