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Mary Kay Vyskocil
425 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10017 
Phone: +1-212-455-3093
Fax: +1-212-455-2502
Mary Kay Vyskocil, a Senior Litigation Partner, is a seasoned trial attorney and appellate advocate.  She has a diverse practice handling complex commercial cases, including major insurance and reinsurance disputes, contract and tort issues, bankruptcy-related issues, securities and antitrust law.  She has tried dozens of cases and handled numerous arbitrations throughout the U.S. and in the U.K., including some of the most significant insurance and reinsurance cases of the past several decades.  Mary Kay is consistently recognized as a litigation leader by numerous publications and has been named among the Top Ten Women Litigators in the U.S. for several years.  She is a frequent speaker and author on trial skills, legal ethics, and insurance and reinsurance disputes. She is also very active in professional organizations and community affairs.

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  • Law360, “Top 15 Female Litigator”
  • Euromoney’s Benchmark Litigation, national “Litigation Star”
  • Benchmark Litigation, “Top 10 Women in Litigation in America”
  • Best Lawyers, “Lawyer of the Year for Insurance Law in the New York City Area”
  • The Legal 500, “Leading Lawyer”
  • Super Lawyers, “Top 50 Women Lawyers in New York”
  • Pietas Medal, St. John’s University School of Law
  • Induction into Alumni Hall of Distinction, Dominican College
  • St. Edmund's Medal of Honor, St. Edmund's Retreat
  • David Rockefeller Fellow, Partnership for New York City (2003–2004)
  • President's Medal, Dominican College
  • First Recipient of Badami Outstanding Alumni Award, Dominican College
  • St. John’s University School of Law, 1983 J.D.
    National Moot Court Team; St. Thomas More Scholarship
  • Dominican College of Blauvelt, 1980 B.A.
    summa cum laude; Valedictorian
  • New York Community Trust, Board of Directors, 2013–present
  • Member, Board of the Historical Society of the New York Courts, 2014–present
  • American Bar Association, Section of Litigation Insurance Coverage Committee: Co-Chair, Annual Meeting, 2003; Co-Chair, Reinsurance Subcommittee, 1997–2000 and 2009–present; Co-Chair, Program Subcommittee, 2004–2005; Property Insurance Subcommittee, 2006–2009
  • Defense Research Institute
  • American Law Institute
  • Association of the Bar of the City of New York: Litigation Committee, 2005–2008; Federal Courts Committee, 1997–2000; Chair, Insurance Committee, 1993–1996
  • St. John's University School of Law, President Emeritus, Alumni Board of Directors; Member of Dean's Advisory Council
  • Second Circuit Task Force on Racial, Ethnic and Gender Fairness, Subcommittee Co-Chair
  • Joint Committee (of Federal Bar Council and City Bar of NY) on Judicial Conduct, 2005–Present
  • New York Inn of Court, Founding Member and Executive Committee
  • Member, Board of Trustees, St. Joseph Seminary
  • Member, Board of Trustees, Dominican College of Blauvelt
  • Member, mock United States Supreme Court bench at the Office of Appellate Defender
  • SDNY Judicial Merits Selection Panel, 2011–present
  • SDNY Judicial Improvement Committee Advisory Group, 2011–2012
  • JALBCA, Board of Directors, 2012–present
  • ARIAS-U.S., Chair, Strategic Planning Committee; Chairman, 2012–2014; President 2011-2012; Director, 2007–present
  • Federal Bar Council, Executive Committee Member, Treasurer, 2012–present; Vice-chair of Board 2010–12; Director 2006–12; Chair of Second Circuit Courts Committee, 2009–2013; Co-Chair, Fall Bench & Bar Retreat, 2004–2007; Chair of Winter Bench & Bar, 2011; Chair of Thanksgiving Luncheon, 2012
  • American Bar Association, Litigation Section, Committee on Environmental Litigation, Committee Vice-Chair, 1994–1998; Co-Chair, Midyear Meeting, 1995
  • Disciplinary Committee Hearing Referee, New York Appellate Division First Department, 2009–present
  • New York 1984
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of New York 1984
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of New York 1984
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of New York 1984
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit 1984
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit 1985
  • U.S. District Court District of Connecticut 1988
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California 1988
  • U.S. Supreme Court 1989
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit 1992
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit 1993
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit 1993
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit 1996
  • U.S. Court of International Trade 2009
  • U.S. Court of Appeals Federal Circuit 2010

Mary Kay Vyskocil is a Senior Litigation Partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, where she handles complex commercial litigation.  She has a diverse practice, and over the years has handled cases involving, among other things, a wide variety of contract and tort issues, major insurance and reinsurance disputes, bankruptcy-related issues, securities and antitrust law.  Her practice is concentrated in insurance and reinsurance coverage litigation, securities cases, and cases involving the financial services industry.

Mary Kay has been involved in the representation of major domestic and foreign insurers in complex coverage litigations (including numerous jury trials and appellate arguments) throughout the U.S. in a wide variety of contexts, including environmental, asbestos, breast implants and other mass tort claims. Mary Kay was one of the lead trial counsel in Shell Oil Company v. Accident & Casualty Insurance Company in California regarding coverage for environmental liabilities at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal.  She represented a major insurer in several coverage litigations seeking insurance for Y2K remediation expenses.  Mary Kay currently represents Swiss Re with respect to coverage issues arising out of the World Trade Center attack, including the Silverstein WTC property insurance dispute, which resulted in a jury verdict in Swiss Re’s favor.

