Barristers enticed to take English common law expertise overseas

Three of England’s high-profile barristers have decided to make the move to offshore jurisdictions within the past month.

Nigel Meeson QC and Jo Cunningham of Quadrant Chambers have agreed to take up places in the Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands (BVI) respectively.

Meeson will be the head of litigation at the Cayman Islands office of Conyers Dill & Pearman, while Cunningham will be working for Maples & Calder in the BVI.

Quadrant director Gordon Armstrong said the bar is currently experiencing a “flurry” of moves overseas, but said it is only the best that are making the move.

“The offers that are being made are to the very top-calibre barristers, who some would say would be fools to refuse,” said Armstrong.

Victor Lyon QC of Essex Court Chambers takes up a post at Bermuda law firm Attride Sterling & Woloniecki, but will continue as a door tenant for the top five set.

Senior clerk at Essex Court David Grief said the career path for a successful barrister is changing, with the profession being “no longer based around one jurisdiction or the ultimate ambition of finishing legal life on the bench”.

Grief added: “Jurisdictions with legal systems that apply general principles of English common law offer great opportunities for the modern barrister, who, with technology as it is, can remain as door tenants at their London-based chambers but have a life and a practice elsewhere.”