The top 30 offshore firms 2013

1 Maples and Calder

Global managing partner: Henry Smith


Staff: 698

Fee-earners: 305

Qualified lawyers: 245

Partners: 82

Equity partners: Not disclosed

Female partners: 18


Staff: 259

Fee-earners: 164

Key clients

Not disclosed

Maples and Calder leapfrogs Appleby to lead the offshore top 30 for the first time since 2009, based on partner and lawyer numbers, although Appleby does have five more staff in total. When the firm’s fiduciary business, MaplesFS, is included, more than 900 people are now employed by the firm, making it a real global player.

The law firm part of the business added an extra office last year, moving into Singapore in the summer, but Maples’ most significant move – and one that rocked the offshore market and sparked much comment – was its recruitment of seven partners and four associates from Cayman Islands rival Walkers. The team, which included six Cayman partners as well as British Virgin Islands (BVI) partner Tim Clipstone, specialises in funds and was a boost to Maples’ already strong funds practice.

The firm estimates that it advises on over 900 master fund structures and acted on the formation of a third of new funds registered with the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (Cima) last year.

The firm also picked up Karie Bergstrom from Deloitte as chief operating officer and expanded with hires in Dublin. Maples continues to push its Irish offering, investing in high-profile advertising at Dublin Airport and making up Brian Clarke and Connor Owens to partners in January 2012. Clarke and Owens were among 10 promotions at the start of the year.

Maples would not comment on its financial performance, but its headcount growth points to continued health for this offshore leader.

2 Appleby

Group managing partner: Michael O’Connell

Group chairman: Frances Woo


Staff: 694

Fee-earners: 255

Qualified lawyers: 211

Partners: 75

Equity partners: Not disclosed

Female partners: 19


Staff: 222

Fee-earners: 183

Key clients

HSBC, PokerStars, Royal Dutch Shell, Santander, Zurich Assurance/Zurich Bank

Appleby’s headcount overall stayed static in 2012 compared with the previous year, although there were a number of strategic developments and several key hires for the firm.

Chief among these was Appleby’s expansion in Asia with a Shanghai office. Currently, Shanghai offers only representative fiduciary services, rather than legal services, but the move highlights a continuing focus on Asia for offshore firms. ­Appleby also set up a Hong Kong litigation team led by Eliot Simpson, who relocated from the BVI, and at the end of 2012 elected Hong Kong-based partner Frances Woo as its new global chair.

Litigation was the other notable focus of Appleby’s 2012. The firm hired Serle Court Chambers silk ­Peter McMaster in January and followed that up with the appointment of Ogier’s Cayman litigation head Chris Russell in March, boosting its Cayman litigation practice significantly.

Overall, Appleby says the year brought no great surprises, given the economic environment, but that deals held up well and 2012 finished strongly. The focus on Asia is set to continue and the firm also expects compliance to be a major theme for the offshore sector as the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (Fatca) is implemented.

3 Mourant Ozannes

Managing partner: Jonathan Rigby


Staff: 446

Fee-earners: 230

Qualified lawyers: 175

Partners: 53

Equity partners: 53

Female partners: 7

Female equity partners: 7


Not applicable

Key clients

Charter International, Deutsche Bank, KWAP (Malaysian Sate Pension Fund), Morgan Stanley

Although Mourant Ozannes did not add any partners in net terms in 2012, the loss of partners at Walkers puts the firm in third place, its highest-ever standing in the top 30 since its 2010 merger. With two and a half years now passed since Jersey’s Mourant du Feu & Jeune and Guernsey’s Ozannes joined forces, the firm continues to grow and expand, and reported a 7 per cent increase in revenue last year.

Adding capability in new jurisdictions was the main focus for the year. Mourant Ozannes opened in Hong Kong in January 2012 and the firm reports “impressive revenue and significant client wins” one year on.

Meanwhile, Mourant Ozannes, like several other firms, also put its efforts into the BVI. Although it took several months to obtain a ­licence, the firm finally launched in the jurisdiction in September. Partner Michael Williams relocated to the BVI and was joined there by ­Rachael McDonald and Shaun Folpp, both recruited from Ogier where they were managing associates.

