Why has the Cayman Islands proven such a hotspot for commonwealth lawyers who are looking to gain overseas experience?
The legal market in the Cayman Islands has been very busy this year. Law firms have been looking to expand their teams and as a result, we have seen an influx of lawyers relocating to Cayman. So why is the jurisdiction proving so popular at the moment for lawyers looking to gain overseas experience?
Due to the quality of the work and clientele, law firms in Cayman like to recruit high performing talent from leading onshore law firms when the existing talent pool in the jurisdiction is exhausted. The busiest practice areas are Investment Funds, Corporate, Banking & Finance, Trusts, Litigation and Insolvency. Lawyers admitted in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and UK jurisdictions who have at least three years’ post qualification experience are eligible for automatic admission to practice law in the Cayman Islands once they have secured employment.
Transactional lawyers are challenged with complex cross-border work with top-tier intermediaries from across the globe. Due to the nature of the jurisdiction, contentious lawyers are regularly working on high-value, complex multi-party matters and disputes.
Another major benefit of the jurisdiction is the opportunity to have involvement in business development at an earlier stage of your career than would be usual onshore. Lawyers could find themselves occasionally (outside of Covid) travelling abroad to other financial centres like New York, frequently attending evening events with local clients or even days out on the golf course!
Lawyers at three years’ PQE could expect starting salaries between US$140-160,000 at most international firms. There is zero income tax in Cayman, meaning you take keep everything you earn. Law is one of the highest paid professions in Cayman and expat lawyers usually find themselves having significantly more disposable income than in their home country.
Target hours are generally lower than major onshore jurisdictions. Annual leave entitlement is usually between 20-30 days at Associate level. Cayman also has 11 public holidays annually. There is almost no commute to work and new arrivals are often pleasantly surprised by how much time this spares them in their daily routine.
The quality of life available in Cayman is enviable to most other jurisdictions. The weather is pleasant all year round, meaning residents can live an outdoors oriented lifestyle on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The Cayman community is also warm, welcoming and sociable and the high number of different nationalities means the country is very culturally diverse. There are tonnes of upscale bars and restaurants with variety of cuisines. Sports, health and fitness are integrated into the islands’ culture and facilities are available for most ground and water sports.
There is a wide network of young families from a variety of cultures in the Cayman community. The islands are very safe and they have one of the lowest crime rates of any country in the world. The education system is world class (with English and American curriculums available) and so is the healthcare system. Childcare and nannies are available for working families at a relatively low cost. With year-round warm weather, there are plenty of outdoor activities to keep children entertained.
The Cayman legal market will continue to grow, as will the need for experienced lawyers. If you want to find out more about working and living in Cayman or to explore existing opportunities, email firstname.lastname@example.org.