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Offshore firm Conyers Dill & Pearman has opened in Mauritius in a bid to bag work coming out of Asia.
The move comes as Mauritius looks to revamp its legal sector (see box, right) to entice international firms to set up shop on the island and raise the profile of its financial services sector (The Lawyer, 2 June).
Conyers chairman John Collis said: “Mauritius companies are the primary choice for foreign direct investment into India and Indonesia and their popularity is growing elsewhere.”
He added: “Our Dubai office has seen a growing number of firms investing in India, an example of which is the recent announcement by Dubai International Capital that it will be making major investments in India.”
Conyers ;consultants Nicolas ;Richard ;and Sameer Tegally will be based in the Mauritius office. The pair will work as part of a global Mauritius practice, which will include associate Sonia Xavier, who is based in the firm’s Dubai office, and Luchmyparsad Aujayeb in the Singapore office.
The firm said further growth of the practice would come through lateral hires, first in its Hong Kong office and later in London.
The practice will focus on general corporate and commercial work, with particular emphasis on investment funds, private equity, joint ventures, financing transactions and securitisations.
It is the second office opening for Conyers this year. In January it became the first offshore firm to launch in Moscow in an effort to tap into a Russian and Eastern European client base (The Lawyer, 14 January).
Meanwhile, Conyers has named ;Christopher Johnson-Gilbert managing partner of the London office, replacing Martin Lane who launched the office in 1998. Lane will return to the securitisation practice in a client-facing role. Johnson-Gilbert, a former Linklaters partner who joined Conyers in 2003, told The Lawyer: “It’s a slightly different role focusing full-time on strategy and management of the office.”
He said the breadth of Conyers’ geographical reach, with 10 offices spanning from Bermuda to Hong Kong, had meant the firm had to put in place an over-arching management team to coordinate strategy.
“With the integration of our Moscow office, the launch of the Mauritius branch and another opening before the end of the year, we’ve become more international and that needs to be coordinated,” said Johnson-Gilbert.
Conyers is now the largest offshore firm in terms of geographical reach.
Mauritius: A legal paradise
The Mauritius business sector has become the island’s second most important economic sector after tourism, with an average growth rate of nearly 10 per cent over the past 10 years. Its geographic location makes it the gateway to the modern trade routes of southern Asia.
Mauritius is on the verge of overhauling laws governing the legal profession in an effort to encourage more international firms to set up on the island.
Under the new rules, international firms will be able to set up standalone offices, where they have at least two lawyers in situ, but they will still have to maintain associations with local lawyers.