The firm won roles on some significant deals and cases last year, including representing a Saudi ­Arabian family which won $2.5bn (£1.6bn) in damages in the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands in June, and providing Jersey advice to the Malaysian consortium that bought Battersea Power Station.

Daniel Birtwistle replaced Jonathan Rigby as Jersey managing partner, leaving Rigby free to focus on his job as firmwide managing partner. Rigby’s role this year will see him continue investment into the BVI, Cayman and Hong Kong practices in line with Mourant Ozannes’ five-year strategy.

The firm will shortly re-enter the non-legal services arena, launching a corporate services arm to provide ancillary services, three years after Mourant du Feu & Jeune sold its fiduciaries.

Jonathan Rigby

“We will continue to see firms looking for new markets for traditional offshore services and may see further consolidation in the offshore sector”

Jonathan Rigby, Mourant Ozannes

4 Walkers

Global managing partner: Ingrid Pierce


Staff: 363

Fee-earners: 162

Qualified lawyers: 150

Partners: 52

Equity partners: Not disclosed

Female partners: 14


Not applicable

Key clients

Carlyle Group, HSBC, Petrobras, Sberbank, SCOR

The big development at Walkers last year was the sale of its management services business, Walkers Management Services (WMS), to Intertrust for an undisclosed amount. WMS’s management team transferred to Intertrust, with the firm saying that for clients there would be no change and that it expected to keep on working in co-operation with Intertrust.

Walker made up 11 lawyers to its partnership in 2012 but lost a number of partners to other firms throughout the year. The biggest loss was that of a seven-partner funds team to Maples and Calder in Cayman and the BVI, but other partners left for Appleby, Forbes Hare and Travers Thorp Alberga, thus negating the firm’s hires and promotions.

Like Maples, Walkers is continuing to expand in Ireland and the ­office there now has almost 30 lawyers. The firm hired A&L Goodbody partner Dominic Conlon to head its corporate group in Dublin as well as making two senior non-partner hires to launch insolvency and derivatives practices there.

In October Walkers made a ground-breaking decision, electing its first female managing partner in the shape of Cayman-based Ingrid Pierce. Pierce has been at Walkers since 2002, having joined the firm from the commercial and Chancery bar in London. She now has the challenge of leading a reshaped firm, which says it is continuing to evaluate where its clients want it to be in the world.

Ingrid Pierce

“As expected, regulation took centre stage in 2012 and much time was spent analysing its impact on clients. Finance and downstream M&A was extremely active although new fund launches were down and took considerably longer to bring to market than in previous years”

Ingrid Pierce, Walkers

5 Conyers Dill & Pearman

Co-chairs: Narinder Hargun, David Lamb


Staff: 540

Fee-earners: 162

Qualified lawyers: 138

Partners: 49

Equity partners: Not disclosed

Female partners: 13


Not applicable

Key clients

Burger King Worldwide Holdings, Crédit Suisse, Digicel Limited, Global Hospitality Investments, Noble Group Ltd

Conyers Dill & Pearman continued its slow-but-steady growth of the past two years by adding two partners between 2011 and 2012 and keeping the rest of its headcount roughly similar to 2011.

Change at the top was the main theme for the Bermuda-based firm. Chairman John Collis, who had been at the helm for years, retired and was replaced by co-chairs ­Narinder Hargun and David Lamb. Hargun sits in Conyers’ Bermuda headquarters while Lamb is based in Hong Kong. Both are continuing to fee-earn.

Meanwhile, Kevin Butler became head of the Cayman office and Christopher Bickley took over as Hong Kong head. In Mauritius, ­Stephen Scali joined the firm to lead the office from a role as chief executive of a locally-based trust company. Other hires were below partner level but across the firm’s network of offices.

Conyers’ presence in jurisdictions like Mauritius and Russia paid off, with some good instructions, including a role on the $55bn acquisition of BP’s Russian subsidiary TNK-BP by Rosneft.

The firm did not provide information on its financial performance.

