The Unlikely Insurance Lawyer Behind the Release of U.S. Prisoners in Iran and Cuba


By Jenna Greene, The American Lawyer

At first glance, Scott Gilbert seems an unlikely champion to win freedom for Americans held prisoner by hostile foreign governments.

A star insurance litigator known for his penchant for motorcycles and rock and roll, Gilbert has helped blue-chip clients recover more than $50 billion in coverage disputes with their insurance carriers.

Although he spent more than two decades at big firms—Covington & Burling, then Dickstein Shapiro— before founding his own shop, Gilbert LLP, he’s never held a government post or worked as a diplomat.

What Gilbert can do—masterfully—is negotiate settlements. It’s a skill he drew on, for example, to co-draft the landmark Wellington agreement creating a special center to handle asbestos claims.

That same talent helped him broker a deal in late 2014 for the release of Alan Gross, a former U.S. AID worker who was held prisoner in Cuba for crimes against the state. And it led the family of Amir Hekmati to hire Gilbert to get the ex-Marine home from Iran, where he was imprisoned as a spy.

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