Alanna Clair is a member of Dentons' Law Firms sector group. Her practice focuses on professional liability and law firm defense, commercial litigation, and insurance defense. She has national experience in complex litigation, including extensive motions practice, trial preparation and depositions, and appellate briefing.
Alanna writes and lectures regularly on issues of lawyer liability, legal malpractice defense, and ethics. She is the co-author of The Lawyer’s Handbook: Ethics Compliance and Claim Avoidance, a legal treatise published by American Lawyer Media that provides practitioners with tools to ensure attorney compliance with ethics rules while minimizing the risks of legal malpractice claims. Alanna also contributed to the representations that led to the Firm's insurance team to be named the Insurance Department of the Year for 2012 and 2016 by the Daily Report.
In addition to the above, Alanna is committed to pro bono and serving the community. Her pro bono efforts often focus on appellate, criminal defense, or domestic violence issues. She has been recognized by the D.C. bar as a member of the Capital Pro Bono High Honor Roll or the Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll every year since its inception in 2011. She currently is serving her second term on the D.C. Bar Foundation's Young Lawyers Network (2013-present) and has also been appointed to the National Women's Law Center Leadership Advisory Committee (2016-present).
Professional Liability and Law Firm Defense
Key member of team defending US$100 million legal malpractice claim against law firm and partner that reached favorable settlement
Helped team navigate global settlements and legal issues of first impression among potential claimants against law firm in efforts to avoid high profile litigation
Successfully defeated class action certification for claims against law firm
Defended law firm and individual partners in response to third party subpoenas related to representation of former clients and resulting conflicts issues
Advised on issues of unauthorized practice of law and confidentiality for attorneys with multi-jurisdictional practice
Assisted in amicus appellate briefing on issues impacting law firm in-house attorney-client privilege and confidentiality
Commercial Litigation and Insurance
Key member of team in two trials of coverage action seeking enforcement of multi-million dollar appraisal award; reached favorable settlement
Represented company in defense of Fair Credit & Reporting Act case that reached favorable settlement on eve of trial
Key member of team resolving multi-national mediation with favorable result for insurance company
Routinely assist insurer in second review of value of claim in order to advise on reasonableness of settlement offer or value of case
In the Media
"Bad Faith Suits Begin Targeting Coverage Counsel" (quoted), Claims Journal, March 11, 2016
Areas of focus
Intellectual Property and Technology
Litigation and Dispute Resolution
Professional Liability Litigation
University of Michigan Law School, 2008, JD
Wellesley College, 2005, BA, honors in Classical Civilization
Admissions and qualifications
District of Columbia
US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
US District Court for the District of Columbia
US District Court for the District of Maryland
Shari Klevens is the co-chair of the global Insurance sector team. She is also a member of the Firm's leadership team, serving on its US board of directors. Additionally, Shari is active in Dentons' women's initiative and served as chair of the legacy McKenna Long & Aldridge Women’s Steering Committee.
She is a lawyer to whom clients turn when they need an aggressive but practical approach to difficult matters, and her clients rely on her to create and implement an successful strategy, whether they are bringing, defending or avoiding litigation.
Shari represents lawyers and law firms in the defense of legal malpractice claims and advises and counsels lawyers concerning allegations of malpractice, ethical violations and breaches of duty. In addition, Shari handles other professional negligence claims, such as those involving accountants, engineers, financial planners, insurance brokers, real estate professionals, travel agents and others.
In addition, Shari counsels lawyers and law firms on an array of ethical and business issues arising from practice management, evaluation and pursuit of merger opportunities, law firm acquisitions and law firm restructuring. Lawyers and law firms often engage Shari to review and provide advice on their internal systems and agreements (such as partnership agreements, engagement letters and internal policies) for legal sufficiency, preservation of privilege, compliance with ethical obligations and usefulness in claim prevention. Shari also provides advice regarding lawyers transitioning from law partnerships, including providing guidance regarding contractual and ethical obligations to firm partnerships and to clients, crafting transition plans and identifying potential ethical and legal issues.
In light of her broad experience in professional negligence claims, Shari is a frequent writer and lecturer on issues related to legal malpractice and ethics and is regularly interviewed and quoted by the media on these issues. She co-authored Georgia Legal Malpractice Law and California Legal Malpractice Law, which address the intricacies and nuances of legal malpractice law and issues that confront the new millennium lawyer. She also co-authored The Lawyer's Handbook: Ethics Compliance and Claim Avoidance, an easy-to-use desk reference offering practical solutions to real problems in the modern law practice for attorneys throughout the United States. In 2016, Shari was appointed to chair the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Lawyer’s Professional Liability. In 2015, Shari received the Corporate LiveWire Global Award in the area of Professional Negligence.
Shari also represents and counsels insurance companies in coverage disputes and litigates high-exposure insurance bad faith cases. As a result of that work, Shari and several of her colleagues were named the Daily Report’s Insurance Litigation Department of the Year for 2012.
Shari regularly represents insurance companies in complex insurance coverage actions in state and federal courts across the country. She has handled a number of very high exposure coverage and bad faith insurance lawsuits, including a case in 2014 arising from a US$284 million jury trial verdict, which Shari and her team successfully resolved on behalf of the insurance company. She also has extensive experience defending insurance companies in litigation matters involving “set ups,” and regularly counsels her insurance company clients on how to navigate complicated coverage issues and avoid claims for bad faith.
Shari has successfully litigated other complex commercial cases in state and federal courts across the country in areas such as business tort disputes, conspiracy, fraud, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) cases, breach of contract actions, intellectual property infringement, trade secrets cases and appeals. She also represents clients in connection with trademark and copyright infringement on the Internet and other issues regarding the protection of intellectual property rights.
Shari is highly committed to pro bono and public service. She has represented clients in a variety of pro bono matters, including domestic and housing issues. In 2008, she received McKenna Long & Aldridge’s annual Pro Bono and Community Service Award. Additionally, she was featured on the cover of Arlington Magazine’s November/December 2012 issue for her extraordinary commitment to charitable causes and was profiled in the article "Why We Give, Inside the Hearts and Minds of Local Altruists." In addition, in spring 2013, Shari received an Outstanding Leader Award from the Girl Scout Council for the Nation’s Capital.
In the Media
"Attorneys' Online Comments Can Lead to Positional Conflicts" (Quoted), Litigation News, March 2, 2017
"Firm Accuses Ex-Partners of Stealing Clients, Trade Secrets" (quoted), The Recorder, May 9, 2016
"4 Tips For Coverage Counsel To Avoid Malpractice Claims" (quoted), Law360, November 12, 2015
"Wage Lawsuit Against Skadden Arps Can Proceed, Appeals Court Says” (quoted), The Wall Street Journal, July 23, 2015