6 Carey Olsen

Chairman: John Kelleher


Staff: 285

Fee-earners: 177

Qualified lawyers: 152

Partners: 40

Equity partners: Not disclosed

Female partners: 3


Not applicable

Key clients

Barclays, Kleinwort Benson, Northern Trust, RBS International, Royal Bank of Canada

Carey Olsen made a significant move outside its home jurisdiction of the Channel Islands last year, formally opening in Cayman in December after hiring two partners from Maples and Calder, in addition to a Maples associate and an Allen & Overy associate, both of whom joined as partners.

After years of being one of the few offshore firms without a base in the Caribbean, the launch was prompted by client demand – which also led Carey Olsen to form an association in the BVI in January 2013 with two-partner firm Hempel & Boyd.

The firm decided not to merge with an existing Cayman practice, its aim being to maintain its brand, reputation and service standards.

However, the Channel Islands base was not neglected: in January 2012 Jersey lawyers Peter German and Daniel O’Connor were promoted to the partnership.

Carey Olsen said its revenue had grown above inflation between 2011 and 2012, without specifying by how much. Chairman John Kelleher said the strength of the growth was “surprising in the current climate – economic conditions are such that it’s difficult to predict dealflow with any certainty, although we have continued to enjoy a strong pipeline over recent years”.

The next year is likely to involve further consolidation and integration of the firm’s new Caribbean ­offering, although it is also considering its options in Asia.

John Kelleher

“In certain jurisdictions there has been a lot of movement between firms and we expect this to settle in 2013. Where there are new entrants to the market, such as in the Caribbean, we expect a period of bedding in before the real impact is seen, although the early signs are that this has been positive news for our clients”

John Kelleher, Carey Olsen

7 Ogier

Group CEO: Nick Kershaw

Legal CEO: James Bergstrom


Staff: 275

Fee-earners: 195

Qualified lawyers: 176

Partners: 39

Equity partners: 30

Female partners: 5

Female equity partners: 2

Fiduciary and group services

Staff: 554

Fee-earners: 289

Key clients

Circle Holdings, Graff Diamonds, HSBC, Randgold, RBC

Ogier has slipped down the rankings this year, swapping places with Carey Olsen after its partner headcount fell by three over the course of 2012. However, when it comes to qualified lawyers, Ogier is the third-largest offshore firm, with 176 lawyers across its 11 offices.

The firm’s fiduciary and group services businesses are also sizeable, together employing 554 staff.

Partners leaving Ogier last year included Cayman litigation head Chris Russell, who went to Appleby; BVI private client partner Zac Lucas, who moved to Lawrence Graham in Singapore; and Hong Kong-based Timothy Bridges, leaving for Harneys.

In turn, Ogier hired 3 Stone Buildings’ Richard de Lacy QC as its new Cayman litigation head.

The firm appointed Hong Kong managing partner James Bergstrom as its first legal CEO in February last year. Bergstrom’s appointment followed a split in the CEO position, with group CEO Nick Kershaw handing over responsibilities for the legal practice while retaining the group mandate for another three years.

The biggest splash made by Ogier came right at the start of 2012 when it announced it was becoming the first offshore firm to open in Luxembourg. Ogier hired François Pfister from local firm OPF Partners for the launch and conducted an extensive roadshow to make sure the local and international firms already present there knew what its intentions were. This paid off, with the local market expressing muted enthusiasm for the extra business Ogier might bring to the jurisdiction.

8 Hassans

Managing partner: Javier Chincotta


Staff: 170

Fee-earners: 84

Qualified lawyers: 81

Partners: 30

Equity partners: 27

Female partners: 7

Female equity partners: 4


Staff: 74

Fee-earners: 69

Key clients

Alliance Boots, BwinParty, Crédit Suisse, International Power, SubSea7

Gibraltar firm Hassans remained much the same size in 2012 as in 2011, with a partnership of 30 of which 90 per cent are in the equity. Litigation partner Gillian Guzman became Gibraltar’s first female QC in March.

In 2012 a new management committee was implemented to streamline the firm’s policies and procedures. The firm is led by managing partner Javier Chincotta.

