Walkers Continues its Expansion in the Channel Islands
Walkers’ expansion in the Channel Islands is continuing at a rapid pace, with the number of lawyers in its Guernsey office doubling since July 2018, and the number of lawyers in its Jersey office increasing by over 60% in the same time period.
The expansion is being spearheaded by a three person management team comprising of Fraser Hern (Head of the Channel Islands), Jonathan Heaney (Managing Partner of the Jersey Office) and Louise Hall (Managing Partner of the Guernsey Office). Fraser, an insolvency, restructuring and litigation specialist who has spent the past 12 years in Walkers’ Hong Kong and Singapore office, and who played a pivotal role in the expansion of those offices, says that the expansion of the Channel Islands offering is only just in its infancy.
Walkers’ Head of Channel Islands Fraser Hern said:
“For many years our firm has been focussed on establishing a market leading practice in the Caribbean, Asia and the Middle East. That growth continues to this day, but we also recognise the value of establishing a market leading position in the Channel Islands to complement the rest of our business and to be able to provide clients with the benefit of our collective Tier 1 legal expertise in all of the jurisdictions in which we operate. With approximately 800 staff worldwide we are one of the largest, if not the largest, offshore law firms in the world, and have a unique global platform from which our clients and staff alike can benefit”.
Walkers see expansion occurring across its Jersey and Guernsey businesses in tandem. Jersey Managing Partner Jonathan Heaney, a specialist in investment funds and corporate law, recognises the opportunities within the Jersey market and within his own area of specialism:
“We have a truly enviable investment funds client base, and our expansion across the Channel Islands is occurring at the same time as we are expanding our investment funds practices in our other European offices. We now have approximately 250 people across our European business, and the work we do for our global funds client base is a critical part of our success”.
Louise Hall, Walkers’ Guernsey Managing Partner and one of the pre-eminent employment lawyers in Guernsey, sees the expansion as being an exciting second phase in the firm’s growth story in Guernsey:
“We have participated in and enjoyed a tremendous journey since the merger between AO Hall and Walkers in 2016. This has seen the Guernsey firm double in size with the immediate period following the merger being focussed on integrating with the Walkers network, and the past six months heralding a second phase with huge growth. Whilst the firm doubling in size in this very short period may seem significant, in the context of the opportunities that exists in the firm and as a consequence of what is an unrivalled global platform for an offshore firm, the growth to date is just the beginning. On a daily basis we are working on matters emanating not only from our core domestic client base and our referral network in London, we are also working on a very significant range of matters that originate out of our Irish, Jersey, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Cayman, BVI and Bermuda offices and/or network. We are just scratching the surface and the reaction from clients who have been asking Walkers to establish a Guernsey offering for many years has been outstanding”.
Walkers’ ambition in the region is evident from the recent hires that have been made, as well as the infrastructure changes that are underway.
Walkers’ Head of Channel Islands Fraser Hern confirmed that:
“Walkers is very committed to the region, to being the leading Channel Islands law firm, and to providing real time tier one multi-jurisdictional legal advice to our clients. Our dominant Caribbean practices, coupled with an unrivalled client base across the Middle East and the Far East, an ever increasing footprint in London, and first class entrepreneurial lawyers in the Channel Islands give us a tremendous advantage. We are keen to make the most of the opportunity.”