The Lawyer Offshore Survey 2010: The offshore elite

For the first time since the survey began three years ago Maples and Calder has been knocked off the top spot, to be replaced by Appleby as the largest firm in terms of partner numbers.

There are plenty of changes further down the table too, as movement between firms and the fallout from private practice sees lawyers finding new homes in the world’s offshore jurisdictions.

It is interesting to note that the combined partnership total of our top 20 firms has increased by 21 per cent in four years, from 476 in 2006-07 to 577 in 2009-10.

Given that those years have been predominately overshadowed by a recession, these figures reveal steady expansion in the market.

Survey aside, there are six reports from offshore lawyers. They include a potted history of the largest-ever litigation in Jersey, a passionate defence of trusts after an attack from the Austrian government and the rise in non-UK investors playing Monopoly with the country’s most expensive houses, dubbed ’super prime’ – residential properties exceeding £10m in value.

 This year’s offshore survey has a new leader at one end of the table and a new name at the bottom. The merger between Appleby and Isle of Man firm Dickinson Cruickshank saw Appleby leap above Maples and Calder in terms of partner numbers for the first time since the survey began. The new ­Appleby’s 74 partners (12 more than at Maples) and 207 lawyers is a first in the offshore world and makes it ­similar in size to top 50 firms in the UK.

As a direct consequence of Appleby’s merger a space has been made for a new entrant in the table, and Bermuda’s Cox Hallett Wilkinson (CHW) slots in neatly behind the rest. The firm was formed in 1998 from the merger of two Bermuda firms before a tie-up with former Ernst & Young-tied firm Hollis & Co in July 2004 ­cemented its ­current form.

This year’s survey records lawyers and partners in the law firms, not the fiduciary businesses. The results paint a clearer ­picture of the market. There are three firms vying for fifth place: Carey Olsen, Mourant du Feu & Jeune and Ogier, with Ogier ­finding itself alongside a growing Mourant.

Firms in the offshore market are in a race to expand. The biggest difference in this year’s survey is seen in the firms that remained ­static or decreased their partner numbers. Bedell Cristin, for instance, has dropped from ninth to twelfth place after its fiduciary ­partners are removed from the total.

However, more consolidation in the ­coming year will change 2011’s table once again. The birth of Mourant Ozannes, announced this month, will see it knocking on the door of third spot with a partnership of 50. With a gulf appearing between the top five firms and the rest, the difference between this year’s survey compared with last year’s (and how next year’s will look) will be food for thought.



Group managing partner: Peter Bubenzer
Number of partners: 74
Number of equity partners: Not disclosed
Number of lawyers: 207
Number of offices: 11
Locations: Bahrain, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Hong Kong, Isle of Man, Jersey, London, Mauritius, Seychelles, Zurich
Key practice areas: Corporate and ­commercial; litigation and insolvency; ­private client and trusts; property
Key clients: Blackstone; Butterfield ­Fulcrum; Ecopetrol; Hatfield Philips ­International; Osmium Special Situations Fund; Validus Group

For the ever-expanding Appleby, 2009 was marked by a significant merger with Isle of Man firm Dickinson Cruickshank. The deal, which was announced in June and completed in ­October, took the ­combined firms over the 200-lawyer mark and increased its partnership to 74 – the largest in the world of the offshore firms.

Sean Dowling was named managing partner of the firm’s Isle of Man office.

The firm also opened offices in the ­Seychelles, with Malcolm Moller acting as managing ­partner, as well as in Bahrain, with Jeanne Bartlett as managing director.

Other developments saw Jeffrey Kirk moving to its Hong Kong office as a partner within the corporate and commercial ­practice and lots of new faces in the firm’s Cayman Islands office.
These included the July hire of Gray Smith, previously with Ogier, who joined as a partner in the funds team; Simon Raftopolous being named as team leader for the firm’s insurance ­practice; and Sonia Starvis, previously a partner at Walkers, joining the property group, all in Cayman.

Notable cases included the firm acting as Bermuda counsel for Validus on its $1.65bn (£1.05bn) acquisition of IPC ­Holdings, led by corporate counsel Alan Bossin.

