Offshore firm Harneys bolsters ranks ahead of Uruguay launch

Offshore firm Harneys has swelled its lawyer headcount in the Cayman Islands, London and British Virgin Islands with hires from top US and UK firms as it prepares to open an office in Uruguay.

Harneys’ office in Uruguay will be its first in South America and, according to managing partner Richard Peters, will be complemented by the firm’s increased strength in litigation and transactions following the hire of six associates across three offices.

Fiona Chandler joins Harneys in London from rival offshore firm Maples & Calder and will focus on investment funds, corporate and restructuring work.

In the Cayman Islands Mark Bakacs and Angelene Galway join from Sidley Austin and Allen & Overy respectively. Both lawyers will practise in the investment funds, and corporate and commercial teams.

Thomas Williams also joins Harneys in Cayman. The corporate and commercial litigator has practised as a litigation attorney in Cayman since November 2008, before which he worked in the litigation and arbitration division at Herbert Smith.

4 New Square barrister Claire Robey and O’Melveny & Myers counsel Lewis Chong join Harneys’ BVI office. Robey specialises in international commercial litigation, insolvency and company law, while Chong focuses on investment funds and securitisation.

Peters said: “The new hires represent an expansion of Harneys’ litigation capability in the BVI and Cayman as well as our Cayman transactional capacity. It’s also important to note that with Cayman funds increasingly used as vehicles for Latin American investors, the new hires will complement the firm’s new office in Latin America.”

The announcement and new hires come two months after Harneys merged with Cypriot firm Aristodemou Loizides and Yiolitis in a bid to capture Russian investment, which due to double tax treaties between the two countries, often flows through Cyprus (14 June 2010).