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Dennis M. Wade


New York

Team member


  • J.D. Fordham University

  • B.A. Hobart College, magna cum laude

Bar Admissions

  • Pennsylvania

  • New Jersey

  • New York

Court Admissions

  • Southern District of New York

  • Eastern District of New York

  • Western District of New York

  • Northern District of New York

  • District of New Jersey

  • Eastern District of Pennsylvania

  • United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

  • United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

  • United States Supreme Court

Professional Experience

Dennis M. Wade has litigated headline-worthy cases in state and federal courts across the country and in international forums around the world for more than four decades. A skilled trial and appellate lawyer, Dennis handles complex commercial and insurance law defense matters, in particular, high-exposure casualty cases, complicated insurance coverage disputes, and the defense of errors and omissions and professional liability claims.

Dennis handles fine art and in specie matters for both domestic and international insurers, including a recent notable case in which he successfully defended a major art insurer against a $42 million claim, from judgment in the trial court through appeals to New York’s Appellate Division and the Court of Appeals (the state high court) and ultimately to the United States Supreme Court. Over the past 20 years, he has helped recover stolen art and diamonds throughout the United States and has collaborated with counsel to achieve recoveries in Europe and elsewhere around the world. Because of his background and experience, clients frequently call on him to investigate and advise them in matters involving suspected fraudulent activity.

Dennis has been a trial lawyer his entire career. He served for nearly seven years with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, including as Deputy Chief, Rackets Bureau, where he investigated and prosecuted organized crime cases involving high-level members of New York’s Gambino and Bonanno crime families, violent felons from gangs such as The Ghost Shadows and Flying Dragons, and corrupt public officials. He entered private practice as a name partner in a midsize Manhattan firm, handling a diverse range of defense litigation.

The matters Dennis handles are often sophisticated and multifaceted, and his strength as an advocate lies in his keen ability to make the complex simple and understandable. A master of clear and compelling storytelling — a skill he attributes not to his time practicing law but to his study of Shakespeare — Dennis’s direct and practiced approach enables him to clearly and persuasively convey the facts and issues at the heart of disputes to clients, judges, juries and adversaries.

His successes on behalf of clients are as much a result of his persuasive advocacy as they are due to his abiding belief that clients are critical partners in a common endeavor — charting the best path to an optimal outcome — and that the strategy of a case should be a cooperative effort. With the other named partners, Dennis founded WCM in 1994 to provide all the firm’s clients with this kind of personal and collaborative representation.

Dennis has been called on to appear as an expert witness on points of American insurance law in the High Court of England and Wales. He also lectures frequently on insurance topics, including “The Art of Insuring Art” and “Art at Risk,” as well as on trial strategy and techniques, and has published extensively on topics such as settling damage claims, bad faith rulings and examinations under oath.

Select Representations

  • Successfully defended a major art insurer against a $42 million claim in a case that ultimately went to the United States Supreme Court.

  • Successfully defended Lloyd’s of London underwriters, through summary judgment and on appeal, against a $2 million claim under a jeweler’s block policy based on the dishonest entrustment exclusion, where the insured, a high-end Manhattan jeweler, had been duped into “renting out” the pieces for a fictitious Jennifer Lopez video shoot in a wide-ranging scam orchestrated by a member of the Gambino crime family posing as a Sony Pictures representative.

  • Successfully unmasked fraudulent insurance schemes across the country for domestic and international insurers, including arson-for-profit, bogus diamond and precious jewelry losses, and other scams involving real and insured personal property.

  • Successfully tried, mediated or otherwise resolved scores of fine art and collectible disputes involving iconic works ranging from Old Masters and Picasso to Warhol and Basquiat.

Honors and Distinctions

Fordham University School of Law

  • Editor in Chief, Moot Court Board

Hobart College

  • Magna cum laude

  • Phi Beta Kappa

  • Boswell and Crawford prizes for scholarship in the humanities

Elected to membership in the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel (FDCC)

Selected to the list of AV Preeminent Lawyers by Martindale-Hubbell. (A description of the selection methodology can be found at No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.)

Professional Activities

  • New York City Bar Association, Civil Trial Section, faculty member

  • Defense Research Institute, First Party Insurance Committee, faculty member

  • American Bar Association, Tort and Insurance Committees

  • New York State Bar Association, Tort and Insurance Committees

  • New Jersey State Bar Association, Tort and Insurance Committees

  • Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, elected member

  • Council on Litigation Management

  • The National Arts Club

  • The Armadillo Club


  • The Art of Insuring Art: Federal Bar Association Art & Litigation Conference. February 6, 2020

  • The Multi-Faceted Examination Under Oath: New York State Bar Association Coverage Update (with co-author Michael Gauvin). Spring, 2019

  • Art at Risk: John’s University Center for Executive Education. Dennis lectured on the legal aspects of Fine Art Claims. May 16, 2019

  • The Business of Art Observed: New York’s Roosevelt Hotel. Dennis lectured on insurance and risk management issues in today’s competitive art world. May 21, 2019

  • Money, Power, Beauty: The Value of Art: Federal Bar Association Art Law and Litigation Seminar, Miami, Florida, 2017

  • The Poison Pill? Settling Damage Claims Involving Living Artists (co-author Michael A. Bono): International Fine Art and Specie Conference. Rome, Italy, 2017

  • Recent Developments in First and Third Party Bad Faith Rulings (New York State Bar Association May 2017 Seminar: Updates and Hot Trending Topics Affecting Insurance Coverage) (co-author Michael Gauvin)

  • CounterPoint: Pennsylvania Defense Institute: Assault on the Citadel of Privilege (with co-author Colleen E. Hayes). February 2017

  • 9th Annual Art Litigation and Dispute Resolution Practice Institute: The Collision Between Art & Insurance Law—And A Word About VARA’s Impact on the Collision. November, 2016

  • International Fine Art and Specie Conference, Athens, Greece, 2016, Workshop: Guilt, Innocence and Coverage under JB policies (Co-presenter: Michael Bono).

