With the announcement that Conyers is the Lawyer Magazine’s offhsore law firm of the year comes special mention of its Cayman team, a coup for the office headed up by managing partner Richard Finlay, writes Journal reporter Basia Pioro.
A panel of judges decided the award should go to Conyers based on its superior strategic clarity, growth of market share, technical legal excellence and quality of service. Conyers was commended for an outstanding year, and notably, the Cayman Islands practice was highlighted, with reference made to the instruction of Nigel Meeson QC to advise on offshore aspects of the unwinding of the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme.
“We did a few different things in relation to the Madoff scheme,” said Mr. Meeson.
“For example, I was acting for the UK liquidator for the London arm of Madoff. We were chasing assets, including a yacht that was registered here in the Cayman Islands.”
Mr. Meeson says that in what was a very difficult year for the global financial sector, the firm had quite an aggressive expansion, consolidating its position in relation to the BRIC markets with new offices in Moscow and São Paolo, and opening a Mauritius office and a global Mauritius practice.
“It is nice to be recognized for the work we have done and our achievements are certainly a good boost for the Cayman office,” he said.
Mr. Finaly said the award is a great achievement for the firm it continues to grow in the Cayman Islands, particularly with recent additions to the firm’s litigation team. Since its establishment in the Cayman Islands in 2003, Conyers now has 60 staff including 20 lawyers.
“We have also seen an increased flow of work from our London office following the move of Richard Fear, who worked for many years in the Cayman Islands before moving to London office to strengthen our Cayman Islands capabilities there,” said Mr. Finlay.
“Additionally, our provision of Cayman Islands legal advice continues to facilitate international business growth in the Asian markets, and has seen Conyers win Offshore Law Firm of the Year Awards for work in both China and South East Asia from Asian Legal Business this year.”
Christopher Johnson-Gilbert, managing partner of Conyers’ London office, collected the award at the Lawyer Awards held in London on 23 June at a ceremony held at Grosvenor House and attended by over 1000 lawyers.
“We are delighted to receive this award, which reflects the hard work of everyone across the firm over the past year in providing the highest quality legal advice to the leading offshore jurisdictions of the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, Bermuda and Mauritius,” said Mr. Johnson-Gilbert.
“Our strategic purpose and our balanced business model have seen continued success even in times of global difficulties.”
Conyers numbers nearly 600 staff with over 150 lawyers located in 11 offices worldwide.