Walkers (law firm)


Walkers (law firm)

Walkers is a Cayman Islands based offshore law firm. Although the firm now has offices in a number of jurisdictions, over half its staff remain based in the Cayman Islands.

History

The firm was originally founded by Bill Walker (under the name W.S. Walkers) shortly after Jamaican independence in 1962 (whereupon Cayman, which had previously been administered as part of Jamaica, was separated and remained as an independent part of the Commonwealth). Walkers is generally accepted as being the oldest Caymanian law firm, older than rivals Maples and Calder by about two years.

Walkers has been regarded as one of the Cayman Islands top two law firms since it was founded. However, when Bill Walker left the firm to work for a Caymanian bank, much of the trust services work which had been done by Walkers' affiliated trust company left with him. As offshore law firms derive a significant element of their profits from their affiliated trust company, this no doubt had a deleterious effect on the firm and its remaining equity partners. The firm has invested considerable energy in rebuilding the trust company arm over subsequent years.

Multi-jurisdictionalism

Walkers was an early participant in the trend towards multi jurisdictional offshore law firms, acquiring by merger British Virgin Islands law firm, Barkers, in 2001. It subsequently acquired Jersey law firm, Crills, in 2005. The firm also has further offices in Dubai, London, Tokyo and Hong Kong.

The "Chambers" legal directory has rated Walkers as one of the top tier of multi-jurisdictional offshore law firms. [http://www.chambersandpartners.com/global/resultseditorial.aspx?fid=4383&cid=217&pid=553&solbar=1&grouptype=1#4383]

Merger talks

In late 2007, discussions became public about a proposed merger between Walkers and Jersey based Mourant du Feu & Jeune. Although mergers between offshore firms are relatively common, such a merger would be the first merger between two of the major global offshore players, creating by far the largest offshore law firm in the world. [http://www.thelawyer.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=129499&d=415&h=417&f=416] Details remain sketchy, although there has been much public speculation that Walkers will sell its highly profitable trust company arm, Walkers SPV to Mourants' equity partners first, and then two legal practices would merge thereafter. Such a move would probably be financially deleterious to the non-equity partners of Walkers, and Walkers have specifically denied that this was an option, but a defection by a salaried partner to rivals Maples early in the talks lent credibility to this view. [http://www.thelawyer.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=129682&d=415&h=417&f=416] However, in Februar 2008 the two firms announced that they were no longer pursuing merger talks. [http://www.thelawyer.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=131118&d=pndpr&h=pnhpr&f=pnfpr]

External links

* [http://www.walkersglobal.com/ Official site]


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