Maples regains offshore crown from Appleby

Maples and Calder’s 2012 hiring spree has pushed it to the top of the offshore top 30 again, with the firm overtaking Appleby as the world’s largest offshore firm by lawyer headcount.

The Lawyer’s annual offshore survey, published today, also shows that Mourant Ozannes has leapfrogged Walkers into third place – another effect of Maples’ hire of a seven-partner team of funds lawyers last year (30 March 2012).

Further down the table, Carey Olsen and Ogier have also swapped places compared to 2012. Carey Olsen moves into sixth position thanks to partner promotions and its summer launch in the Cayman Islands (12 June 2012), with Ogier dropping back to seventh following a net decrease of three partners during 2012.

Also rising up the rankings this year was Cayman boutique Travers Thorp Alberga (TTA), which had 13 partners at the end of 2012 following its hire of former Maples managing and senior partner Anthony Travers in December (3 December 2012). The firm is now the 13th-largest offshore practice by partner numbers, although with only 15 lawyers in total the firm would be ranked 25th by lawyer headcount.

Eleven offshore firms gave an indication of their financial health by providing figures on turnover growth or decrease. TTA reported revenue growth of 12 per cent, the highest revealed, while a number of other firms also said turnover had risen considerably.

The survey also highlights two key trends within the market last year. Several firms have changed their management teams, including Appleby (7 January 2013), Conyers Dill & Pearman (20 November 2012) and Walkers (15 October 2012).

Meanwhile new office launches mainly focused on Asia and the Caribbean. Bedell Cristin (25 July 2012) and Maples (10 September 2012) both opened in Singapore while Mourant Ozannes launched in Hong Kong (31 January 2012). Mourant Ozannes also opened in the British Virgin Islands (24 September 2012), and Carey Olsen forged a BVI alliance to follow up its Cayman launch (23 January 2013).

Offshore managing partners are predicting further challenges ahead for the sector as well as more consolidation as firms continue to look for opportunities in new jurisdictions.