The firm also acted for Hatfield Philips International as special servicer of certain senior debt in relation to the debt ­restructuring of Four Seasons, a healthcare group with nursing and care homes and other specialist units across the UK. Partners Wendy Benjamin, Tim Hart and ­solicitor Danny Cole led the advice.


Maples and Calder

Global managing partner: Henry Smith
Number of partners: 62
Number of equity partners: 19
Number of lawyers: 196
Number of offices: 7
Locations: British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dubai; Dublin, Hong Kong, Jersey, London
Key practice areas: Corporate; finance; IP; insolvency and corporate restructuring; investment funds (hedge and private ­equity); litigation; real estate; regulatory and financial services; structured finance; trusts
Key clients: Source UK Services (firm declined to give more names)

A key year for Maples and Calder ended with its co-managing partner team of Charles Jennings and Julian Reddyhough leaving the firm in December to be replaced by ­Cayman Islands funds partner Henry Smith. 
The shake-up also saw the creation of a new management committee comprising Smith, Cayman funds partner David Brooks, Cayman corporate partner Gareth Griffiths, Hong Kong managing partner Christine Chang and Dublin managing partner Andrew Doyle. 
In November the firm’s continually expanding Dublin office picked up a team of six litigators from A&L Goodbody, ­including equity party Dudley Solan.
Over the 12 months the firm made up  eight  new partners, five into its Cayman office and one in each of its Dublin, Dubai and Hong Kong offices.
David Brooks, a partner at the firm, was appointed as chairman of its fiduciary ­business Maples Finance to oversee its expansion after its October launch in ­Montreal. Arabella di Lorio and Clinton Hempel were named joint managing ­partners of the British Virgin Islands office and Jon Fowler as head of the firm’s ­Cayman funds group.



Managing partner: Grant Stein
Number of partners: 48
Number of equity partners: Not disclosed
Number of lawyers: 146 ­
Number of offices: Locations:British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dubai, Hong Kong, Jersey, London, Singapore 

Key practice areas: Corporate and ­international finance law with an emphasis on investment funds; capital markets and ­structured finance; ­commercial litigation and dispute resolution; insolvency and ­corporate recovery; Islamic finance; trusts
Key clients: Barclays Private Bank & Trust; Blackstone Group; Carlyle Group; HSBC; Oaktree Capital Management; ­Petrobras

Walkers began 2009 with the opening of a Singapore base – a move that 
kick-­started a strategic plan to concentrate on the growth of the firm’s international network, in ­particular the emerging markets. 
In May Walkers announced the wind-down of two Cayman Islands-based practices, criminal and real estate, which resulted in 15 people being made ­redundant. This was followed with an international restructure, with the firm splitting into five core ­global divisions rather than operating on a jurisdictional basis. 
The global teams are: finance and ­corporate, headed by London-based ­Antonia Hardy; private equity, headed by Cayman-based Vicki Hazelden; hedge funds, ­headed by Dubai-based Rod Palmer; insolvency and restructuring, led by ­Cayman-based Guy Locke; and litigation, headed by Murray, also in Cayman. 
“We wanted a team approach externally and internally,” said global managing ­partner Grant Stein (The Lawyer, 27 July 2009). 
While the firm reduced its partner count overall from 53 to 48, it made a number of key hires, including partners Colette Wilkins and Neil Lupton to the firm’s ­Cayman office and Linda Martin, who joined from Maples and Calder and who now heads the firm’s finance practice in London and Dubai.


Conyers Dill & Pearman

Managing partner: John Collis
Number of partners: 41
Number of equity partners: Not disclosed
Number of lawyers: 163
Number of offices: 11
Locations: Anguilla, Bermuda, British ­Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dubai, Hong Kong, London, Mauritius, Moscow, São Paulo, Singapore
Key practice areas: Aircraft registration and finance; banking and finance; bankruptcy; insolvency and restructuring; commercial ­litigation; company and commercial; ­corporate; insurance and reinsurance; IP; ­investment funds; property; ship ­registration and finance; ­trademarks and patents; trust and private client
Key clients: General Electric; Lazard; ­Macquarie Group; Man Investments; ­Merrill Lynch; Old Mutual; PepsiCo; UBS; Union ­Bancaire Privée

