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Walkers celebrates five years in Bermuda

Kevin Taylor, managing partner at Walkers’ Bermuda office (File photograph)

Law firm Walkers (Bermuda) Limited has celebrated the five year anniversary of its Bermudian operations in Hamilton.

It opened its doors on January 4, 2016 as Taylors in association with Walkers and offered a full service commercial practice. Within nine months it had grown to seven lawyers.

Today, Walkers has seven partners and 12 associates in Bermuda, excluding a number of staff on international secondment, and is driving myriad instructions through the jurisdiction. Along with its affiliated professional services offering, Walkers Corporate (Bermuda) Limited, Walkers now employs 40 staff on Island.

Walkers was one of 43 global law firms included in IFLR's Firms to Watch 2018 list.

In 2018, Walkers expanded its service offerings by solidifying its fintech capabilities as its staff members worked with the government to steer policy and push Bermuda into the centre of the digital assets debate.

In 2019, the firm bolstered its regulatory and risk advisory and re/Insurance and ILS practices and added Bermudian compliance services in 2020. Since then, Walkers has regularly been ranked in IFLR1000, Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500.

Kevin Taylor, managing partner, said: "From the beginning, our Bermuda office aimed to leverage Walkers' global relationships to attract the best blue chip businesses to the jurisdiction. Our team has worked tirelessly to promote, attract and retain some of the world's most prominent businesses and I am proud to say that we achieved those aims in a remarkably swift fashion.“

During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, advising both Norwegian Cruise Lines and the lenders to Carnival Cruises, Walkers' finance and corporate practice acted on an aggregate of $8.6 billion worth of financings.

Walkers said its fintech team acted on a world first as it provided Bermuda counsel to Gemini Trust Company, a cryptocurrency exchange and custodian, on the launch of its captive insurance company, Nakamoto Ltd – the first captive to insure crypto custody.

In Bermuda, Walkers acted as counsel to Saturn Power group in relation to the development of a solar-powered electricity generation plant on “The Finger” at LF Wade International Airport. In April, Saturn was approved to become the first independent power producer on the island.

Working with its Hong Kong office, which the firm said is fast becoming an important pipeline of work for Bermuda, Walkers acted as both Bermuda and British Virgin Islands counsel to New World Development in its acquisition of FTLife Insurance from the JD Group in a $2.75 billion deal, “one of the top five insurance M&As ever in Hong Kong”.

Ingrid Pierce, global managing partner, said: "Bermuda is an integral component in international business and a jurisdiction which compliments our market leading offices in the Asia-Pacific region and the Americas. I am delighted to celebrate five years with our Bermuda team.“

From inception, it was always managing partner Kevin Taylor's intention to create overseas secondment opportunities for Bermudian lawyers. He believes this is both beneficial to the individual, in terms of exposure to markets such as London, Hong Kong and Singapore, and for Bermuda, as a jurisdiction, via increased representation in major financial centres. Walkers has placed two associates in Walkers' Hong Kong office with more opportunities to follow.

Looking to the future, Walkers initiated a scholarship support programme in 2016, making its first grant that year, and began its pupillage programme in 2018. Walkers has implemented a comprehensive 12 months structured training programme for pupils.

Last year, Walkers welcomed newly admitted associate Malacia Madden to its corporate, finance, funds and insurance practice group, following the successful completion of her training with the firm. Walkers currently has two pupils, Ashley Fubler and Izabella Arnold, undergoing their legal training.

Jonathan Betts, partner, said: "Part of the Walkers ethos, regardless of location, is investing in and nurturing home-grown talent to provide young, aspiring attorneys with the opportunity to practice law in the world's leading and most exciting markets. I am very pleased with our record to date but we will always look to expand and improve our development programmes to aid the future of Bermuda “.

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Published January 17, 2021 at 1:14 pm (Updated January 17, 2021 at 1:15 pm)

Walkers celebrates five years in Bermuda

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