Placed Lawyer Interview
Conyers Dill & Pearman
Why did you choose this location and is it living up to expectations?
Bermuda has long had a reputation as the blue-chip offshore jurisdiction and this is reflected in the quality of the work and high-profile transactions that come through Bermuda (around 75% of the Fortune 100 companies maintain a presence in Bermuda). As a place to live, Bermuda is a beautiful island while also benefitting from a modern and sophisticated infrastructure.
Bermuda has exceeded my expectations – after almost 9 years of living here the novelty of seeing sunshine (most days) and the ocean (every day) has not yet worn off._
How did you go about meeting new people when you arrived on island?
Bermuda is a very social place and the local and expat community tends to mix together in a great variety of sports, social events and other activities.
Were there any nasty shocks that you were not prepared for when you arrived on the island?
Not so much of a shock moving from London, but the cost of living is high in Bermuda, particularly rents. There is also a danger of ‘island-fever’ if you don’t leave Bermuda for a long period of time – fortunately New York, Boston, Washington DC and Atlanta are only a couple of hours away by plane (and a day or two away soon reminds you of why you wanted to live in Bermuda in the first place!)
Were there any nice surprises?
There have been a number, including how friendly people are; the fact that evenings and weekends often feel like a holiday and how much more time you have available when your commute is under 20 minutes. Bermuda is also proving to be a great place to bring up my 3 boys who were all born here.
What was the most noticeable difference about your new role when you first arrived?
From early on I was managing my own practice and clients. The nature of the work was also different in that I was no longer in charge of running deals, unless they were local deals. It takes a little time to get used to this and being careful not to adopt an ‘onshore’ approach to transactions. The flip-side of this is that at any one time, you are generally involved in a fairly large number of transactions in several jurisdictions, so you have to be particularly aware of deadlines, client expectations and which time-zone you’re dealing with.
What’s the best thing about your job?
I enjoyed taking the step up to running my practice and to being the main client contact for a number of clients, many of whom I have now been working with for many years. I find the work interesting and am involved in a wide variety of transactions. From a personal perspective, despite having a busy practice, I am able to manage a good balance with my family life and enjoy an active social life.
What’s the most interesting matter you have worked on since you’ve been here?
It’s hard to single out a particular deal, but I’ve been involved in a number of interesting and significant aviation finance deals, acting for some of the large aircraft leasing companies on matters including IPOs, aircraft portfolio securitisations, aircraft repossessions and registering aircraft in Bermuda.
What car do you currently drive?
I get around on a Vespa or a bike! My wife gets to drive our car, a Hyundai Tucson. (I’m hoping most people won’t know what this is as it’s a pretty terrible vehicle. Cars are expensive in Bermuda and the choice is very limited.)
Which is your favourite beach on the island?
It depends – Elbow Beach and Horseshoe are the best known pink-sand beaches in Bermuda and are a favourite for a traditional day at the beach. However, there are a number of other more secluded spots, which are great for snorkelling and a quiet escape.
Which is your favourite restaurant or bar on the Island?
Mickey’s on Elbow Beach in the summer. Waterlot in the winter (Bermuda is not a Caribbean island and does experience the seasons, though winter is generally fairly mild and runs from January to March).
If you weren’t a lawyer, which other job would you like on the island?
Probably a dive instructor.
What’s the best advice that you would give someone considering the move offshore?
Speak to as many people as possible who have made a similar move to find out if and why it worked or didn’t work. Think hard about the move, as it’s a big upheaval to go through if it turns out you want to move back after a year or two.