 In 2008 Conyers Dill & Pearman set about expanding its global office base with a Moscow launch (The Lawyer, 3 March 2008). The firm also announced its ­intention to set up shop in São Paulo later that year (The Lawyer, 1 December 2008) and opened there in April 2009 with two partners, Alan ­Dickson and Benjamin Dyer. This was ­followed with another office opening in Mauritius in June to target work coming out of the Asian markets and then the addition of a Cypriot lawyer to its Moscow office to accommodate a move into Cypriot law.
Conyers has its sights set on targeting work emerging form the Bric economies (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and has spent the past few years repositioning to ­capitalise on its market position.
As well as investing in new office bases the firm has strengthened its ranks by making key hires across the board. This included the addition of attorneys-at-law Sara Collins and Bernadette Carey to the Cayman Islands office and associate Devalingum Gopalla, who ­specialises in investment into and out of India, China and Africa, to the London office. In the British Virgin Islands the firm ­re-recruited Dawn Smith, who left the firm to take up a post as the UK representative for the BVI government before returning.
Conyers has already unveiled its intention to open a new outpost in the Channel Islands in 2010. This will become a more urgent priority given the announced planned merger between Mourant and Ozannes.


Carey Olsen

Chairman:John Kelleher
Number of partners: 33
Number of ­equity partners:27
Number of lawyers: 118
Number of offices: 3
Locations: Guernsey, Jersey, London
Key practice areas: Banking; corporate and finance; employment; funds and private equity; ­litigation and dispute resolution; property; trust and fiduciary
Key clients: Ashmore Group; Close ­International Asset Management; HSBC; Morgan Stanley; Nordic Capital; Royal Bank of Canada

Carey Olsen welcomed John Kelleher as its new chairman in 2009 following the retirement of Tony Olsen in July.
In April the firm’s Guernsey office moved from its offices next to the Royal Court, where the team occupied five buildings, to a landmark development in the island’s ­growing financial district in St Peter Port, bringing all the firm’s employees together in the same building.
Over the 12 months the firm promoted Siobhan Riley (trusts), Marcus Pallot ­(banking), Robin Smith (corporate) and Guy Coltman (corporate) to the ­partnership, with Tim Corfield (banking and finance) starting in January 2010.


Mourant du Feu & Jeune

Managing partner: Jonathan
Rigby Number of partners: 33 ­
Number of equity partners: 33
Number of lawyers: 91
Number of offices: 4
Locations: Cayman Islands, Guernsey, ­Jersey, London
Key practice areas: Finance and corporate; funds; litigation; ­insolvency and ­restructuring; property; trusts; ­employment 

Key clients: Citigroup; CVC Capital Partners; ETF Securities; JPMorgan; Royal Bank 
of Canada; WPP

In a milestone year for the firm, Mourant du Feu & Jeune forged a ­relationship with Ozannes in the Channel Islands, announcing plans to merge earlier this month.
The new firm, Mourant Ozannes, sees Mourant’s Cayman Islands practice benefit from Ozannes’ Channel Islands footprint, while Ozannes gains entry to Cayman and the clout to expand internationally. 
Key to the merger was Mourant’s ­divestment of its fiduciary business, Mourant ­International Finance Administration, which it sold in December 2009. The move showed Mourant’s commitment to concentrating solely on acing as a law firm, a ­strategy that was essential for Ozannes to be interested in completing a deal. 
“We were very struck by the remarkable similarities between the two firms – the ­cultures are clearly compatible,” said Mourant managing partner Jonathan Rigby after the deal was struck. 
Over 2009 the firm made up three new partners: Bruce Lincoln and Justin Harvey-Hills (both litigation in Jersey) and Peter Hayden (litigation in Cayman). The firm also hired funds partner James Wauchope from Maples and Calder into its Cayman office. 
Key deals for the firm included the Alhamrani litigation, on which partner Jonathan Speck acted as lead advocate for JPMorgan, supported by partner Bruce ­Lincoln. Associate Peter Steen and legal assistant Fritha Ford also worked ­extensively on the case.
Mourant also relocated its London office to larger premises at the former Stock Exchange building on Old Broad Street.



