John G. Buchanan III


Covington & Burling LLP
1201 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
DC 20004-2401

Tel: +1 202.662.5366
Fax: +1 202.662.6291


John Buchanan, a partner in Covington & Burling’s Washington office, has been engaged in insurance coverage advocacy, dispute resolution and counseling since the early 1980s. He served as the firm’s first Insurance Practice Group Coordinator for a decade. Mr. Buchanan’s coverage litigation career began with DES and asbestos claims, including the first reported decision affording broad general liability coverage for both asbestos bodily injury and asbestos property damage, in Lac d’Amiante du Quebec, Ltee v. American Home Assurance Co., 613 F.Supp. 1549 (D.N.J. 1985). In addition to asbestos and pharmaceutical coverage issues, he has litigated, arbitrated, mediated and negotiated insurance recoveries for a wide variety of other claims, including general liability (“GL”) coverage for environmental liability, hearing loss, repetitive stress injury, “deleterious substance” and other mass tort claims; broadcast, intellectual property and competition-related claims; directors’ and officers’ (“D&O”), errors and omissions (“E&O”), and fidelity bond claims; employment practices liability (“EPL”) claims; and flood, crime, product tampering, business interruption/extra expense, satellite in-orbit, and other complex first-party property coverage claims.

Mr. Buchanan teaches a graduate-level course on Insurance Litigation at the Insurance Law Center of the University of Connecticut School of Law. He has also taught insurance-related topics at the University of Virginia Law School and in a wide variety of CLE programs. He is the author or co-author of numerous papers and articles on topics relating to insurance, litigation and alternative dispute resolution, and co-authored one of the earliest publications on cyber insurance coverage.

In addition to his law practice, Mr. Buchanan has served as parent body President and Governing Board member for St. Albans School and on the Andover Alumni Council, as well as other ongoing charity board memberships and activities in the Washington, DC area.

  • The Best of the Best USA
  • The Best Lawyers in America
  • Chambers USA – America’s Leading Business Lawyers (National and DC recognition)
  • The International Who’s Who of Insurance & Reinsurance Lawyers
  • The Legal 500 United States
  • The Legal Media Group Guide to the World’s Leading Insurance and Reinsurance Lawyers
  • Washington DC Super Lawyers
  • Benchmark Litigation
  • Euromoney’s Expert Guides to the World’s Leading Lawyers
  • Who’s Who Legal
For more than 30 years, Covington has been successfully assisting corporate policyholders maximize their available insurance coverage. We help policyholders recover insurance — both in the US and abroad — for a wide variety of claims, including mass-tort liabilities, property and business interruption losses, marine, and D&O, E&O, and many other types of exposures. We have more than 100 lawyers (including 25 partners) in our coverage practice, and a long history of successfully negotiating with and litigating against virtually all major insurers.

Our successes include numerous recoveries in excess of $100 million, including recoveries ranging from $600 million to $1.5 billion each for Merck in connection with Vioxx claims, Armstrong and Owens Corning for asbestos claims, Dow Corning for breast implant claims, and Exxon for the Valdez grounding. Over their careers, our coverage lawyers have helped policyholders recover well in excess of $15 billion.

Covington has the top-ranked policyholder practice in the US and one of the leading practices in the UK, according to the most recent legal rating guides published by Chambers, Legal 500, and PLC. In addition, we received the 2012 Chambers USA Award for Excellence in Insurance, which is awarded annually to only one policyholder firm in the US. This marks the fourth time our practice has received this award in the six years that Chambers USA has been awarding it. In connection with the most recent award, Chambers USA noted of Covington: “The foremost policyholder practice in the country remains at the very highest end of the American legal market. Its stellar reputation continues to evolve thanks to the dedication of some of the world’s most prominent experts in the field from across the United States.”

Confirming the unmatched depth of our coverage practice, we have more individually recognized leading practitioners than any other policyholder firm in the most recent editions of Chambers USA and UK (14 lawyers, including five of the top 12 in the US national rankings) and The Legal Media Group Guide to the World’s Leading Insurance and Reinsurance Lawyers (12 lawyers).

From our offices in Beijing, Brussels, London, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, Silicon Valley, and Washington, we practice as one firm, holding closely to core values that start with a deep commitment to our clients and the quality of our work on their behalf, and that include an emphasis on teamwork among our lawyers and other professionals and a belief in the obligation of lawyers to make legal services available to all who need them.

Our lawyers are recognized nationally and internationally for their legal skills and the depth of their expertise. Many have served in senior government positions. Virtually all of them provide public service through pro bono representation. The diversity of our lawyers strengthens our ability to evaluate issues confronting our clients and to communicate effectively on their behalf in any setting. And because every client is a client of the firm, not of any specific lawyer, every client has the ability to call on any of our lawyers as needed.

Our national and international clients look to us for advice and judgment on a broad array of legal issues.

  • Our litigators handle civil and criminal cases throughout the United States, and our lawyers appear regularly in courts of the European Union. We handle arbitrations, agency proceedings, and matters before international tribunals. At the trial level, Covington litigators in recent years have prevailed in jury trials involving claims as diverse as employment discrimination, complex insurance disputes, antitrust and international commercial disputes.
  • In the corporate, tax and benefits area, we take a multi-disciplinary approach, resulting in an ability to deliver innovative and creative solutions. Clients benefit from the collaboration of teams of lawyers having expertise in mergers and acquisitions, securities, finance, corporate governance, tax and benefits, bankruptcy and real estate.
  • Our regulatory lawyers are recognized as experts in their fields and regularly combine their talents on behalf of the world’s top financial institutions, pharmaceutical and life sciences companies, telecommunications and technology companies, utilities, railroads, sports leagues and consumer goods companies, among others.
  • In the trade, antitrust and consumer protection areas, we advise on international trade matters, including trade policy, international trade controls, national security and international boundary and investment disputes, and we handle complex civil and criminal antitrust and consumer law matters, including treble-damage actions, class actions, multi-district litigation and internal investigations.
  • Lawyers across the firm’s offices regularly confront emerging legal and policy issues in such technology fields as satellite, cable, wireless and digital communications, software, information infrastructure, privacy, and data security. Our media lawyers advise on constitutional questions as well as commercial matters, including program production, content review, program rights and much more.


John Buchanan is “at the top of the profession” and is described by sources as “a top-notch attorney who is very bright and great with clients.” He has experience in the asbestos, E&O, D&O, general liability and fidelity bond arenas, among other areas.
Chambers USA, 2015