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Withers is to expand its offering in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) a year after it made its first foray into the offshore jurisdiction.
Withers became the first onshore firm to open in the BVI after relocating funds, investments, tax and trusts partner John Greenwood to the jurisdiction (The Lawyer, 30 March 2009). The aim initially was for the office to be a dispute-resolution hub.
Managing director Margaret Robertson said the firm would expand into corporate, banking and finance transactions, funds and regulatory work. “We have a number of BVI lawyers who do corporate work. Hong Kong is creating a lot of BVI work and we’re looking to accommodate that,” she said.
The news follows the hire of Bond Pearce partner Jon Wall in the BVI office, who was hired by Bond Pearce in December 2006 to develop its finance and arbitration capabilities across London and the South East.
Wall said: “A Financial Times survey confirmed the BVI’s position as the second-largest source of international foreign direct investment, with upwards of $125bn [£86.84bn] invested through the BVI each year. This provides huge opportunities for a high-quality dispute resolution, commercial, finance and trust practice.”
Earlier this year Withers announced plans to put in place a formalised network of international contacts that would refer work to the firm. This is part of an ongoing programme of international expansion across the firm that has included the hire of Denis Petkovic from US firm Pillsbury to head up its international finance and projects practice (The Lawyer, 11 January 2010).