Chief executive: Nick Kershaw
Chairman: Clive Chaplin
of partners: 33
Number of equity partners: 23
Number of lawyers: 170
Number of offices: 9
Locations: Bahrain, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Hong Kong, ­Ireland, 
Jersey, London, Tokyo
Key practice areas: Banking and finance; ­corporate and commercial; listing services; derivatives; employee benefits; ­employment; investment funds; litigation; private wealth; trusts; real estate; ­restructuring and insolvency
Key clients: Barclays Bank; Four Seasons Health Care; HSBC; Lloyds TSB Offshore; Royal Bank of Canada; UC Rusal

Ogier welcomed seven new lawyers to its partnership over 2009. Five promotions saw Edward Mackereth and Sally Edwards (Jersey), Nicholas Plowman (Hong Kong) and Chris Russell and Angus Davison ­(Cayman Islands) make partner. In ­addition, Ray Wearmouth joined the British Virgin Islands (BVI) office from Harneys in the BVI and Nick Rogers joined the ­Cayman practice from Walkers in Cayman.
Notable cases include the unusual ­listing of Russian aluminium company Rusal on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the first listing of a Jersey company on the exchange. Jersey partner Marc Yates led the Ogier team. 
In November the firm won a mandate to advise on the launch of the Women’s ­Leadership Fund, one of the first funds to focus on investing in companies with a high number of women in senior roles.



Managing partner: Heinz Schärer
Number of partners: 32 ­
Number of equity partners: Not disclosed
Number of lawyers: 120
Number of offices: 1
Location: Zurich
Key practice areas: ­Corporate and M&A; financial services; tax; arbitration and ­litigation; antitrust; IP/IT; private client; employment; ­restructuring; insolvency; corporate compliance; criminal matters
Key clients: ABB; Bank Julius Baer; Ciba; Credit Suisse; F Hoffmann-La Roche; General ­Dynamics; ­Holcim; JPMorgan; Merck; Nestlé; Robert Bosch; Swiss Life Holding; UBS; Unilabs
Swiss powerhouse

Homburger continued its strong performance in Europewide M&A over 2009. 
Among the many notable deals the firm was involved in throughout the year was ­acting for UBS after the Swiss Confederation’s SFr6bn (£3.56bn) conversion of its ­holding of UBS mandatory convertible notes. 
The Homburger team comprised ­partners Claude Lambert (corporate and capital markets) and Daniel Daeniker (corporate) and associate Benjamin Leisinger.
Markus Wirth, a partner in Homburger’s litigation arbitration practice, was named one of 41 new members to the ICC ­International Court of Arbitration in Paris.


Arendt & Medernach
Chairman:Paul Mousel
Number of partners: 30
Number of 
equity partners: Not disclosed
Number of lawyers: 270
of offices: 6
Locations: Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong, ­London, ­Luxembourg, New York
Key practice areas: Administrative law; banking and financial services; bank ­lending; capital markets; property and ­construction; structured finance; corporate and tax compliance ­services; corporate law; M&A; dispute resolution; employment, ­pensions and ­benefits; EU and competition; insurance; IP; commercial, communication and ­technology; private wealth; regulated investment funds; tax
Key clients: Not disclosed

Arendt & Medernach increased its ­footprint with the opening of a Hong Kong ­representative office in November 2009. 
The office is led by senior associate Stéphane Karolczuk, with founding partner and head of international development Guy Harles and investment funds partner Claude Niedner visiting the region on a ­regular basis. The new office will not ­practise under Hong Kong law, for which the firm will continue to collaborate closely with local firms. 
“Our clients in the region seek information on the Luxembourg financial centre, which helps them assist their contacts in the greater China region,” explains Harles. 
In July the firm promoted 19 of its lawyers to senior associate level, seven of whom joined its regulated investment funds ­practice. This revealed a commitment by the firm to focus on its widely recognised funds expertise.


