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Jersey giant Mourant du Feu & Jeune is to make legal history when it becomes the first offshore firm to launch in New York in April.
The move is part of a global expansion programme that aims to place Mourant in all of the world's major financial centres.
Mourant chief executive Stephen Ball exclusively told The Lawyer that the firm aims to become the leading offshore firm in a very short space of time, with significant presences planned for London and New York.
"Our strategic aim is to be where our principal clients are, and that's London and New York," said Ball. "It's odd, given that New York is a vital feeder market for Cayman legal work, that no other offshore firms are there."
The launch coincides with the completion of Mourant's merger with Cayman Islands rival Quin & Hampson planned for March (The Lawyer, 19 February) to push the firm back into the top five offshore firms.
Senior associate Simon Felton will relocate from Mourant's London office in April to head the New York office.
He will be based in the existing Manhattan offices of Mourant's fund administration arm.
Ball said the firm was in advanced discussions with several potential lateral hires for its New York office at the same time as it looks to build London.