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Global rankings for Bermuda lawyers and firms

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Global recognition: Mark Chudleigh, of Kennedys (File photograph)

Chambers and Partners, the UK-based publisher of annual law firm guides, has lavished praise on Bermuda’s legal community in the Chambers Global 2019 ranking of top lawyers and firms.

Chambers, which has been ranking law firms since 1990, employs a London-based team of more than 200 researchers who conduct thousands of interviews annually by telephone and e-mail in order to generate the rankings. Interviews are conducted, the company said, with people active in the market, mainly clients and other lawyers with whom the ranked lawyers work. Chambers also assesses recent work done.

Law firms and individuals are ranked in bands from one (highest) to six. Chambers says that being ranked in any band is a significant achievement.

A law firm ranking relates to a department of a firm, not to the firm as a whole, Chambers says. A ranking will only apply to a law firm as a whole where the firm specialises in just one practice area.

Individual lawyers, Chambers says, are ranked in their practice area or areas, on the basis of their legal knowledge and experience, their ability, their effectiveness and their client service.

Rankings for Conyers Dill & Pearman:

Conyers has the highest number of ranked lawyers in Bermuda across the corporate and finance, insurance and dispute resolution and international private client categories, the firm said.

The firm’s corporate and finance practice is the only one with band one ranking in Bermuda. It is described by Chambers, the firm says, as “the standout practice in the marketplace” with a team of “high-calibre attorneys” who are “certainly at the top in this space”. Ranked lawyers include David Cooke, Graham Collis and Marcello Ausenda (all band one), Jason Piney and London-based Sheba Raza.

Conyers’ insurance practice, the firm said, is also ranked band one, as is practice head Charles Collis. The insurance team is described as a “top-tier practice” and sources said: “They are the No 1 firm we would go to for setting up vehicles to execute capital markets and reinsurance transactions in Bermuda.” Other ranked lawyers on the team include Christopher Garrod and Michael Frith.

In the dispute resolution category, Conyers maintained its band one position and is described as a “high-calibre practice with a deep bench of experienced lawyers adept at advising on complex matters”, the firm said. Peers commend the firm as “the leading dispute resolution practice on the island” which comprises “very experienced practitioners across many litigation fields”. Ranked lawyers include Ben Adamson, Christian Luthi and Jeffrey Elkinson.

In the global-wide international private client offshore firms category, Conyers is described as “the leading firm in Bermuda by a considerable margin … there is no one else in their league”, the firm said. Ranked lawyers include Alec Anderson (band one), Craig MacIntyre and Peter Pearman.

Rankings for MJM Limited:

MJM Limited’s dispute resolution team has been ranked band one, the firm said, alongside only one other competitor in Bermuda.

Chambers, the firm said, reported that MJM is a top-tier well-established Bermudian independent firm, well regarded for its breadth and quality of expertise. Its dispute resolution team was highlighted for its especially strong reputation for domestic regulatory and public law matters and expertise in contentious trusts issues, as well as other private client and financial services matters, the firm said.

A client said: “Their experience in the Bermuda market gives them an ability to advise on the question of how the law will be applied and interpreted by the local regulators.” Another client, the firm said, lauded the team for its “accessibility, responsiveness and level of expertise that is second to none”.

Possessing vast litigation experience, Chambers said Alan Dunch has notable expertise in public law and employment disputes, as well as regulatory matters, the firm said. A source said: “He’s very persuasive and a great advocate - amazing to have on your side.” A peer, the firm said, described him as “a dean of the Bar”.

Andrew Martin is appreciated by one client for his “deep knowledge of the Bermuda market”, combined with an “understanding of the commercial realities”. He is the lead partner on many of the firm’s highest-value, multi-jurisdictional disputes, the firm said.

Chambers said Fozeia Rana-Fahy is known for her trusts litigation work, and is head of the firm’s contentious private client group. She is described by one commentator as “efficient, composed and measured, with an excellent client manner”, the firm said. Another client, said the firm, praised her as “intelligent, thoughtful, wise and able to strategise on complex issues”.

MJM said its corporate and finance team is ranked band two, below only one other competitor in Bermuda.

Chambers, the firm said, reported that MJM’s corporate and finance team had a strong command of the regulatory landscape. It is active on an array of corporate mandates, including public offerings and both real estate and asset financing for domestic and international clients. It is particularly well regarded, the firm said, for advising major international shipping clients on multi-jurisdictional financings and also has a high level of expertise in group restructurings.

The firm reports that a market commentator said: “They are efficient and experienced. They have a good working relationship with Bermuda’s regulatory authorities, something which is important when corporate transactions are to be executed within short time frames.” Another client stated: “MJM always attends to issues promptly and in a high-quality manner. My experience with the firm is that they are highly service-minded and pragmatic.”

Chambers said that Peter Martin is a highly experienced practitioner who is particularly known for his experience serving international shipping clients, the firm said. One client said: “He has a great understanding of commercial law and his art of communicating with people is second to none.” Another client added: “He is able to provide bespoke legal advice within a commercial context.”

Brian Holdipp has a broad practice covering several corporate areas, and adds significant regulatory experience to the team, having been a consultant to the Bermuda Monetary Authority, the firm said. He is praised by interviewees as a “very bright guy” who is “knowledgeable, responsive and commercial”.

