The two legal professional associations, the Cayman Islands Law Society and the Caymanian Bar Association, are completing a merger later this month following approval by both memberships in June.
A new body called the Cayman Islands Legal Practitioners Association will assume the functions of the two existing organizations.
The establishment of the Legal Practitioners Association marks the first time that the entire legal profession in Cayman will be represented by one association.
The association will continue to support the set objectives of the Caymanian Bar Association and the Law Society, including the promotion of legal education and the qualification of Caymanians as attorneys, according to a press release. The new association will also encourage the provision of reports to support law reform.
Alasdair Robertson, outgoing Law Society president, said the Law Society and the Bar Association had played crucial roles for the legal industry in Cayman by representing legal professionals as a whole, encouraging the study of law and promoting honorable practices for a number of decades.
“Both associations were essential and important in their own right, however, the time has come for us to merge our knowledge and experience in the creation of an association designed to progress and protect the objectives of both,” he said.
Where authorized by the Cayman Islands government, the Legal Practitioners Association will also act as a supervisory authority for the anti-money laundering regulations for its member firms, the release from the new association states.
Outgoing Caymanian Bar Association President Neil Timms, QC, said members of the Bar Association considered the merger with the Law Society to be “poignant” and cause for renewed optimism.
The Legal Practitioners Association “will be democratic, transparent and with adequate resources to meet the challenges we face, as well as being committed to the training and development of Caymanians within the profession,” he said.
Executive members of the Law Society and the Bar Association formed a transitional council to work on setting up the new body, creating a new website and forming the first council for the Legal Practitioners Association.
The members of the first council are David Collins, who is the interim president elect, Alasdair Robertson, Neil Timms, Kendra Foster, Huw Moses, Erik Bodden and James Bagnall.
Mr. Collins said the future for the legal industry in Cayman was bright.
“This merger is a hugely positive step for our profession and we are looking forward to the growth and development of Cayman’s legal sector,” he noted. “The creation of CILPA allows us to bring together an extraordinary wealth of knowledge and resources from both previous bodies, allowing us a larger and more accomplished platform to ensure the continuation of service to Cayman’s legal industry,” he added.
The first council aims to organize elections in early 2019.
The council will always feature at least two association members who are sole practitioners or from a law firm that employs fewer than 10 attorneys, and up to five members who are from larger firms with more than 10 lawyers.
At the same, there cannot be more than two council members from the same firm. While all members of the initial council are Caymanian, in the future the majority of council members, and the president, must be Caymanian, the press release stated.
Membership of the Legal Practitioners Association is open to all attorneys with Cayman Islands practicing certificates.