Stewart joins Payne at Limestone Law
A Bermuda law firm has doubled in size following its launch last year.
Limestone Law Ltd, which was set up by Bermudian Simon Payne in January 2010, has appointed Gabrielle Stewart as a legal consultant and in her new role she will head the litigation and criminal part of the business, freeing up Mr Payne to focus on the corporate side.
The pair, who worked together at Appleby, have joined forces again with the aim to develop a global venture as they take on new staff and expand into other markets.
Mr Payne has already formed two companies in London and Vermont in the middle of last year and plans to have a network of legal assistants in place running them in the future.
Ms Stewart got her first taste of law from an early age and has been keen to make a difference through her work ever since.
Having successfully completed her degree at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica with a major in Political Science and a minor in Psychology, she attained her LLB from the Coventry University in the UK and her LPC at the College of Law in Birmingham with commendation prior to returning to Bermuda to do her pupilage at Appleby.
It was during her two-and-a-half year stint at Appleby that she met Mr Payne when they worked together in the insurance team and developed her interest in litigation.
Her new practice will specialise in personal injury (such as injuries at work and road traffic accidents), matrimonial (family, divorces and custody cases), employment and other contractual disputes.
Ms Stewart believes that the move from a big firm to a small operation will suit her in becoming more hands-on and dealing with the bigger picture.
“Here you can actually see the impact that you are making and you have got more control over what is going on,” she said.
“So you can pretty much see the benefit of your input right away.”
Mr Payne, who was Bermuda's first Winter Olympian, having competed in the luge at the Albertville Games in 1992 and in Lillehammer in 1994 started off the business in the corporate vein but has since branched out into litigation and civil work, which he will now share with Ms Stewart, who has been busy building up her own portfolio of business.
Another aspect of the work which appeals to her is the flexibility it offers and the opportunity to make a mark at an early stage in her career.
Outside of work, Ms Stewart is kept busy by her three children and in her capacity as the chairperson for the Young Business and Professional Women's Association charity which holds a number of events to promote females in the workplace and networking.
Over the past year, Mr Payne has been driving business in the captive industry, particularly selling the idea to Europe and the Middle East in terms of the savings that can be made through owning a captive passed on through earnings and returns to shareholders.
He has also been involved in everything from liquidations to company reinstatements and believes that by enrolling Ms Stewart's services the firm will be able to cover a much wider scope of work.
“It is a wonderful opportunity to pull in a talented young Bermudian and it is the company's mantra to expand and take advantage of the workforce that is already here and potential for Bermudians moving forward,” he said.
“It's really exciting for us as we launched during an economic downturn over which period we have doubled our numbers which is a really positive thing.
“Gabrielle will bring a lot to the table with Limestone and the idea is to take on more staff.
“By taking partnership early on it is my view that that will drive the bottom line and as we get bigger the potential is huge.
“We have got feelers out for some more potential attorneys who have definitely expressed an interest.”
Admitting that starting out was a “leap of faith” due to the scale of the company and being relatively unknown, but now Mr Payne has set his targets firmly on expanding into other areas such as shipping and aviation and corner the market for registration of charges.
Operating out of a tiny office space in Washington Mall II, he said that being a small and lean operation had allowed Limestone Law to pass on the benefits of low overheads and reasonable charge out fees. One option is to take advantage of competitive rents in Hamilton with a series of small offices around town as the business grows.
“The idea from the beginning was to offer sound legal advice and not to break the bank in the process,” he said.
“A lot of businesses are usually comfortable with the bigger players, but as we develop our brand I'm hopeful that they will look at us and our model and the fact that we started in an economic downturn and are now growing to provide them with the confidence going forward knowing that we can deliver.”
Limestone Law is supported by Bermuda Corporate Services, an affiliated corporate administration company.