Elvinger Hoss & Prussen

Managing partner: Manou Hoss
Number of partners: 27 ­
Number of equity partners: Not disclosed
Number of lawyers: 77
Number of offices: 1 Location: Luxembourg
Key practice areas: Corporate; corporate finance; M&A; banking and ­general ­commercial law; insurance; investment and pension funds; Sicars; asset management; private equity structures; European law; ­securitisation; IP; administrative; labour; tax
Key clients: Not disclosed 

Independent Luxembourg firm Elvinger Hoss & Prussen continued its focus on banking and finance, corporate and M&A, dispute resolution and investment funds, in which it is considered a leader. 
The firm’s relationship with Slaughter and May and other firms throughout Europe saw it maintain a high level of ­mandates over 2009, with name partner Philippe Hoss among those at the firm who had a successful year.



Managing partner: Javier Chincotta
Number of partners: 26 ­
Number of equity partners: 24
Number of lawyers: 74
of offices: 2
Locations: Gibraltar, Spain
Key practice areas: Tax; ­corporate and ­commercial; financial services; private client; funds; property; litigation; trusts and company management; Spanish law
Key clients: Barclays; Deutsche Bank; Lloyds TSB; Shell; Taylor Woodrow; Transcoma Group

With Hassans managing partner Javier Chincotta having been reappointed to the position for a two-year term, it is business as usual for the Gibraltar-based firm. 
Over the past year the firm expanded its partnership with the promotions of Nyreen Llamas (corporate and commercial) and Colleene Wink (property).
Hassans also hired former Maples and Calder marketing technology manager Amanda Noble as its new head of marketing and business development.
The firm is preparing itself for significant growth in funds work as the industry ­continues to recognise the attractions of the Gibraltar fund proposition and additional work from the implementation of a new low tax regime.


Bedell Cristin

Managing partner: Richard Gerwat
Number of partners: 24
Number of equity partners: 15
Number of lawyers: 60
Number of offices: 5
Locations: Dublin, Jersey, Geneva, Guernsey, 
Key practice areas: Funds; banking; capital markets; private client; trusts; employment; litigation; insolvency and reconstructions
Key clients: Apax; Aviva; Barclays Capital; ­Condor Group; Deutsche Bank; Lloyds TSB; RBSI

With three fewer fiduciary partners than the ­previous year, Bedell Cristin slowed the growth it experienced over the previous four years.
Now in year four of its five-year expansion plan, the Jersey-based firm’s most strategic hires of 2008 joined its Guernsey office, where associate Sukh Chana from City firm Taylor Wessing was hired as a lawyer and Withers associate Kate Ovenden came in as a partner in its financial services group.
Partners Mark Taylor and James Gleeson, meanwhile, completed one of the largest pieces of trust litigation ever seen in Jersey, when the Alhamrani litigation ­finally ­settled in November.



Managing partner: Richard Peters
Number of partners: 23
Number of equity partners: 11
Number of lawyers: 62
of offices: 5
Locations: British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cyprus, Hong Kong, London
Key practice areas: Banking and finance; corporate and commercial; investment funds;
litigation and insolvency; private client
Key clients: Brandeaux Funds; Citibank; HSBC; Permal Asset Management; TNK-BP; Virgin

Harneys ended 2009 on a high, entering Cyprus through a merger with ­Aristodemou Loizides Yiolitis. The move continued the firm’s focus on emerging ­markets. 
In total 11 new partners joined the firm, three of whom joined the equity in the firm’s new Cyprus office. 
The firm’s Cayman Islands office, which opened in 2008, expanded with the ­addition of four lawyers, including Sarah Dobbyn, who became a partner on 
1 January 2010 and who now leads the Cayman litigation and insolvency department. The firm also placed Cayman partners in its London and Hong Kong offices and three more ­partners joined on 1 January 2010.



Managing director: Steve Georgala
Number of partners: 20
Number of equity partners: Owned by ­partners and other employees
Number of lawyers: 35
Number of offices: 12

Locations: British Virgin Islands, Cape Town, Dublin, Durban, Geneva, Isle of Man, Johannesburg, London, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Paris
Key practice areas: Corporate commercial; corporate tax; private client and trust law; investment funds
Key clients: Not disclosed

Maitland’s continued focus as an ­offshore trusts services company was ­evident last year when it abandoned plans to open as a law firm in the Cayman Islands. 
More than a year after launching on the islands with litigation partner Sara Collins, the firm pulled the plug on the operation in September 2009. The move came as “part of a worldwide strategic business review prompted by the worldwide recession”, the firm said in a statement.
With 157 staff in its fiduciary business compared with 58 on the legal side, the firm continues to remain weighted heavily towards non-legal.



