Dillon Eustace expands in Cayman Islands with partner hire

Dillon Eustace, a Dublin-based law firm, has added a prominent funds and corporate lawyer to the Cayman Islands office that the firm opened in April 2012.

Jonathan Law, who was previously with Harneys in Cayman, is now a partner at Dillon Eustace. With his hiring, there are three partners and two associates working full-time in the Cayman office. Law moved to the Cayman Islands in 2004 after working as a lawyer in Bermuda and in London.

In an exclusive interview with IFLR1000, Law reflected on what he sees as the advantages of working at what is unquestionably an offshore boutique (with a head office in Ireland) and a new entrant into the Cayman legal market.

“We’re the first European onshore firm offshore,” he said. “Dillon Eustace is a Dublin firm which has opened in Cayman. The culture is that of an onshore firm, with a certain attitude toward being the lead advisor on a file, and about technical excellence.”

While other firms may have much larger partnerships, that does not necessarily give them an advantage on a given transaction in the context of offshore corporate and funds work.

“Most relationships with an offshore law firm are really with one lawyer. There are very few transactions offshore that require the assistance of more than one lawyer at a time. We’re not talking about the level of volume of an onshore firm managing an M&A deal. We are presenting people with very high seniority on files directly,” Law commented.

Law joins Dillon Eustace at a time of adjustment to regulatory changes in the Cayman Islands. In May 2014, the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Law came into effect.

Law said that the new statute “brings Cayman up to the same level playing field as England.”

In the funds space, Law said he did not see a huge effect, but he did observe discussion of the effect of indemnities, as well as discussion of the effect of side letters, which can be extended to third parties not signatory.

“Some people were adding additional language to their legal opinions. It’s not a default right, it’s the reverse. If you want to give third parties rights, you have to draft that into your document,” Law stated.

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