Harry Lee represents clients in their most challenging insurance and reinsurance disputes. He also assists clients in a variety of commercial disputes, including mass tort bankruptcies, insurance broker malfeasance, and professional malpractice defense. With more than three decades of litigation experience, Harry is recognized as a tireless advocate for his clients, and particularly for his ability to handle the most contentious cases and stand up to the most aggressive and difficult opposing counsel across the country at both the trial and appellate levels. He leads Steptoe’s top-tier Insurance/Reinsurance Group, where he has practiced his entire 32-year career.
Harry has litigated more than 100 insurance coverage cases in his career, and has advised his clients on hundreds of others. A significant portion of Harry’s practice involves representation of major direct-side insurers with respect to third-party and first-party coverage issues arising from environmental and toxic tort/product liability claims. He has also handled a number of novel insurance coverage issues arising from the financial crisis, particularly involving mortgage-backed loans. For reinsurers, Harry handles disputes concerning treaty and facultative coverage, including billing and allocation issues arising from underlying liability and property damage disputes. In the broader commercial realm, he represents attorneys, accountants, insurance brokers, agents, and corporate officers and directors in a variety of complex professional liability and business disputes, all of which present common procedural concerns and the need for an experienced litigation tactician.
- District of Columbia
- Supreme Court of the United States
- US District Court, District of Columbia
- US District Court, District of Maryland
- US Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
- US Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
- US Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
- US Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
- US Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
- US Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
- US Court of Appeals, District of Columbia
- US Court of Federal Claims
- J.D., Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, 1986, cum laude; Associate Editor, The Catholic University Journal of Contemporary Health Law and Policy
- B.S., Georgia Institute of Technology, 1982, Industrial Management and Economics
Harry acts for various insurers in high-stakes litigation, including:
- St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company (now Travelers) with respect to a multimillion-dollar asbestos-related insurance coverage case in the Maryland federal courts.
- Hudson Specialty Insurance Company with respect to insurance coverage issues worth more than $10 million arising from a building fire near the World Trade Center site in New York City.
- Pavonia Life Insurance Company in numerous credit disability insurance lawsuits brought around the country arising from alleged mortgage loan insurance benefits fraud.
- United States Fidelity & Guaranty Company (now Travelers) with respect to fraud claims worth more than $1 billion brought in Maryland state court by national plaintiffs’ asbestos attorneys Joe Rice and Peter Angelos.
- Lamorak Insurance Company (formerly OneBeacon) in a multi-million dollar bad faith pollution-related insurance coverage case in New York State court.
- Sussex Insurance Company (formerly Companion) in a multi-party, multi-state litigation arising out of insurance broker fraud in excess of $50 million.
- Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania (AIG) with respect to complex insurance issues arising from Kaiser Gypsum Company’s asbestos and environmental-related bankruptcy.
- Hudson Insurance Company with respect to $17.5 million in first-party property claims made by NJ Transit in connection with flooding caused by “Superstorm Sandy.”
- Commerce & Industry Insurance Company (AIG) with respect to public and confidential multimillion-dollar arbitrations vis-à-vis leading US banks involving novel environmental “loan insurance” disputes in excess of $550 million.
- General Reinsurance Company with respect to direct-side insurance coverage issues arising from natural resource damage liabilities tendered by the 3M Company.
