Taylor Root Partner Darryn Hale and Senior Consultant Matt Hall-Turner recently ventured out to the Caribbean to meet with a number of law firms in the British Virgin Islands.
As well as gaining a thorough understanding of both the criteria that these firms have in place when recruiting and the current market conditions, visiting Tortola (the BVI’s main legal hub) gave us further first-hand experience of what living and working in this corner of the Caribbean entails, as well as what lawyers interested in making such a move will need to be aware of.
While on Tortola, Darryn and Matt met with:
- Conyers Dill & Pearman
- Maples & Calder
- (new arrivals to the jurisdiction) Mourant Ozannes
- Lennox Paton
WHAT IS THE MARKET LIKE?
In short, there is a discernible air of confidence surrounding the (growing) legal community in the BVI. Where Cayman has traditionally been the offshore centre of choice for fund related work, a number of globally revered offshore firms are actively looking for funds specialists on Tortola.
The BVI has always had an enviable reputation for company registration and accordingly corporate lawyers from leading practices in London are also hotly sought after.
The most buoyant practice area by some distance though is litigation, handling major commercial disputes coming out of Russia, the US and Asia. The BVI has its own commercial court presided over by a UK QC and as such there is a strong preference for UK barristers and solicitors with higher rights of audience.
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO LIVE THERE?
There is clearly far more to consider than can be properly addressed in a short article like this. For a bespoke overview of how you might find the BVI experience, we strongly recommend that you contact Matt or Darryn directly. In short, the BVI is a bit of an adventure! You will need a 4x4 to get to the office and back as the infrastructure/terrain can get a bit dicey, and there are not many other international financial centres where you will encounter chickens and goats wandering the street as you dash out to grab a sandwich at lunchtime.
To offset this though, you will find yourself living in the very definition of paradise and with the packages offered to lawyers and the low rate of tax you will easily be able to afford a very comfortable standard of living.
Take a look at the photos that Darryn and Matt took when exploring the island, below. This is the perfect location for anyone who enjoys sailing, diving, snorkeling, or just lying on the beach enjoying the picturesque surroundings.
A word of warning though: do not be fooled if a bartender offers you a “painkiller”, it’s delicious but ferociously aggressive and as Matt found out to his peril, the analgesic effects wear off by the morning.