Hassans also set up a business advisory unit to advise clients on issues such as tax and legislative reform last year.

The firm is examining a restructure of its fiduciary business, merging its two fiduciaries – Line Management and Line Trust. It also wants to find premises big enough for both the legal and fiduciary businesses.

Last year Hassans worked on some sizeable transactions, including setting up three publicly-traded companies for NYSE-listed Tyco.

9 Bedell Cristin

Managing partner: Richard Gerwat


Staff: 147

Fee-earners: 82

Qualified lawyers: 68

Partners: 30

Equity partners: 18

Female partners: 4

Female equity partners: 1


Staff: 161

Fee-earners: 114

Key clients

Aviva, AXA Real Estate, Barclays, RBS, Santander

Channel Islands-headquartered Bedell Cristin had a good year, reporting a revenue increase of 5 per cent for its law firm – excluding Bedell Trust, the fiduciary arm. The firm’s partnership headcount rose by one to 30 and it added seven lawyers.

Bedell Cristin built on its hire in early 2012 of BVI lawyer Stephen Adams by moving him to Singapore to launch an office there in July – its first Asian presence. It then hired Appleby partner Valerie Georges-Thomas for the BVI office.

The further development of the Singapore office is identified as a strategic aim for the coming year, in tandem with the Mauritius office. Managing partner Richard Gerwat identifies Asia and other developing markets as a major focus for the offshore sector over the coming years.

Closer to home, Bedell joined forces with Crossland Private Office to form Bedell Family Office, an administration and advisory company for high net worth individuals based in Jersey. The venture is expected to work closely with the private client team at Bedell Cristin.

Richard Gerwat

“Recovery from the financial crisis is slower than might have been expected but despite this, the offshore market continues to seek out opportunities in new markets and enhance its regulatory and legislative position generally in the face of growing calls for international co-operation”

Richard Gerwat, Bedell Cristin

10 Harneys

Managing partner: Peter Tarn


Staff: 266

Fee-earners: 100

Qualified lawyers: 97

Partners: 27

Equity partners: Not disclosed

Female partners: 9


Staff: 47

Fee-earners: 20

Key clients

BancoBradesco, Deutsche Bank, Lloyds TSB, TNK-BP, Virgin Group

Like a number of other offshore firms, 2012 saw a change at the top at BVI firm Harney Westwood & Riegels. Richard Peters, managing partner for 20 years, retired and was replaced by Peter Tarn. Tarn, unusually, is based in the firm’s London office, which he heads.

Peters was also BVI office head and was replaced in that role by Sheila George, who is also private client head. Meanwhile, Jonathan Culshaw took over as Hong Kong managing partner following the 2011 departure of Paul Lau; Emily Yiolitis succeeded Pavlos Aristodemou as Cyprus head; and Marco Martins became Cayman office head when Kieron O’Rourke retired in September.

The focus for Harneys was on the Cayman practice and the Hong Kong office, with a net growth of 15 fee-earners in Hong Kong. Notable hires included Timothy Bridges from Ogier. Overall, headcount was up by a net 19 lawyers, with one extra partner on 2011, and Harneys recruited heavily throughout the year.

In 2013 the firm expects to maintain its focus on emerging markets. Unusually, the firm has representatives on the ground in Africa – in the shape of Zimbabwean lawyer Patrick Colegrave – Brazil and Central and Eastern Europe.

Meanwhile, Harneys will keep expanding its Cayman and BVI footprint around the world, with plans to add litigation capability for both jurisdictions in London.

Peter Tarn

“What we saw during 2012 and expect to continue to see in 2013 is growing demand for offshore lawyers to bring more to the table: to look at our clients’ needs more holistically and address underlying needs rather than simply provide limited services”

Peter Tarn, Harneys

11 Collas Crill

Managing partner: Jason Romer


Staff: 139

Fee-earners: 82

Qualified lawyers: 53

Partners: 26

Equity partners: 13

Female partners: 3

Female equity partners: 3


Staff: 11

Fee-earners: 9

Key clients

Butterfield, HSBC, Investec, RBC, RBSI

Two years on from the merger that created Collas Crill, the firm had another strong year. It was targeting double-digit growth in 2012, which it “narrowly missed”, but is expecting to return to similar growth in the next two years.