"Outside the Lines: Practical and Strategic Considerations in Avoiding, Prosecuting and Defending Against the Bad Faith Claim," 27th Annual Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee Midyear Program, Phoenix, AZ, February 22, 2019
"The Trump Administration's Changes to the Environmental Landscape: What They Mean for Environmental Claims," EECMA Conference, Orlando, FL, April 25, 2018
Mealey’s Asbestos Litigation Conference, Co-Chair, Philadelphia, PA, April 2010
"Climate Change - Things are Heating Up," EECMA Conference, Orlando, FL, April 6, 2010
"The Product Recall Market and Recent Coverage Decisions," 2016 DRI Insurance Coverage and Claims Institute, Chicago, IL, April 6, 2010
"Developments in Reinsurance Arbitrations: What Works and What Does Not in the US, Bermuda, and the UK," Steptoe & Johnson LLP, Reinsurance Group, Washington, DC, February 8, 2008
"US Legal/Legislative Update," IntAP Autumn Technical Meeting, Cologne, Germany, December 5, 2007
"Proving Policy Impairment: Issues and Strategies in Establishing Exhaustion, Obtaining Contribution and Collecting Reinsurance, Mock Case Study," Liberty Mutual Group Complex and Emerging Risks Claims Department, Boston, MA, September 28, 2007
"Allocation," Mealey's Asbestos Insurance Conference, Chicago, IL, June 8, 2005
"Procedural Issues in Reinsurance Disputes: Courts and Arbitration," Mealey’s Fundamentals of Reinsurance Litigation & Arbitration Conference, March 15, 2007
"Allocation," Mealey’s Asbestos Insurance Conference, Chicago, IL, June 8, 2005
"Arbitration, Mediation, and Other Methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution: Are They Really Serving Their Purpose?," Environmental Claims Managers Association (ECMA) Spring 2004 Meeting and Conference, Sanibel Island, FL, April 28, 2004
"Construction Defect and Mold Claims Under Third-Party Insurance Policies," Mealey's Practical Training for the Claims Professional Conference, Stamford, CT, March 4, 2004
"Coverage Issues for Mold Claims Under First-Party Insurance Policies," Mealey's Second Annual Advanced Insurance Coverage Conference: Top 10 Issues, Philadelphia, PA, January 30, 2004
"First-Party Property Issues," Mealey’s Second Annual Advanced Insurance Coverage Conference: Top 10 Issues, Philadelphia, PA, January 29, 2004
"Allocation Models – How Are They Similar and/or Different When You Are in Bankruptcy?," Mealey’s Insurance Allocation Conference, Naples, FL, November 17, 2003
"Coverage Issues for Mold Claims Under First-Party and Third-Party Insurance Policies," Mold & Fungus Litigation Conference, Los Angeles, CA, May 8, 2003
"Mold Claims - Third-Party Liability Insurance Issues," HarrisMartin Publishing's Mold Litigation: Beyond the Basics 2002, October 10, 2002
"Coverage Issues for Mold Claims Under First-Party and Third-Party Insurance Policies," Mealey's Mold Litigation Conference, Philadelphia, PA, May 10, 2002
"Comparison of Coverage Issues Related to Mold and Asbestos Claims Under Liability Insurance Policies," Mealey's Asbestos & Mold Insurance Conference, Philadelphia, PA, April 18-19, 2002
"Coverage Issues for Mold Claims Under First-Party and Third-Party Insurance Policies," Mealey’s National Mold Litigation Conference, Phoenix, AZ, February 25, 2002
"Coverage Issues for Mold Claims Under First-Party and Third-Party Insurance Policies," Mealey’s National Mold Litigation Conference, Chicago, IL, October 2, 2001
"Where Mass Torts and Insurance Collide," Mass Tort Litigation Institute, April 24, 2001
"Internet Security and Insuring Against Risk: Information Security is Not Enough!," The Internet Privacy Law and Information Institute & E-Business Insurance, New York NY, June 7, 2000
"The Number of “Occurrences” – Ways to Avoid Result Oriented Rulings," Orlando, FL, April 22, 1999
"Everything You Have Always Wanted to Know About Manufactured Gas Plants But Were Afraid to Ask: A Panel Discussion," Environmental Claims Managers Association, Seattle, WA, October 23, 1997
"The Pollution Exclusion Clause – What is Excluded and What is Not," The Corporate Bar Association Lunch Program, Stamford, CT, November 2, 1995
News & Publications
April 29, 2019
April 19, 2019
August 15, 2018
June 6, 2018
May 30, 2018
May 29, 2018
May 3, 2018
April 23, 2018
March 27, 2018
August 15, 2017
- Best Lawyers in America, Insurance Law (2016-2019)
- Chambers USA, Band 1, Insurance: Insurer, DC, (2007-2019)
- Legal 500 US, Insurance: Advice to Insurers (2012-2018)
- Super Lawyers, Washington, DC, Insurance (2013-2019)
- Who's Who Legal, Insurance & Reinsurance (2016, 2018)
- The American Lawyer, “Top Rated Lawyer,” Insurance Law and Bankruptcy (2016)
- The American Lawyer, “Top Rated Litigator” (2016)
- Washingtonian magazine, "Top Lawyer," Insurance (2011-2017)
- Euromoney's Expert Guide to the World's Leading Insurance and Reinsurance Lawyers (2008, 2010, 2013)
- American Bar Association, Litigation Section
- District of Columbia Bar, Litigation Section
- Maryland Bar, Litigation Section
- Admitted to the US Supreme Court and various US Courts of Appeal
- Member, Defense Research Institute
- Member, ARIAS US
- Board of Directors, Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights
- Board of Directors, National Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights
- Board of Visitors, Catholic University Law School