Jeremy Leese is an experienced offshore lawyer, with particular experience in M&A and capital markets as well as structured and asset finance, the firm said. Sources say he “is a true professional who is committed to resolving client matters expeditiously”. Interviewees add that he has “a strong focus on making sure client needs and expectations are addressed”.

Rankings for Carey Olsen:

In its first year of practice, Carey Olsen Bermuda saw five of its lawyers ranked by Chambers.

Chambers praised the firm for its responsiveness and for “always providing sound, pragmatic advice”, the firm said.

Keith Robinson, partner and head of the firm’s trusts practice, is ranked in three categories: dispute resolution, international private client: contentious, and international private client: offshore. He is described by commentators as “a star – the best trusts litigator on the island” and top of everyone’s list, the firm said. A London private client lawyer added that Mr Robinson is “probably one of the best, if not the best, trust lawyer in Bermuda at the moment”.

Managing partner Michael Hanson is recognised for his handling of cross-jurisdictional disputes, with a recognised specialism in employment matters, the firm said. Mr Hanson is praised by one client for his “understanding of how business works, which helps mitigate risk and assists our business in achieving its objectives”.

Mary Ward, partner and head of the firm’s corporate practice, is praised for her “technical abilities” and “strong client relationships” and as someone who “maintains a solid reputation for corporate matters in the insurance sector”, the firm said.

Counsel Gavin Woods and Henry Tucker are also featured. Sources noted Mr Woods’s “rising profile and growing reputation” and praised him for his expertise in insurance-linked securities and the licensing of new insurance entities, the firm said, while Mr Tucker was praised for being “client-centric in every aspect of his legal practice”.

‘Carey Olsen Bermuda’ is the trading name for Michael Hanson, a barrister and attorney, carrying on Bermuda legal services. The use of the title ‘partner’ merely denotes seniority, the firm said.

Rankings for Kennedys:

Partners Mark Chudleigh and Alex Potts QC have been recognised in the Chambers rankings.

Mr Chudleigh received market recognition as a band one lawyer within the field of contentious insurance and dispute resolution, with sources describing him as an insurance disputes specialist with “excellent industry knowledge”, and “great leadership” qualities, the firm said.

Mr Potts is described as a band one lawyer within the field of dispute resolution, with clients describing him as “the cream of the crop: focused, knowledgeable, articulate, organised and forthright”, the firm said.

Rankings for Appleby:

Appleby is the only firm on the island with two partners in band one for insurance, the firm said, referring to Brad Adderley and Alan Bossin.

A source observed that Mr Adderley “does a good job for his clients - he drives a commercial deal effectively”, the firm said. One client praised him as being “very knowledgeable and helpful”. One client of Mr Bossin’s commented: “Alan regularly provides us with expert advice and guidance.” Another praised his “knowledgeable, practical advice,” adding that “he’s able to give you a sense of how the regulator and court approach matters”, the firm said.

Tim Faries, Bermuda managing partner and global head of insurance, is ranked as an “eminent practitioner” and regarded as a “highly influential lawyer”, the firm said. The “pre-eminent practice” has considerable experience and is described by clients as “very responsive and knowledgeable” with one client highlighting the team’s “practical advice”, stating that as a result, “we knew what to expect and could anticipate and meet our deadlines”, the firm said.

Appleby’s “impressive” dispute resolution practice, the firm said, is recognised by Chambers with John Wasty, practice head, ranked band one, and John Riihiluoma ranked as a “senior statesman”. Sources, the firm said, commend Mr Wasty as both “cool, calm and focused” and “thorough and authoritative in the advice he gives”. Mr Riihiluoma is viewed by peers, the firm said, as an “excellent technical lawyer” and a “fantastic legal brain”.

Counsel Steven White is ranked as band three. Sources, the firm said, comment that Mr White “has excellent judgment and is very easy to deal with”, and “is smart, responsive and creative. I would look for opportunities to work with him again”.

Clients praise the team, the firm said, with one client saying: “I was impressed with the speed of response, the sound advice and willingness to discuss options, as well as the reasoning of that advice in a clear, concise way.”

Appleby’s “esteemed” corporate practice is recognised by Chambers for its capabilities in a range of transactional work, with partner Clive Langley ranked band two and partner Steven Rees Davies ranked band three, the firm said.

Mr Langley, the firm said, is praised as a “first-rate” and “prominent” lawyer. His practice has a strong focus on asset financing, with sources viewing him as a “go-to guy for financing, particularly in aviation and shipping”.

Mr Rees Davies is joint global head of Appleby’s technology and innovation group, as well as a member of the Bermuda corporate department. His advice to clients spans fintech, capital markets and intellectual property, the firm said, and he is said to be “extremely knowledgeable, responsive and helpful”.

The firm is noted by one client for its “quick turnaround”, while another source said: “They were great - helpful and responsive. They were very knowledgeable about the relevant Bermuda law.”

Global recognition: Alan Dunch, left, Andrew Martin, Fozeia Rana-Fahy, Peter Martin, Jeremy Leese and Brian Holdipp, of MJM Limited (File photograph)
Global recognition: Michael Hanson, of Carey Olsen Bermuda (File photograph)
Global recognition: Christian Luthi, of Conyers Dill & Pearman (File photograph)
Global recognition: Tim Faries, of Appleby (File photograph)