September 20, 2020

Collas Crill expands into Cayman legal market


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ImageGenBy Michael Washburn From IFLR1000

, a law firm that derived from the merger in April 2011 of Collas Day in and Crill Canavan in , has announced plans for a merger with Cayman Islands law firm Charles Adams Ritchie & Duckworth (CARD). Regulatory approval is still pending, but it is widely expected that the combined entity will be fully established in the Cayman Islands as Collas Crill & CARD by early January 2015. In Guernsey, , London, and , Collas Crill will continue to operate under its current name.

Jason Romer, Collas Crill’s managing partner, told IFLR1000 that his firm has a number of clients that hire it for work in the Cayman Islands, and others who use Collas Crill primarily in Singapore, but who are intent on establishing Cayman structures, such as a feeder structure into Jersey or Guernsey funds, or a stand-alone entity into underlying investments.

“CARD has a really solid funds practice and trust or private wealth team,” Romer commented. “It fits well in terms of how our business is aligned in Singapore. And they have a strong client base in the Far East, particularly Vietnam. We’ve been working with CARD on an informal basis, delivering fund services for our clients in Cayman. We have a number of lawyers within our offices in Singapore and Jersey who’ve worked and practiced in Cayman already.”

In an offshore legal market where a lack of consensus about the most transparent and effective business model is conspicuous – on both the partners’ and the clients’ side of the fence – Collas Crill & CARD will be something of an unusual entity. Romer offered a few reflections on the distinction between firms utilizing multiple profit pools, and those with only one.

“A lot of firms split their profit pools, and have different bonus schemes depending on which geographical area the work is done in,” Romer said. “We have a single profit pool, so as an equity partner, I have no interest in pushing the work to one jurisdiction or another. The client will get the best solution because the partners are all equally incentivized, the work goes to where the client is best suited to be,” Romer said.

The single profit pool may serve the interests of law firm clients, because potential conflicts of interest are more easily avoided, but it is far from a universal feature of offshore law firms.

“We are one of only very few offshore law firms that has a single profit pool,” Romer said. “I obviously don’t know how all the firms are structured, but I know that there are variants of structures where partners will be differently remunerated. If they’re a partner in Guernsey office, then their profit will be based on the profits of the Guernsey office. So there’ll be less incentive to send work to, say, Cayman, if they would make individually more money by keeping profits within Guernsey. So some of those law firms have become unstuck a little bit – they are not always and necessarily delivering the best solution for the client,” Romer added.

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