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Walkers sees continuing hedge fund and private equity expansion in 2008

Date: Friday, January 18, 2008
Author: Hedgeweek.com

Walkers, the Cayman Islands-based offshore law firm, has reported that 2007 was the strongest single year ever for the firm's growth and has announced the promotion to partner of nine associates across its global offices. The promotions bring the total number of partners to 46 at the firm, which has also added a chief operating officer and a group compliance director.

Despite the global credit crunch that continues to impact the structured finance market, and in contrast to trends in some international jurisdictions, Walkers saw a significant increase in business in 2007 in all the offices throughout its network, in Cayman, the British Virgin Islands, London, Jersey, Hong Kong and Dubai.

'The driving force for Walkers' growth has always been the needs of our clients,' says global managing partner Grant Stein. 'We continue to see increasingly complex work flow into our major practice areas across our global network of offices, including hedge funds, private equity funds, insolvency and structured finance, and it is absolutely vital that we have the right professionals in place to service our clients' needs.

'All the indications are that 2008 will be another record-breaking year for Walkers, particularly for work in Asia and the Middle East. We also expect further significant development of Cayman's hedge and private equity industries, and a marked increase in our insolvency and restructuring business.'

Walkers' new partners average more than 10 years of legal experience in jurisdictions worldwide including France, Australia, London, and Vietnam. Four are in the firm's hedge funds practice: Ingrid Pierce, Gwyneth Rees, and Jennifer Thomson in Cayman, and Rob Duggan in London. The new finance partners are Anne Todd in Cayman, Andy Randall in Hong Kong and Ian Gobin in London, while Cayman-based Richard Addlestone and Andrew Miller specialise in private equity and trusts respectively.

Gerard Milne, who becomes Walkers' chief operating officer, joining the firm after spells with Clifford Chance and Allen & Gledhill. As the firm continues to grow, its executive team felt it was important to add a professional management infrastructure, and bringing in a chief operating officer was seen as a critical step in allowing partners and attorneys to improve client service levels.

Martin Harty, who becomes group compliance director, has held regulatory and compliance positions with financial institutions in Europe and North America, including Citibank and Fidelity, and was also a main board director for Credit Lyonnais Capital Markets and Fidelity Brokerage as well as an arbitrator for regulators in the UK.

Walkers is one of the leading law firms in the firm's home base of the Cayman Islands and also has offices in the BVI, Dubai, Hong Kong, Jersey, London and Tokyo, from which the group provides legal and management services to leading global corporations and financial institutions, capital markets participants, investment fund managers, and growth- and middle-market companies. Apart from the law firm, the group consists of fund services provider Walkers Fund Services and three SPV and corporate services providers, Walkers SPV, Walkers (Jersey), and Walkers (BVI).