  • Some thoughts on the Art of Persuasion: Aristotle to Steve Jobs: 2016 (Georgetown University, Leadership Development Program).

  • Insurance Issues in Art Law: (Fordham University School of Law). 2016

  • How Using A Professional Engineer Can Help You Win: (New York State Bar Association: 2016 Law School for Insurance Professionals—September 2016) (co-author with Daniel Beatty).

  • Attorney Client Privilege Under Attack: (Philadelphia Association of Defense Counsel: December 2015) (Co-Author Colleen Hayes)

  • Deposition Boot Camp: Dennis recently served as faculty member at a program sponsored by the Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel designed to hone the deposition skills of young lawyers. Dennis focused on the examination of plaintiffs and expert witnesses. November 2014.

  • International Fine Arts and Specie Conference, Malta, 2014: Workshop: Getting It Back: The Challenges of Recovering Stolen Property – – United States v. European Union (Co-Presenter: Giando Boglione).

  • Assault on the Citadel of Privilege: Bad Facts Make Really Bad Law (New York State Bar Association Seminar: 2014 Law School for Insurance Professionals) (Co-Author: Michael Gauvin).

  • MARKET BRIEFING: Sandy’s Impact on Fine Art and Property Insurers – IUA Event: London – November 2013 (co-author with Michael Bono).

  • Liability for Sporting and Recreational Activities: A Balancing Act (New York State Bar Association Seminar: Premises Liability – What You Need to Know in New York, March 2015) (co-author with Alison Weintraub).

  • A Carnival for the Skeptic: Using Social Media In Claim And Defense Litigation – (The New York State Bar Association Seminar: 2013 Law School for Insurance Professionals – October 2013) (co-author with Michael Gauvin).

  • UNCHARTED WATERS: Coverage Litigation After SuperStorm Sandy – (The New York State Bar Association Seminar: Advanced Insurance Coverage: Hot Topics, Touch Issues and a Look Ahead – May 2013 (co-author Steven M. Kaye, Jr).

  • The Examination Before Trial – Honing your Deposition Skills in Tort and Personal Injury Cases (New York State Bar Association, May 2012, Program Chair).

  • What Fine Art Insurers Really Need to Know About The Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA) (co-author with Michael A. Bono).

  • The Anatomy of a Bust Out: The Implications of Bankruptcy and Bankruptcy Fraud for Property, Fine Art and Specie Insurers (International Underwriting Association, London, England, November 2011 – co-author with Michael A. Bono).

  • Liability for Sporting and Recreational Activities: A Balancing Act (New York State Bar Association Seminar: Premises Liability – What You Need to Know in New York, April 2011) (co-author with Alison Weintraub).

  • Recent Landmark Insurance Decisions: A Guided Tour (New York State Bar Association Seminar: 2010 Law School for Insurance Professionals – More than the Basics, September 2010).

  • Into the Serbonian Bog: A Consideration of Extra-Contractual Damages Under Bad Faith Theories in First Party Litigation (New York State Bar Association Seminar: 2010 Insurance Coverage Update: Insurance Coverage Issues in the Commercial General Liability Policy – Emerging Issues for the Next Decade, June 2010).

  • Mediation for the Casualty Adjuster (Liability Insurance Research Bureau, San Antonio, TX March 2010).

  • Defending Underwriters, Claim Professionals and Brokers in US Coverage Litigation (International Underwriting Association, London, England, November 2009) (co-author with Michael A. Bono).

  • The Anatomy of a Premises Case (New York State Bar Association: Claims University, October 2009).

  • Transferring Risk: The Interplay Between Contractual Indemnity Agreements and Additional Insured Coverage (New York State Bar Association Seminar: Additional Insured Coverage: Hot Topics & Critical Issues for 2009, May 2009).

  • Getting it Back: Recovering Stolen Property in the United States (International Underwriting Association, October 2008) (co-author with Michael A. Bono).

  • The Employee Exclusion in a Contractor’s CGL Policy and Related Limiting Endorsements (New York State Bar Association Spring Coverage Seminar, May 2008).

  • Behind the Curtain: An Insider’s Guide to Mediation (Liability Insurance Research Bureau, Seattle, WA April 2008).

  • Defending the Insurance Professional in Coverage and Bad Faith Litigation (International Underwriting Association, December 2006).

  • The Intellectual Property Claim: A Strategic Approach To Analyzing Coverage And Defense Issues (Liability Insurance Research Bureau, April 2007).

  • Into the Vortex – New Duty for Insurance Defense Counsel?, 237 N.Y.L.J. 61 (2007) (co-author with David F. Tavella).

  • The World After ”Pecker”: A Case of Unintended Consequences, 236 N.Y.L.J. 36 (2006) (co-author with David F. Tavella).

  • No-Prejudice Rule Lives (Apparently), 232 N.Y.L.J. 115 (2004) (co-author with David F. Tavella).

  • The Emerging Doctrine of Contractual Contribution, 228 N.Y.L.J. 98 (2002) (co-author with David F. Tavella).

  • Brokers and Agents are not “Professionals,” 226 N.Y.L.J. 52 (2001) (co-author with David F. Tavella).

  • The Direct Examination of the Lay and Expert Witness, in A Guide to Civil Trials in New York State Supreme Court (Association of the Bar of the City of New York) (1999).

  • The Many-Faceted Examination Under Oath, Defense Research Institute (Spring 1999).


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