Bette M. Orr Senior Counsel / Partner Emeritus

Bette Orr’s practice focuses on the representation of corporate policyholders and asbestos trusts to secure coverage for toxic tort and environmental claims. Bette’s practice utilizes multiparty negotiation and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to resolve insurance disputes involving asbestos, silica, and environmental contamination. Bette also advises corporate policyholders in obtaining insurance assets that have been transferred in large-scale corporate restructuring and in determining respective obligations for liabilities among various corporate affiliates.

Bette has secured insurance proceeds to meet the obligations of bankrupt entities and resulting asbestos trusts. In doing so, she has developed expertise in the interaction between insurance assets and the bankrupt entities’ environmental and asbestos liabilities. She has advised her clients in the drafting of plans for reorganization that incorporate insurance assets in their successful reorganization. Both during and after the bankruptcy, she has negotiated insurance recoveries on behalf of the entity holding rights to the insurance.

Bette has significant experience negotiating resolution of coverage issues with insolvent insurers in both the U.S. and U.K. She has settled complex disputes on behalf of corporate policyholders, asbestos trusts, and other entities entitled to coverage through the negotiation of allowed claims entitling her clients to substantial recoveries from these insolvent insurers. Bette also serves on creditors’ committees in both the U.S. and U.K. that oversee the prompt and full recovery of assets for estates of the insolvent insurers and the equitable distribution of these assets. Bette represents the interest of her clients, and generally all policyholder creditors, in ensuring that the assets of these insolvent insurers are distributed fairly and promptly.

Bette has also represented policyholders in insurance disputes involving claims covered by professional liability, and directors and officers coverage.

Bette’s pro bono work includes representing clients who have been affected by natural disasters, such as Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina.


  • Represented several multinational automotive suppliers in negotiations with U.S. and U.K. insurers to secure coverage for asbestos and environmental claims.
  • Represented a multinational auto parts manufacturer with multiple streams of liability and insurance to determine the insurance assets available to meet the obligations of the bankrupt estate and to develop a plan of reorganization permitting the manufacturer to emerge from bankruptcy.
  • Represented several Trusts established to receive insurance assets from bankrupt policyholders and to secure the insurance assets for the Trusts.
  • Represented a corporation in negotiations involving an insolvent insurer and three other large corporations that were all claiming rights to the same insurance. Bette negotiated among the corporations as well as the insurers.
  • Represented a law firm to secure coverage under its professional liability coverage.


  • 1989 — J.D., Yale Law School
    • Articles Editor, Yale Law and Policy Review, 1988-89
  • 1974 — B.A., Dunbarton College


  • District of Columbia
  • Cherokee Nation


  • Best Lawyers in America, Insurance Law, 2018-2024