Mary Kay is also active in reinsurance litigations and arbitrations in the U.S., Great Britain and Bermuda.  She has argued a number of precedentially important reinsurance cases, including: United States Fidelity & Guaranty v. American Reinsurance (New York Court of Appeals on follow the fortunes); Travelers v. Gerling (2nd Circuit re: “follow the fortunes”); Gulf v. Transatlantic (NY Appellate Court re: access to records/privilege); Travelers v. Certain Underwriters (New York’s high court on treaty interpretation).

Outside the insurance area, Mary Kay currently represents UBS in connection with major litigations involving residential mortgage-backed securities. She also represented former officers of Washington Mutual Bank in ERISA and securities cases and in litigation with the FDIC. She was involved in the successful representation of JPMorgan Chase resulting in a $350 million verdict in a trial of a breach of guarantee action against Motorola arising out of the Iridium telecommunications transaction.  She was also involved in the representation of Paramount Communications in the Paramount-Viacom-QVC takeover litigation and represented Matsushita Electrical Industries in MCA v. Epstein, which was successfully argued in the U.S. Supreme Court.  Mary Kay has also served as outside counsel to the Archdiocese of New York.

Mary Kay is coauthor of the leading treatise Modern Reinsurance Law & Practice, 2d ed. (Glasser LegalWorks 2000), and is a frequent lecturer and author on insurance and reinsurance coverage issues and on litigation and trial skills at continuing legal education seminars and bar association meetings.

Mary Kay is very active in professional organizations and community affairs.  She is the immediate past-Chairman and a member of the Board of Directors of ARIAS-U.S.  She currently chairs its Strategic Planning Committee. Mary Kay is Treasurer and a member of the Executive Committee of the Federal Bar Council and was Chair of its Second Circuit Court Committee.  She is a founding Member and Officer of the New York Inn of Court. From 1994 to 1997, Mary Kay served as a Co-Chair of one of the subcommittees involved in the Second Circuit Study on Racial, Ethnic & Gender Fairness. She has numerous judicial appointments including Departmental Disciplinary Committee hearing referee, and service on SDNY Judicial Improvement Committee Advisory Group and Judicial Merits Selection Panel. In May 2013, Mary Kay was invited by the Chief Judge of the State of New York to serve as a member of the Advisory Council on the New York State Commercial Division. In 2014, she was elected to the Board of the Historical Society of the New York Courts, nominated by Chief Judge Lippman.

Mary Kay serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the New York Community Trust, and is a trustee of St. Joseph’s Seminary and of Dominican College of Blauvelt. She is President Emeritus of the Alumni Board of Directors at St. John’s University School of Law and serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council of the Law School. She has also served on the law school’s Dean Search Committee. Mary Kay is on the Board of Directors of the Judges & Lawyers Breast Cancer Alert (“JALBCA”).

Mary Kay has consistently received numerous first-tier national and state rankings in publications such as Chambers, Legal 500, and Benchmark Litigation. She was selected by Law360 as a top 15 female litigator in their inaugural 2012 Female Trial Attorneys series and was recognized at Law360’s 2012 MVP Awards. She was recognized in Benchmark Litigation’s “Top 250 Women in Litigation in America” for three consecutive years (2012-2014). In 2013 and 2014, Benchmark Litigation also named her among the “Top Ten Women Litigators in the United States.” Additionally, The American Lawyer named her “Litigator of the Week” (January 27th, 2012), ranked her as one of the “2013 Top Rated Lawyers in Insurance Law” and gave her an AV Preeminent® peer review rating in 2013. Most recently, she was selected as the Global Insurance & Reinsurance Lawyer of the Year by Who’s Who Legal, which noted, “Mary Kay Vyskocil received unrivalled levels of praise our sources both in private practice and in-house across the globe.” Best Lawyers also named Mary Kay “Lawyer of the Year for Insurance Law in the New York City Area”—she was the only lawyer to be selected in this category for the 2013 edition of Best Lawyers in the United States, and was named “Best in Insurance & Reinsurance” at Euromoney’s America’s Women in Business Law Awards in 2012 and 2013. Previously, Mary Kay was cited in the National Law Journal’s “40 Under 40” (November 1995), and named by Legal Media Group as one of the “Top Ten Lawyers in the U.S.” in the Insurance/Reinsurance field. Mary Kay is also ranked Band One in Chambers’ “Guide to America’s Leading Business Lawyers” (2004–2014), where she has received praise as the "very strong, smart and confident Mary Kay Vyskocil is a renowned expert in insurance and reinsurance law,” and another source notes: “she just comes across as being very knowledgeable, and she has a lot of presence,” while clients laud her "extraordinary service,” “unbelievably good strategist, Mary Kay Vyskocil is highly respected for her expertise in complex insurance coverage disputes.” According to market commentators, “in the world of insurance and reinsurance, she is one of the very best.” Additional sources call her “an excellent and tenacious lawyer,” “quick to respond and very professional in her approach.” She has also been recognized as a leading lawyer by The Legal 500 (2010–2014); Best Lawyers in America (2006–2014); and Euromoney’s Guide to the World’s Leading Insurance & Reinsurance Lawyers (2006–2013). Benchmark Litigation also named her a national “Litigation Star” in the category of insurance (2011–2015). The New York Times named her as one of the “Top 100 Attorneys” in the NY metropolitan area (2007–2012). She was listed in the National Law Journal as one of America’s “Top 50 Women Litigators” (Dec. 2001) and is also recognized as one of the “Top 50 Women Lawyers in New York” by Super Lawyers (2006–2013).

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