Walkers (law firm)
The firm was originally founded by Bill Walker (under the name W.S. Walker & Co.) shortly after Jamaican independence in 1962 (whereupon Cayman, which had previously been administered as part of Jamaica, was separated and remained as an independent part of the Commonwealth). Walkers is generally accepted as being the oldest Caymanian law firm, older than rivals Maples and Calder by about two years.
Walkers has been regarded as one of the Cayman Islands top two law firms since it was founded.
In 2008 Walkers was crowned Firm of the Year – Offshore Law Firm of the Year at the 2008 ALB Hong Kong Law Awards.
Walkers was an early participant in the trend towards multi jurisdictional offshore law firms, acquiring by merger British Virgin Islands law firm, Barkers, in 2001. It subsequently acquired Jersey law firm, Crills, in 2005. The firm also has further offices in Dubai, Dublin, London, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
The Chambers and Partners legal directory has rated Walkers as one of the top tier of multi-jurisdictional offshore law firms.
In late 2007, discussions became public about a proposed merger between Walkers and Jersey based Mourant du Feu & Jeune. Although mergers between offshore firms are relatively common, such a merger would be the first merger between two of the major global offshore players, creating by far the largest offshore law firm in the world. However, in February 2008 the two firms announced that they were no longer pursuing merger talks. Mourants subsequently merged with Guernsey firm, Ozannes, in 2010.
Sale of fiduciary business
In March 2012 Walkers announced it was selling its fiduciary business, Walkers Management Services, to the Intertrust Group. Like many offshore firms, Walkers business was previously divided between its legal practice and fiduciary services. Shortly afterwards, a large number of Walkers partners and senior associates defected to rival Caymanian law firm, Maples and Calder. Although none of the defecting partners confirmed any link between the events, the timing naturally creates an inference that there may have been a connection.
- Chambers Partners – Editorial – Offshore: Global
- Official: Mourant and Walkers in merger talks
- Walkers and Mourant merger talks collapse
- "Walkers to focus solely on law after sale of fiduciary arm". 2012-03-12.
- "Ten-lawyer funds team defects from Walkers to Maples". 2012-03-30.
- "In a thinly veiled reference to the sale, Jon Fowler, global head of Investment Funds at Maples, noted the business model of Maples “avoids the dislocation of outsourcing entity formation and maintenance to a third party provider”, adding that “this no doubt was a factor in [the Walkers’ funds lawyers’] respective decisions to join us”." "Lawyers leave Walkers for Maples". Cayman Compass. 2012-04-03.