JAMAICA'S largest law firm Myers Fletcher & Gordon has opened a four-strong
office in Hammersmith, London, signing two UK-trained lawyers to the practice.
Sole practitioner Colleen Wilson has already been recruited by the Caribbean giant and City solicitor Michael Toohig will start later this year.
The firm, which also operates in the British Virgin Islands, has moved real estate partner Dorothy Pine-McLarty from its Kingston headquarters to start as London managing partner. Kingston-based head of litigation Michael Hilton QC has also transferred to the UK office and former Commonwealth Secretary General Sir Sidrath Ramphal QC will act as a consultant.
In Jamaica Ethan Sinclair has taken over from Pine-McLarty as head of real estate, and Dennis Goffe QC has replaced Hilton.
With more than 40 lawyers across its three offices, the firm represents corporations, government agencies, individuals and foreign diplomatic missions in Jamaica, as well as acting as foreign counsel for overseas lending institutions and foreign corporations with investments in the country.
Pine-McLarty said the London practice, opened last week by Jamaican managing partner Steve Shelton, would concentrate on providing services to the West Indian community, simplifying access to the UK and European markets and assisting UK clients with investments in the West Indies.
The office - in the same building as the firm's client, Jamaican insurance company Mutual Life - will continue Myers Fletcher's work on Privy Council appeals and operate a general practice, focusing on commerce, real estate, intellectual property and litigation.
"We think that we can provide a service to a lot of Caribbean people in London," said Pine-McLarty. "We've sensed that more and more Caribbean people here are interested in investing in their home countries and also we've seen that a lot of Jamaican business people are expanding into Europe.
"In the past distance has created a lot of problems. Many of the lawyers in London, competent as they are at handling legal problems, don't really know what other needs Caribbean people have. We think that we will be able to fill that gap."