The firm had 26 partners at the end of 2012 and made up three more, effective 31 December, doubling the number it had when the merger went live in April 2011.

Collas Crill continued to expand its Singapore office, which launched in 2011, relocating head of fiduciary Marcus Hinkley there and hiring Leon Santos from fund manager Prosperity Capital Management. The firm also hired below partner level.

In 2013 Collas Crill wants to maintain its focus on fiduciary, investment funds and litigation work while developing a range of niche practice areas including e-gaming and renewable energy. It also plans to strengthen its strategic alliances in jurisdictions including the Cayman Islands, the BVI and New Zealand.

Jason Romer

“Collas Crill’s business model is, in many ways, a reflection of the situation in the Channel Islands. We have built a truly pan-Channel Islands business that focuses on meeting a client’s needs regardless of its location. We have put structures in place to ensure there is no preference from the owners of the business as to where the work is done. There is a parallel here with what Jersey and Guernsey are planning to do to work more closely together, despite being competitors”

Jason Romer, Collas Crill

12 Cains

Managing partner: Andrew Corlett


Staff: 54

Fee-earners: 28

Qualified lawyers: 26

Partners (directors and divisional directors): 15

Directors: 7

Female directors: 0


Staff: 23

Fee-earners: 22

Key clients

AngloGold Ashanti, Barclays Bank, Genting International, HSBC, Sasol Financing International

Isle of Man (IoM) firm Cains had a solid 2012. The firm said its revenue was up by 3.5 per cent and cited a strengthening in its balance sheet as a significant development.

The performance was due to continued strong restructuring and insolvency work and a pick-up in listing work and private equity instructions through the IoM.

Andy Davies was appointed as a new divisional director (or salaried partner-equivalent) in the firm’s accounting services arm.

This year the firm is reorganising itself under a new holding company structure, the aim being to have a fully integrated legal and fiduciary services offering. It is also investing in IT infrastructure, including a new document management system.

Other developments on the cards include a broadening of its jurisdictions; currently it has offices in London and Singapore as well as its Manx headquarters.

13 Travers Thorp Alberga

Managing partner: Michael Alberga


Staff: 34

Fee-earners: 18

Qualified lawyers: 15

Partners: 13

Equity partners: 13

Female partners: 7

Female equity partners: 7


Not applicable

Key clients

AutoNavi Holdings, ECGD (Export Credit Guarantee Department of the UK Government), Green Dragon Gas/Greka Drilling, PAG (formerly Pacific Alliance Group), Rubicon Funds Group

Most significantly, Cayman boutique Thorp Alberga hired the former senior and managing partner of Maples and Calder, Anthony Travers, as senior partner and rebranded as Travers Thorp Alberga (TTA). Travers had been unable to practise law for six years due to restrictive covenants. Walkers partner Nicole Pineda, who has a Latin American focus, also joined.

The firm now has two consultants and 13 partners, and is confident the model works, with managing partner Michael Alberga commenting: “The high-volume low-profit model has to be broken for the foreseeable future. This has placed a premium on the services of a high value-added boutique with a keen fee structure.”

This belief is demonstrated by not only headcount growth but also a revenue increase, according to the firm, of 12 per cent last year.

TTA is also proud of its diversity statistics – over 50 per cent of the partnership are female, putting it at the top of the female partner proportion statistics for offshore.

Michael Alberga

“Locally, we are seeing a marked increase in confidence and are already participating in transactions involving big-ticket land deals by local and overseas investors. Whether this kick-starts the otherwise quiet property market remains to be seen, but it is encouraging”

Michael Alberga, Travers Thorp Alberga

14 Triay & Triay

Managing partner: Joseph Triay


Staff: 62

Fee-earners: 27

Qualified lawyers: 25

Partners: 12

Equity partners: 10

Female partners: 0


Not applicable

Key clients

Not disclosed

Gibraltar firm Triay & Triay had another stable year, losing no partners but equally gaining none. The firm saw the passing of co-founder Joseph E Triay Snr in the summer – his name continues, with five Triays currently partners at the firm, and the next generation training as a lawyer in the shape of Javi Triay.

