Joseph G. Grasso


Joe has spent over three decades advising and defending clients in a wide range of litigation and insurance matters, helping underwriters and other clients avoid litigation when possible and prevail when it is unavoidable. He possesses deep knowledge in particular of the marine insurance industry, as well as the London insurance market. Joe's clients describe him as pragmatic, responsive and efficient. He understands the nature of his clients' businesses and tries to add value to that business whenever possible.

Joe co-chairs Wiggin and Dana’s Insurance Practice Group. He is also a Partner in the Litigation Department and in the Art and Museum Law Practice Group.

For the last 20 years, Joe has been the principal outside counsel for the American Institute of Marine Underwriters and the Inland Marine Underwriters Association. In that role, he has been involved in legislative and regulatory monitoring, governance issues, drafting policy forms, and filing Supreme Court amicus briefs. He is adept at handling issues involving marine casualties, and is a thought leader on the future of marine insurance, including issues arising from autonomous ships and cyber risks. Joe’s extensive experience in representing insurers includes a stint in the office of the general counsel of one of the premier syndicates at Lloyd’s of London.

Joe has worked on matters involving various types of insurance and reinsurance coverages, including aviation, marine (hull, liability, cargo, and yacht), fine art and specie, energy, general liability, professional liability, and political risks.

In addition to representing underwriters, Joe represents brokers, multinational manufacturers and others involved in the supply chain. He has represented clients in cases throughout the U.S. and has personally served as an arbitrator and a mediator. 

Joe's recent experience includes

  • Dismissal of criminal proceedings involving seizure of antiquities from dealers.
  • Dismissal of a ship owner’s claim that a vessel detention by the Libyan government constituted a total loss under war risks coverage.
  • Analysis and resolution of several serious personal injury claims in the U.S. energy and maritime industries for London insurers, cost-effectively resolving high-stakes claims at minimal expense.
  • Investigation and resolution of claims relating to the sinking and total loss of a yacht off the coast of Central America.

Joe is admitted to practice in New York and Pennsylvania and in a number of Federal Courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second and Fifth Circuits. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the Associations of Average Adjusters of the United States and Canada and of the United Kingdom, the U.S. Maritime Law Association (past Director and past Chair of the Committee on Marine Insurance). Joe is also the Chair of the Standing Committee on Marine Insurance of the Comité Maritime International.

Joe writes and speaks extensively on topics of interest to the insurance industry, including coverage issues and policy interpretation, investigation and resolution of claims including bad faith, and state and federal legislation and regulation. He has been recognized in Best's Directory of Recommended Insurance AttorneysWho's Who Legal, and The Legal 500

Before joining Wiggin and Dana in 2008, Joe was a partner at Thacher Proffitt & Wood in New York.

Joe received his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and his B.A. cum laude from Yale University. In addition to being active in alumni affairs at Yale, Joe has served on the Board of Trustees of Tuskegee University since 1994. Joe is also a member of the firm's Diversity Committee.


  • University of Virginia School of Law  (J.D., 1986)
  • Yale University  (B.A., 1983)
    • cum laude

Bar Admissions

  • New York
  • Pennsylvania

Court Admissions

  • US Supreme Court
  • US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • US District Court (Eastern District of New York)
  • US District Court (Southern District of New York)
  • US District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
  • US District Court (Middle District of Pennsylvania)
  • US District Court (Western District of Pennsylvania)

Memberships and Affiliations

  • American Bar Association
    • Tort and Insurance Practice Section
  • Associations of Average Adjusters
    • United States and Canada
    • United Kingdom
  • British Insurance Law Association
  • Maritime Law Association of the United States
    • Past Director; past Chair, Committee on Marine Insurance and General Average
  • Tuskegee University
    • Board of Trustees; Chair of Finance Committee
  • Yale Club of New York City
    • Board of Directors; Chair of Audit Committee