Legal Market and Demand: “What Employers Want”

The number of law firms in the BVI has grown steadily over the past few years. Its status as a business centre has significantly increased and it has become increasingly popular as a domicile for the incorporation of funds. The legal system is based on English common law. As well as some local lawyers, the law firms are staffed principally by lawyers from the UK. This is due to the fact that foreign qualified lawyers must be admitted in England and Wales to practice in the BVI.

Principal areas of demand:
- Corporate
- Banking & Finance
- Funds
- Commercial Litigation
- Insolvency Litigation
- Trusts

The main firms include:
- Appleby
- Campbells
- Carey Olsen
- Conyers Dill & Pearman
- Forbes Hare
- Harneys Westwood & Riegels
- Lennox Paton
- Maples & Calder
- Mourant Ozannes
- Ogier
- Walkers
- Withers

These firms are all significant players in the offshore market, each having between 5–9 offices around the globe.

As with all offshore jurisdictions, because of the very apparent financial, lifestyle and career progression incentives for lawyers to relocate to the BVI, the bar is understandably high. By and large, lawyers that move to the BVI will have an excellent academic record and have trained, qualified and gained relevant post-qualification experience at a market leading firm in another commonwealth or offshore jurisdiction (but mainly England & Wales).

Beyond the academic and technical; the headcount at offshore law firms tends to be much lower than at the mainland firms from which the lawyers tend to come. As such, the ‘personality fit’ in the office is essential. The firms look for confident, affable enthusiastic and well-balanced individuals with excellent communication and interpersonal skills.