15 Isolas

Senior partner: Peter Isola


Staff: 53

Fee-earners: 26

Qualified lawyers: 26

Partners: 8

Equity partners: 2

Female partners:1

Female equity partners: 0


Not applicable

Key clients

Financial Services Commission, government of Gibraltar, Jyske Bank, Lombard Odier, and various banks and gaming companies

Isolas reports significant activity at the moment, with the Gibraltar firm reporting a surge in the gaming sector in particular.

The firm kept its headcount stable compared with 2011, although it now has eight partners following the promotion of Steven Caetano.

Partner Mark Isola was appointed QC in February, and Isolas also celebrated its 120th anniversary last year. However, the firm also demonstrated its commitment to the 21st century by launching a mobile app late in 2012.

16 Forbes Hare

Global managing partner: William Hare


Staff: 40

Fee earners: 27

Qualified lawyers: 25

Partners: 8

Equity partners: Not disclosed

Female partners: 1

Female equity partners: Not disclosed


Staff: 10

Fee earners: 10

Key clients

Not disclosed

BVI firm Forbes Hare added two partners in 2012 to bring its partner headcount to eight which, with a total lawyer headcount of 25, sent it up the rankings to 15th place.

The firm’s biggest move was the opening of its London office, joining most of its larger rivals in the City. Forbes Hare picked up Walkers partner Catherine Ross to head the office. Ross also became global head of funds.

Meanwhile, litigator Robert Nader was promoted to the partnership in the BVI.

The firm also made several hires below partner level. Michael Pringle, formerly of Barker Adams, joined as a consultant in February and several associates were hired, mainly in the BVI.

Forbes Hare also launched a sports and media team in 2012, led by managing partner William Hare alongside partner José Santos.

The firm’s litigation team had a particularly good year, advising on the Madoff-related Fairfield Sentry litigation in the BVI, while the corporate team ended the year with an instruction on the listing of a Russian company in the BVI.

17 Babbé

Managing partner: Andrew Laws


Staff: 44

Fee-earners: 28

Qualified lawyers: 22

Partners: 8

Equity partners: 8

Female partners: 0


Not applicable

Key clients

Crédit Suisse, HSBC, Legis, Marlborough Trust, RBC

Guernsey firm Babbé had a quiet year, with “no significant developments” and no change in its partner headcount of eight. The firm’s lawyer headcount dropped by two.

Sadly, this means Babbé still has no female partners.

In the summer the firm hired Mourant Ozannes senior associate Darren Stephens as a consultant in its corporate team.

Major cases and deals for Babbé in 2012 included the successful appeal to the Privy Council by the Spread Trustee Company, which confirmed that if Guernsey’s trust statutes do not say otherwise, Guernsey law will follow English principles.

18 Marshall Diel & Myers

Managing partner: Kevin Taylor


Staff: 20

Fee-earners: 11

Qualified lawyers: 10

Directors: 8

Equity partners/directors: 8

Female directors: 3

Female equity partners/directors: 3


Not applicable

Key clients

Not disclosed

Bermuda firm Marshall Diel & Myers had a change of leadership at the end of 2012 when Canadian-born Kevin Taylor took over from Timothy Marshall as managing director.

Taylor was only made up to director (the firm’s partner equivalent) in January 2012, along with fellow senior associates Rachael Barritt, Katie Tornari and Adam Richards. The promotions brought the number of directors at Marshall Diel & Myers to eight, with another two qualified lawyers on the roster – a similar partner-to-associate ratio to TTA.

The firm focuses on litigation as well as on domestic Bermudian work.

The firm is launching a pupillage programme in 2013, offering one pupillage every two years for Bermudians or permanent residents on the island.

19 Simcocks

Chief executive officer: Phil Games


Staff: 49

Fee-earners: 28

Qualified lawyers: 25

Partners: 7

Equity partners: Not disclosed