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08/22/22  |  News & Events

Hermes Netburn Attorneys Named to Annual Best Lawyers List, with Shareholder Tony Sbarra Named “Lawyer of the Year” in Mass Tort Litigation

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Hermes Netburn O’Connor and Spearing is pleased to announce that seven shareholders are selected by their peers for inclusion in the 2023 edition of Best Lawyers in America© publication. Four associates are recognized on the Best Lawyers in America© Ones to Watch list.

Attorneys selected by their peers for inclusion in this year’s directory include shareholders Peter G. Hermes, Peter C. Netburn, John R. Felice, Kevin J. O’Connor, Holly M. Polglase, Anthony J. Sbarra, Jr. and Michael S. Batson. Additionally, Associate Matthew E. Bown, Brian M. Gibbons, Brian J. O’Connor and Patrick T. Ryan are named on this year’s Best Lawyers Ones to Watch list.

Shareholder Tony Sbarra is named as “Lawyer of the Year” in the area of Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions– Defendants in Boston for his high caliber work on behalf of clients.

It is an honor to achieve this annual recognition as it reflects the firm’s attorneys’ deep commitment to excellence in the legal profession. The firm’s lawyers always strive to provide clients with innovative and practical solutions at unsurpassed value. Hermes Netburn represents national and international businesses, insurance companies, and individuals in a wide range of matters throughout New England and beyond.


Peter G. Hermes is recognized again this year by Best Lawyers for Insurance Law. Peter is the past President and a founding shareholder of Hermes, Netburn, O’Connor & Spearing, P.C. He has over forty years of experience handling cutting edge insurance coverage, bad faith and complex construction matters. His broad trial practice also includes cases involving surety law, corporate disputes, intellectual property rights, patent licensing agreements, defamation claims and environmental torts.

Peter C. Netburn is recognized again this year by Best Lawyers for Insurance Law and Insurance Litigation. Peter is a founding shareholder of Hermes, Netburn, O’Connor & Spearing, P.C. who concentrates his practice on the areas of general, civil and commercial litigation, construction law, surety and fidelity law, insurance coverage and defense, environmental and business law, complex tort, toxic tort and product liability law.

Anthony J. Sbarra, Jr. is recognized again by Best Lawyers for Personal Injury Litigation/Defendants and Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions/Defendants. Tony is recognized this year as a 2023 “Lawyer of the Year” in the area of Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions/Defendants in Boston. Tony’s practice focuses in civil litigation with an emphasis on products liability and toxic torts. He defends manufacturers of automobiles, light, medium and heavy trucks, construction equipment, farm/agricultural equipment, electrical equipment, wire and cable and other products in products liability cases. He also defends toxic tort actions, particularly those involving asbestos. With over 30 years of experience, Tony has tried to verdict more than 30 Superior Court and 60 District Court actions and arbitrated or mediated several hundred cases. He also serves as a neutral arbitrator in personal injury cases and has been court appointed as guardian ad litem for persons injured in such cases. Tony is an elected National Director for the prestigious Defense Research Institute (DRI – Lawyer Representing Business), an international membership organization for all lawyers involved in the defense of civil litigation. Recognized for his trial experience, he is also an elected member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. Tony also serves as the Chair of the State Membership Chair Sub-Committee and Vice Chair of the State and Local Defense Organization Relationship Committee for the Defense Research Institute and serves as one of its national speakers.

John R. Felice is recognized again this year by Best Lawyers for Personal Injury Litigation/Defendants. John has over twenty years of experience representing manufacturers and distributors of asbestos-containing products in toxic tort cases pending throughout New England. He also serves as national coordinating counsel for a major automotive retailer and is charged with managing the litigation against that retailer throughout the U.S. John also has substantial experience defending product liability claims involving consumer, commercial and industrial products and representing insurers, insurance claim administrators, and other stakeholders in connection with complex insurance coverage matters. In addition to the top quality service he provides to his clients, John is an active member of the legal community and currently serves as the Immediate Past President of the Massachusetts Defense Lawyers Association.

Kevin J. O’Connor is recognized again this year by Best Lawyers for Insurance Law. Kevin is the President and a founding shareholder of Hermes, Netburn, O’Connor & Spearing, P.C. He has over thirty years of experience representing insurers and other clients in all aspects of trial, arbitration and appeal in coverage, bad faith, reinsurance recovery and surety matters in jurisdictions throughout the United States. He also has extensive experience in construction, environmental and commercial litigation matters. Kevin is a member of the Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith Executive Committee of the Primerus Defense Institute and for many years has been Vice President and a Director of the Surety Claims Institute.

Holly M. Polglase is recognized again by Best Lawyers for Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions-Defendants; Personal Injury Litigation/Defendants and Product Liability Litigation/Defendants. Holly was honored as “Best Lawyer of the Year” in 2018 for Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions-Defendants. Holly is a well-known lawyer who acts as lead counsel in the defense and trial of complex product liability, pharmaceutical, medical device, toxic tort, asbestos, general liability and commercial matters. With over twenty-five years of experience, Holly represents product manufacturers, sellers and other businesses for catastrophic losses. Holly has a rich history of serving her industry, most recently as the 2018 Chair of the ABA’s Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS).

Michael S. Batson is recognized by Best Lawyers for Insurance Law and Litigation/Construction. Michael represents insurers and policyholders, individuals and corporations in complex litigation matters. He handles civil, commercial and class action litigation, construction law, insurance coverage and defense, environmental law, complex tort and product liability law. Michael also represents clients in connection with claims for coverage on general liability, property, professional liability, directors and officers liability, umbrella and excess policies, and fidelity and surety bonds. 

Matthew E. Bown is recognized again this year on the Best Lawyers Ones to Watch list in the area of Insurance Law/Product Liability and Litigation/Defendants. Matt concentrates his practice in the areas of litigation, product liability, insurance coverage, insurance law and professional liability. He works with clients to resolve disputes related to insurance coverage claims. Matt also handles professional malpractice matters in connection with commercial lending transactions.

Brian M. Gibbons is named to the Best Lawyers Ones to Watch list in the area of Product Liability Litigation/Defendants. Brian represents businesses and insurers in insurance coverage, product liability, toxic tort, and professional liability claims.

Brian J. O’Connor is named to the Best Lawyers Ones to Watch list in the area of Insurance Law. Brian focuses his practice in the areas of litigation and insurance law.

Patrick T. Ryan is named to the Best Lawyers Ones to Watch list in the area of Commercial Litigation. Patrick concentrates his practice in the areas of insurance law, insurance coverage, surety and fidelity law, construction and litigation.


The Best Lawyers in America© distinction is only bestowed upon the most esteemed lawyers in the industry, recognizing only 5% of the attorneys in the United States.

Best Lawyers is the oldest peer-reviewed publication in the legal profession. A listing in Best Lawyers is widely regarded by both clients and legal professionals as a significant honor, conferred on a lawyer by his or her peers. For more than three decades, Best Lawyers lists have earned the respect of the profession, the media, and the public, as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals anywhere.

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers lists are compiled based on an exhaustive peer-review evaluation. More than 113,000 industry leading lawyers are eligible to vote (from around the world), and we have received more than 15 million evaluations on the legal abilities of other lawyers based on their specific practice areas around the world. For the 2023 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®, more than 12.2 million votes were analyzed, which resulted in more than 66,000 leading lawyers being included in the new edition. Lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed; therefore, inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor.