Conflicts prompt Carey duo to create boutique

Two former partners of Guernsey firm Carey Olsen have taken the unusual step of launching their own specialist litigation and employment boutique in a bid to avoid the conflicts that plagued them while at the offshore giant.

Litigation specialist Alison Ozanne and employment expert Louise Hall left Carey Olsen late last year and have now launched AO Hall, a specialist commercial litigation, employment, alternative dispute resolution and regulatory firm.

Ozanne services institutional clients in the banking, insurance and trust sectors, as well as advising clients on regulatory and compliance issues. Hall specialises in contentious and non-contentious employment advice for employer clients in the financial services and retail sectors.

Managing partner Louise Hall said that creating a litigation practice without the frustrations of running into commercial conflicts was a key reason for the split.

The launch represents a rare development in Guernsey’s legal market, which has thus far been dominated by the high street at one end and the major full-service firms at the other.

The problem of legal and commercial conflicts for financial services litigation groups is heightened in Guernsey because of the limited nature of the market. Banks tend to spread their work across Guernsey’s three market leaders – Carey Olsen, Ozannes and Ogier & Le Masurier – and local players frequently decline instructions due to legal or commercial conflicts.

However, Ogier is one major Guernsey firm to exploit the web of conflicts restricting other litigation players. Last year the firm hired Simon Davies, another former Carey Olsen litigator, to spearhead its growing litigation group.