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Mary-Lee Payne

Phone: +1 202.624.2522
1001 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20004-2595

Mary-Lee Payne is an associate in Crowell & Moring's Insurance/Reinsurance Group in the firm's Washington, D.C. office. She has been practicing as an insurance coverage attorney for more than 15 years representing insurer clients with strong results. Her focus has been on the resolution of disputes, whether by litigation, arbitration, mediation, compromise, or other means of alternative dispute resolution.

While the primary focus of her position has been litigation, Mary-Lee's background includes disciplines as diverse as insurance coverage, medicine, general and products liability, toxic torts, and environmental law. She has substantial experience in the nuances of insurance coverage, both regionally and nationally, in areas involving toxic and mass torts, products liability, long-term exposure, environmental, personal injury, and medical malpractice. Mary-Lee has counseled insurance clients generally with respect to questions of coverage, bad faith, allocation, trigger, and appellate practice. She has worked closely with claims professionals in order to develop a better appreciation of all aspects of the claims process and its impact upon and contribution to insurance coverage litigation.

Mary-Lee has directed strategy and procedure for defense of cases involving declaratory judgment complaints; unfair claims practices; breach of duties to defend, indemnify, and/or contract; and bad faith claims. She has researched all aspects of state or federal law, whether statutory or case law, as needed to support positions. Mary-Lee has analyzed underlying claims and requests for coverage to interpret whether claims fall into the category for which the policies provided coverage and whether the litigation or settlement of those underlying claims was reasonable and necessary and/or covered. She has coordinated with joint defense groups, prepared accompanying agreements with allocations of financial responsibility or commitment, and managed all facets of cases from commencement through to settlement or trial. Mary-Lee has also negotiated settlements for insurer clients after preparing risk/benefit analyses saving millions of dollars in available coverage.

She is sensitive to the need for prompt and accurate case evaluation, coordination of discovery and witness selection, frequent and complete reporting of litigation progress, and the need for accurate and understandable billing. In addition, Mary-Lee has presented seminars on timely topics in insurance coverage litigation for in-house legal staff members, in some cases providing satisfying continuing legal education requirements.

Mary-Lee received her B.A. in criminal justice from Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1994 and her J.D. from The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law in Washington, DC in 2000. Mary-Lee was admitted to the Maryland Bar in 2000 and the D.C. Bar in 2001. She is admitted to practice before the U.S. District Courts for Maryland and the District of Columbia, as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the District of Columbia.


  • Salve Regina University, B.A. (1994)
  • Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, J.D. (2000)


Admitted to practice: District of Columbia, Maryland, U.S. District Courts for Maryland and the District of Columbia, U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the District of Columbia

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Crowell & Moring LLP is an international law firm with more than 500 lawyers representing clients in litigation and arbitration, regulatory, and transactional matters. The firm is internationally recognized for its representation of Fortune 500 companies in high-stakes litigation, as well as its ongoing commitment to pro bono service and diversity. The firm has offices in Washington, DC, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County, London, Brussels, and Shanghai.

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