Managing partner: Robert Shepherd
Number of partners: 20
Number of equity partners: 14
Number of lawyers: 62
of offices: 2
Locations: Guernsey, Jersey
Key practice areas: 
Corporate (investment funds, insurance, banking and 
commercial); litigation (including family and ­employment); 
private client; property and planning; trusts
Key clients: Bank Julius Baer; Butterfield Trust; HSBC; Lloyds TSB; RBSI; Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay

The most significant development of 2009 for Ozannes was its ultimately fruitful discussion with Mourant du Feu & Jeune that began in the summer. 
The firms announced their merger plans this year after secret talks yielded similar culture, lockstep, IT systems and other ­synergies that led to Ozannes managing ­partner Robert Shepherd to say: “We ­couldn’t find any good reasons not to do it.”
Merger plans aside, the firm appointed its litigation head Peter Ferbrache to senior partner and ended the year with its former senior partner Roger Perrot, the last of four founding partners at the firm, standing down.
Notable cases include Ozannes acting for Garnet Investments, a company ­beneficially owned by Tommy Suharto, the youngest son of the former long-serving president of Indonesia. The case related to attempts to gain access to approximately e35m (£30.38m) held in a Guernsey bank account.  
The Indonesian government was ­unsuccessful in a special leave application to the Privy Council and has been ordered to pay all of Garnet’s costs. In a first for the ­Channel Islands, Garnet is now seeking to review a decision to refuse consent to the bank ­holding the funds to deal in them. The outcome of that application will have significance in both islands in what is already an historic set of proceedings. 



Managing director: Andrew Corlett
Number of partners: 16 (directors)
Number of equity partners: 6 (shareholders) 

Number of lawyers: 26
Number of offices: 3
Locations: Isle 
of Man, London, Singapore
Key practice area: Corporate and commercial
Key clients: Barclays Bank; Excalibur Almaz; Genting Singapore; Hammerson; Lloyds Banking Group; PricewaterhouseCoopers 
(as provisional liquidators of Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander (Isle of Man))

Over 2009 Cains moved to new offices on the Isle of Man, bringing all of its ­operations on the island under one roof.
Key deals for the firm included acting for AngloGold Ashanti Holdings Finance on its issue of $650m (£414.79m) worth of guaranteed convertible bonds on the ­Singapore Stock Exchange. The instruction was led by corporate director Richard ­Vanderplank (the firm favours ’directors’ over ’partners’). 
Cains also acted for Russian oil and gas company Exillon Energy on its IPO and ­listing on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange. The IPO raised $100m, with directors Andrew Baker and Tim Shepherd leading.
In addition, corporate director Mike Edwards acted for Genting Singapore ­(formerly Genting International) in ­relation to its S$1.63bn (£740m) rights issue. 
The firm was granted The Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the International Trade category. Cains claims to be the first ­offshore firm ever to win the award. It is presented by the Queen on the advice of the UK prime minister and is the highest ­honour that can be bestowed on a UK business.


Triay & Triay

Managing partner: Joseph Triay
Number of partners: 12 ­
Number of equity partners: 12
Number of lawyers: 29 ­
Number of offices: 3
Locations: Gibraltar, Marbella, Sotogrande
Key practice areas: Company and ­commercial; banking; investment schemes and financial services; ­insurance; trusts; taxation; property; shipping and admiralty; litigation; family; employment; personal injury; insolvency; private client and wealth management; wills and probate; ­telecommunications and e-commerce
Key clients: Not disclosed

Gibraltar-based firm Triay & Triay ­continued its focus on contentious and 
non-contentious work over 2009. 
One of the oldest firms in Gibraltar, Triay’s established relationships with ­banking clients, including UK, Spanish and German banks, helped to maintain its ­position as a highly regarded firm. 
Totus, the firm’s associate wealth ­management company, maintained its focus on offshore administration, adding a further string to the firm’s bow.


Oostvogels Pfister Feyten